Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened on Saturday to imprison his main political rival, intensifying a campaign against a man he calls a crime boss just a month before he faces tough regional elections.
Opposition leader Manuel Rosales, who lost to Chavez in the 2006 presidential vote, is governor of the oil producing state of Zulia and is running for mayor of its capital Maracaibo.
“I am determined to put Manuel Rosales behind bars. A swine like that has to be in prison,” Chavez said.
Of which he has no proof at all,
Chavez provided no specific evidence for the charges against the main leader of a fragmented opposition who has solid support in the oil-producing west of the OPEC nation.
The threat is top news today in Venezuela.
Of course Chavez’s language was a great deal more inflamatory than the Reuters article reports. Noticias24 (in Spanish) reports that Chavez called Rosales “Zulia’s Corleone” and a “capo mafioso”, and that eight paramilitary and drug traffic “capos” have been detained in Zulia, “which is no coincidence.”
Chavez’s says that he can imprison Rosales well within the framework of the law and the country’s constitution. Last December’s constitutional referendum, but which Chavez tried to rewrite the constituion, was defeated. Rosales’s rallies were attended by hundreds of thousands of supporters.