Blast kills one at Venezuela business chamber

CARACAS, Feb 24 (Reuters) - A small device exploded outside the offices of Venezuela’s main business chamber on Sunday, killing one man, authorities said.

Hector Armando Abreu, 40, who died in the explosion, was carrying a credential identifying him as an “honorary police inspector,” emergency services said.

“We are still gathering information and do not yet know if the dead man was involved in planting the bomb,” said emergency services worker Jose Alvarez.

A Reuters witness said a pool of blood was visible in the entrance to the building.

The business chamber, Fedecamaras, opposes the left-wing government of President Hugo Chavez. During a short-lived coup against Chavez’s government in 2002, a Fedecameras official became de facto president for two days before Chavez returned to power.

Small explosive devices, often containing political pamphlets, are commonly set off in Venezuela during protests, but Sunday’s explosion was larger, smashing windows and denting the aluminum face of the building.

On Friday, protesters set off two devices containing an irritating gas outside the Spanish Embassy, daubing the walls with graffiti supporting the Basque separatist group ETA.

The Venezuelan government condemned the action, calling it the work of “tiny minority groups.” (Reporting by Jorge Silva and Frank Jack Daniel, editing by Doina Chiacu)