Former Venezuelan governor and Chávez critic Didalco Bolivar in Lima seeking political asylum

Former governor of Venezuela’s northern Aragua State and outspoken Hugo Chávez critic Didalco Bolívar landed in Peru a week ago and is expected to formalize a request for political asylum at any moment, reported daily El Comercio on Friday.

“I don’t know anything,” said Foreign Affairs Minister José Antonio García Belaunde when asked about Bolívar’s whereabouts and alleged intentions to seek political asylum in Peru.

Bolívar, who was once an active pro-Chávez militant and is now the exiled co-founder of the opposition party “Podemos,” stands accused in Venezuela of alleged acts of corruption and of favoring entrepreneur Alejandro Saavedra Ramirez in the award of contracts for the sale of medical equipment during his 1995-2008 administration. The charges were pressed after Bolívar’s 2007 falling-out with Chavez.

According to El Comercio, more than 12 Venezuelans have recently sought political asylum in Peru, including student leader Nixon Moreno. The student activist is wanted in Venezuela for assaulting a police officer during student protests in the city of Mérida in 2006.

Last April, Venezuela disparaged Peru’s to grant political asylum to Chavez’s most outspoken critic, Manuel Rosales, as “a mockery of international law” and then recalled its ambassador in Lima.

Rosales, a former presidential candidate and Maracaibo Mayor, fled Venezuela and sought political asylum in Peru to escape a trial on corruption charges he says are politically motivated.

“As a personal and concrete issue of a Venezuelan citizen who considers that he is under threat and arrives in Peru, our country’s first duty is to offer him protection,” said Peru President Alan García. “A democratic government’s first obligation is to offer protection to anyone who feels threatened.”

A “conflict” situation should not be generated by the fact that Peru has granted Rosales asylum, added García, because Peru and Venezuela “are two countries that scrupulously respect each other and are united by history.”

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