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Daily Focus: Venezuela's Rosales Seeks Asylum

Facing corruption charges in Venezuela, Manuel Rosalesprominent opposition leader and mayor of Maracaibo, Venezuela’s second-largest cityis seeking political asylum in Peru. The application was filed yesterday after he entered Peru on a tourist visa.

He has called the charges politically motivated, and expressed concern over his ability to receive a fair trial. Last month, after authorities called for his arrest, Rosales told thousands of anti-government protestors that “there is no justice in Venezuela.”

It has been almost five years since the initial criminal complaint was filed by an ally of President Hugo Chávez. The complaint cited $68,553 in assets that “Rosales could not satisfactorily explain.” Despite the charges, he ran as the opposition candidate in Venezuela’s 2006 presidential election, earning 37 percent of the popular vote.

Besides Rosales, the government is also clamping down on former defense minister and now political opponent Raúl Baduel. He was detained on April 2 in connection with a corruption probe.

The moves against Rosales follow what Human Rights Watch cited as a history of political intolerance in its 2008 report, A Decade Under Chávez .” That report became the subject of controversy when more than 100 academics from across the globe signed a letter last year questioning methods behind its preparation.

Rosales’ attorney, Javier Valle Riestra, expressed confidence that Peru will grant his client’s request.

Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Peru, Chavez, Venezuela, Daily Update

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