Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he is withdrawing his country's ambassador to Peru, as tensions between the two governments escalate.
Mr. Chavez announced the decision to downgrade ties with Peru Wednesday while on a visit to Bolivia, describing it as "painful."
The move follows Peru's decision to recall its ambassador to Venezuela Saturday. Lima had accused Caracas of "persistent and flagrant interference in Peru's internal affairs."
Tensions rose after Mr. Chavez called Peruvian presidential candidate Alan Garcia "a thief," and repeated his endorsement of rival candidate Ollanta Humala.
Mr. Humala will take part in Peru's presidential run-off election on May 28, in which Mr. Garcia will almost certainly be the other candidate.Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP .