LIMA, Peru (AP) — Hugo Chavez has been accused of using Venezuela’s oil riches to meddle in Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia and Nicaragua. Now, Peru’s president says the Venezuelan leader may be doing it here by funding militants and anti-poverty centers that preach populist revolution.
In recent weeks, Peruvian police have arrested nine people the government alleges are militants bankrolled by Venezuela. And the head of a Congressional investigatory committee accused Venezuela of supplying funds to outreach centers he says agitate against the government.
President Alan Garcia supports the ongoing investigation into the centers.
Venezuela and allies Bolivia and Ecuador “want to destabilize Peru so that our country adheres to their type of thinking, so that Peru fails,” said the government’s lead anti-terrorism prosecutor, Julio Galindo.
Venezuela vehemently denies the allegations, and denies funding Peruvian militants or the anti-poverty centers. Venezuela’s ambassador in Peru, Armando Laguna, said the government should “ask me to leave Peru” if it finds proof.