Peru recalled its ambassador from Venezuela on Saturday in protest of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's "persistent and flagrant interference" in Peru's elections.
"The government of Peru has decided to immediately remove its ambassador from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the persistent and flagrant interference in internal affairs of Peru in clear violation of the principles and norms of international law," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The decision was also made in response to "repeated declarations" by Chavez about Peru's electoral process and the comments he made Saturday targeting Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, the statement said.
Peru and Venezuela began a war of words earlier this week when Peruvian presidential candidate Alan Garcia called Chavez and his ally Bolivian President Evo Morales "spoiled children" for attacking Peru's free trade deals with the United States.
Chavez fought back on Friday by calling Garcia a "threat and thief," threatening to cut off his country's diplomatic ties with Peru if Garcia wins the presidency.
On Saturday, Chavez, who was in Havana for a trade deal with Cuba and Bolivia, lashed out at Toledo for defending Garcia.
"Here comes President Toledo defending him. They are alligators from the same swamp," he said.
Venezuela on Saturday defended Chavez's comments, saying that they were a justified response to recent provocations from Peru.
This is the second time this year that Peru has withdrawn its ambassador to Caracas, following a similar move in January after Chavez publicly voiced support for Peruvian presidential candidate Ollanta Humala ahead of Peru's April 9 elections.
Humala won the April 9 voting and will face Garcia in a runoff on May 28.