Chavez’s main critic flees to Peru

Isabel Guerra

Manuel Rosales, Venezuela’s main opposition leader, is now in Peru after fleeing his homeland to escape a trial on corruption charges that he alleges are politically motivated.

He arrived in Lima as a tourist, a status that allows him to stay as long as 180 days in Peru, but has not yet formally requested asylum, according to Peru’s Chancellor Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde.

Rosales, also mayor of the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo, had gone into hiding three weeks ago when corruption charges were filed, since Venezuelan officials are accusing him to illegally enrich himself as governor of Zulia state from 2002 to 2004.

However, Rosales denies the allegation claiming that Chavez is out to get him for political reasons.

"Since they haven’t been able to take me off the political map by the electoral route, now they’re using the power they have in all the movements of the public prosecutor," Rosales told CNN en Español last month.

One of Rosales’ lawyers noted that Chavez had said publicly in October 2008 that he wanted the mayor in prison.

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