Outgoing Peruvian president blasts Chavez

June 9, 2006 at 2:20 PM
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LIMA, June 9 (UPI) -- Outgoing Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo says he'll struggle against leftist populists when he leaves office.

In a June 7 interview with Folha de Sao Paulo, Toledo said, "When I finish being president, I'm going to transform myself into a fighter against the cheap populism of petrodollars."

Toledo's comment was a clear reference to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias, whom Toledo believes attempted to interfere in the Peruvian presidential election.

On Sunday Toledo was defeated by former President Alan Garcia in a presidential runoff. Garcia is scheduled to take office in July.

Chavez's repeated support of nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala worsened diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Peru, which could intensify now that Garcia won the presidency.

Chavez stated that Garcia was a "swine ... cardsharp ... and thief" after Garcia labeled him a "scoundrel."

In response to queries about covert Venezuelan funding of the oppposition. Toledo said, "I don't know. I don't have any proof. But I saw how the story was: if the candidate (Chavez) wants doesn't win, then he's going to break relations. What kind of threats are those? What interference! I won't permit it."

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