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. . .
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. . .
Chavez has been campaigning vigorously for his candidates in gubernatorial and mayoral races in the November 23 election but may lose some key posts as Venezuelans worry about crime, inflation and poor public services, pollsters say.
Chavez often makes dramatic threats in speeches without immediately carrying them out. Still, he does follow through on enough of them over time for his threats to concern the people he targets.