Venezuelan diplomat accuses Mexican candidate of 'desperate lies'

Venezuelan and Mexican politics became further entangled Friday, when Venezuela's top diplomat here was quoted as accusing the ruling party presidential candidate of telling "desperate lies" about his country.

Charge d'affaires Nestor Gonzalez in charge of the Venezuelan embassy since both countries withdrew their ambassadors Nov. 15 also denied allegations that his government has any ties to the campaign of the front-running leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Felipe Calderon, the candidate for President Vicente Fox's National Action Party, has portrayed Lopez Obrador as a political menace linked to Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez, infuriating both Chavez and Lopez Obrador.

"These are all desperate lies," Gonzalez said in an interview with newspaper Milenio, referring to allegations by Calderon that Venezuela has expropriated many private companies. While Venezuela has declared some land-reform expropriations, most industries and services remain in private hands.

Gonzalez insisted, "There is not one single phrase that suggest we have any links to Lopez Obrador. There is no tape, photo or conversation that would suggest such a thing."

The question is sensitive because of Mexico's rigid ban on foreign meddling in its politics and because of earlier accusations that Chavez had tried to affect elections in Peru, Bolivia and Nicaragua claims he has repeatedly denied.

While some radical groups in Mexico have adopted Chavez's "Bolivarian" theme referring to South American independence hero Simon Bolivar they don't appear to have any other than ideological ties to Venezuela.

Calderon's campaign recently ran television ads which alternated footage of Chavez and Lopez Obrador, suggesting both were authoritarian or intolerant.

And earlier this week, National Action party leader Manuel Espino asked Mexican authorities to investigate the possibility of Venezuelan financing for Lopez Obrador, the former Mexico City mayor who leads most polls on the July 2 presidential race, reports AP.

O.Ch.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team