Vargas Llosa to visit Venezuela to back anti-Maduro groups

image copyrightAFP
image captionMr Vargas Llosa won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010

The Peruvian Nobel Prize winning author, Mario Vargas Llosa, has said that he will travel to Venezuela to lend his support to opposition groups.

Mr Vargas Llosa accused President Nicolas Maduro of trying to install a "Cuban-inspired dictatorship" in Venezuela.

He said that all Latin American countries would be under threat if Mr Maduro succeeded.

At least 39 people have been killed in nearly two months of protests.

The victims come from both sides of the political divide, with hundreds of thousands of people also taking to the streets to support the government.

The unrest began in western Venezuela on 4 February and grew into a nationwide movement denouncing the economic crisis, high inflation, crime and alleged police brutality.

Mr Maduro says the protests are part of a right-wing plot backed by the United States to oust his democratically elected government.

Mr Vargas Llosa said he was going to travel to Venezuela on 15 April to attend a conference organised by an opposition think-tank, Cedice.

image copyrightAFP
image captionMore than 500 people have been injured since the unrest began in February

"I will go with other liberals to lend our support and show our solidarity to those who are putting up a big fight against the dictatorship of Maduro," he said.

Mr Vargas Llosa, 78, is one of Latin America's most acclaimed writers.

He is also known for his strong political views, including his opposition to the Cuban government and political oppression in China.

Mr Vargas Llosa has previously said he wanted his 1969 novel Conversation in the Cathedral to show "how a dictatorial and authoritarian government corrupts all the society".

He ran for president of Peru in 1990 but lost to Alberto Fujimori in a run-off.

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