Chavez sees plot to kill opposition rival
Caracas - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Monday he had information about a planned assassination attempt against opposition rival Henrique Capriles, who hopes to block his bid for re-election in October.
"The head of intelligence met with a team of the Miranda governor, because there's some information out there that they want to kill him," Chavez said in a phone call to state TV. "It's not the government, not at all, on the contrary."
Chavez gave few details of the alleged plot, but said his government had offered protection to the 39-year-old opposition leader and governor of Miranda state, who is on a nationwide tour to drum up support for his presidential bid.
Raising tensions in the polarized South American nation, shots were fired during a recent Capriles visit to a Caracas slum that is a Chavez stronghold.
"As the state, we are obliged to get on top of this situation and give protection to any Venezuelan, especially in this context," said Chavez, who is due to start radiation therapy for cancer this week.
"We have taken the information seriously because of the source it has come from, and we have informed the bourgeois candidate's security team and offered security."
Though Capriles is a center-left politician and admirer of Brazil's "modern left" model, Chavez and his supporters portray him as the representative of Venezuela's wealthy elite who wants to dismantle the government's social welfare policies.
There was no immediate response from Capriles or his aides.