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Venezuela's Chavez Calls Peruvian President-Elect 'Lap Dog' of US


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has re-ignited a war of words with Peruvian President-elect Alan Garcia by calling him a "lap dog" of the United States and said bilateral relations with Peru cannot be fixed.

President Chavez made the remarks Friday during a two-day visit to Panama. The Venezuelan leader described Mr. Garcia as an instrument of "the empire," a term Mr. Chavez frequently uses when referring to the United States.

Mr. Chavez and Mr. Garcia exchanged numerous insults during Peru's presidential campaign after Mr. Chavez endorsed nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala. As a result of the spat, Peru and Venezuela withdrew their ambassadors.

After the election, Mr. Garcia said Peruvians had defeated the ambitions of President Chavez. Mr. Garcia accused the Venezuelan leader of trying to spread what he called a "militaristic and retrograde" style of government throughout Latin America, and said Peruvians wanted no part of it.

President Chavez recently said he will not restore diplomatic ties with Peru unless President-elect Garcia apologizes for the comments made during his campaign. He also has accused Mr. Garcia of seeking to drive a wedge between Venezuela and other South American neighbors.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.