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Two Venezuelan Dissidents Get Asylum

May 1, 2003

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ Uruguay said Wednesday it had granted asylum to two former Venezuelan military officers accused of participating in a coup against President Hugo Chavez last year.

Both entered the Uruguayan Embassy in Caracas early Wednesday, claiming they were being ``persecuted and don’t trust the judicial system,″ said retired Navy Adm. Oscar Betancourt.

Army Capts. Carlos Blondell and Otto Gebauer were granted asylum, Uruguay’s foreign ministry said in a statement. They face treason charges for allegedly keeping Chavez in custody during the coup.

Last week, four dissident Venezuelan officers entered the Peruvian and Dominican embassies, seeking asylum.

All are accused of participating in the April 12-14, 2002, coup against Chavez.

Loyalist troops restored Chavez to power after a popular uprising against an interim government that tried to abolish the constitution.

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