Venezuela holds Chavez critic for "conspiracy"
Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:49am EDT
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez arrives at the international airport in Cancun February 21, 2010.
Credit: Reuters/Gerardo Garcia
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan authorities have jailed a former state governor and presidential candidate who accused President Hugo Chavez's government of links to subversive groups in Latin America.
The detention of Oswaldo Alvarez Paz, a veteran with the opposition COPEI party but not one of Chavez's most prominent foes, will fuel criticism that the Venezuelan leader is taking his nation down an increasingly dictatorial route.
Alvarez joins a list of several dozen Chavez opponents now in jail, living in exile or facing probes in the South American oil-producing country.
With the political atmosphere heating up before legislative elections in September -- seen as a barometer for a 2012 presidential vote -- Chavez says his opponents are increasingly breaking laws in their desperation to topple him.