Raise your hand if you are surprised by this:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened on Saturday to imprison his main political rival, intensifying a campaign against a man he calls a crime boss just a month before he faces tough regional elections.

Opposition leader Manuel Rosales, who lost to Chavez in the 2006 presidential vote, is governor of the oil producing state of Zulia and is running for mayor of its capital Maracaibo.

“I am determined to put Manuel Rosales behind bars. A swine like that has to be in prison,” Chavez said.

[. . .]

Chavez provided no specific evidence for the charges against the main leader of a fragmented opposition who has solid support in the oil-producing west of the OPEC nation.

Human rights groups say Chavez has increasingly exerted control over branches of power such as the judiciary and become intolerant of critics in almost a decade in power.