Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday threatened to cut off his country's diplomatic ties with Peru if candidate Alan Garcia wins the Peruvian presidency, after an exchange of insults.
Garcia, who will compete against Ollanta Humla, Chavez's favored candidate, in the May 28 presidential run-off, on Tuesday called Chavez a "scoundrel" for attacking U.S. free trade deals with Peru and Colombia while continuing to sell his country's oil to the United States.
"If, by one of Satan's tricks, Garcia becomes Peru's president, I will withdraw my ambassador... we will not deal with a president... who is a cheat and a thief," Chavez said at an event marking the International Labor Day in Caracas.
"What he said is part of the propaganda he has been taught by the White House," he said.
"Before, Lourdes Flores was U.S. President George W. Bush's candidate, but now they support Garcia so they can continue enslaving the peoples of the Americas," said Chavez.
Last week, Venezuela decided to withdraw from the regional trade bloc, the Community of Andean Nations, on grounds that the U.S. free trade deals with fellow member states Peru and Colombia had "fatally wounded" the organization.
Garcia hit back at Chavez by accusing him of interfering with Peru's domestic politics.