CARACAS, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday said he has ordered the withdrawal of his country's military attaches from Paraguay after they received death threats amid growing tensions between the two countries.
In a televised speech, Chavez did not elaborate on the threats, but said Venezuelan diplomats were accused of "preparing a coup" in Paraguay.
Chavez's order came a day after Asuncion declared "persona non grata" both Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan ambassador to Paraguay, who returned home a week ago.
The Venezuelan president claimed that Paraguayan congressmen had tried to bribe Maduro during his tour to Paraguay with foreign ministers of other South American countries on the ouster of former Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo.
Lugo was impeached and ousted by the parliament following a deadly land dispute between landless farmers and police, which left 17 people dead. Vice President Franco was sworn in as interim president.
Chavez joined other leaders of neighboring countries in criticizing the ouster of Lugo by condemning it as a "coup."
Paraguay accused Venezuela of interfering in its internal affairs by trying to stymie the impeachment, claiming that Maduro met with Paraguayan military chiefs during his visit and urged them to stay loyal to Lugo. It has also recalled its diplomats in Caracas.
But Chavez denied the accusations.