Venezuela removes its ambassdor to Peru

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he will remove his ambassador to Peru in reaction to that country's decision to recall its ambassador to Venezuela accusing Chavez of interfering in its upcoming presidential election, according to a report from Bolivia.

"I have ordered the recall of our ambassador with much pain," Chavez said, according to Bolivian government news agency ABI.

"I don't believe it should have come to this, because a candidate there (in Peru) launched an aggression at me and I responded, I have the right," said Chavez referring to Peruvian presidential candidate Alan Garcia.

Garcia described Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales as "spoiled children" and "historic losers" after they criticized Peru for signing a free trade deal with Washington.

Last week, Chavez described Garcia and current Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo as "crocodiles from the same water hole", the remark which prompted Peru to remove its ambassador from Caracas.

Chavez has enthusiastically endorsed nationalist Peruvian presidential candidate Ollanta Humala who is facing Garcia in the June 4 runoff election.

Chavez made the announcement after a meeting with Morales on the eve of a summit in Argentina where they and the presidents of Argentina and Brazil will meet to discuss Morales' nationalization of Bolivia's natural gas, reports the AP.

I.L.