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World Briefing / Peru

Chavez opponent gets political asylum

April 28, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Peru's government said it had granted political asylum to a Venezuelan opposition leader who faces corruption allegations in his homeland but claims to be persecuted by leftist President Hugo Chavez.

Officials said asylum for "humanitarian reasons" was granted to Manuel Rosales, a former presidential candidate who ran against Chavez in 2006.

Before the announcement, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro urged Peru to "comply with international law, capture the criminal Manuel Rosales and return him to Venezuela to face trial for extremely grave crimes."

Venezuelan prosecutors accuse Rosales of illegal enrichment while he was governor of western Zulia state, saying he failed to show a legal source of about $68,000 in income from 2002 to 2004.

Rosales says he reported the disputed income in his income tax returns. He calls the accusation a "political lynching" ordered by Chavez.

Rosales stepped down as mayor of the western city of Maracaibo, Venezuela's second-largest, three weeks ago.

He entered Peru as a tourist April 4 and requested political asylum last week.

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