Venezuelan Coup President Gains Asylum, Leaves for Colombia

Venezuelan businessman Pedro Carmona departed on Wednesday for Colombia, the country which granted him political asylum on Sunday, evading likely rebellion charges at home for being the day-long president during an April coup that briefly ousted Venezuela's populist President Hugo Chavez.

Carmona, 62, was taken under strict security measures from the Colombian ambassador's residence - where he had been taking refugeafter eluding house arrest in Caracas last Thursday - to the Miquetia International Airport and boarded a Colombian Air Force plane.

Chavez granted Carmona safe passage out of Caracas, and said herespected Colombia's sovereign right to grant asylum to whoever itwished.

Carmona will stay temporarily in Colombia and then move to a third country which is most likely to be a Spanish-speaking nationwith democratic liberty, where he is able to work, Carmona's lawyer Juan Martin Echeverria said Tuesday .

The former business leader was a key figure in investigations into the causes of last month's coup and faced likely charges of rebellion and "usurpation of power" at home.

Carmona was named by a military junta to head an interim government on April 12-13, during the short-lived coup that temporarily ousted Chavez, who returned to power on April 14.



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