Venezuela vice-president calls for probe of rightist assaults on government supporters

Fred Feldman ffeldman at
Wed Sep 11 04:22:37 MDT 2002

Venezuela VP Seeks Probe Of Attacks On Chavez' Allies

CARACAS (AP)--Venezuela's vice president asked the attorney
general Monday to investigate weekend attacks on allies of
President Hugo Chavez.

Jose Vicente Rangel condemned a Saturday grenade attack on
the western Venezuelan home of congresswoman Iris Varela. No
was injured in the attack, which damaged the entrance of the
home and two cars. No suspects were identified.

Varela said the assailants left pamphlets signed by the "The
United Self-Defense of Venezuela ." In July, a group of
masked men appearing in a video broadcast by Colombian
television claimed to belong to new anti-Chavez paramilitary
group in Venezuela . The Venezuelan government is
investigating the credibility of the video.

On Sunday, a pro-Chavez community leader, Luis Cortes, was
beaten by unknown assailants in a western Caracas

Several dozen citizens demonstrated against the attacks in
front of the Miraflores Presidential Palace on Monday.
Venezuelans are deeply polarized over Chavez's leftist
government, and many fear a repeat of a failed April coup
that left dozens dead in street protests and rioting.

A delegation of the Organization of American States, the
U.N. Nations and the Atlanta, Ga.-based Carter Center began
a four-day mission Monday to broker talks between the
government and the opposition.

Updated September 9, 2002 4:57 p.m. EDT

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