A Venezuelan opposition leader who had been living in self-imposed exile has been arrested after returning to the socialist South American country.

Former Gov. Manuel Rosales returned to Venezuela on Thursday after six years as a fugitive. He was arrested by intelligence police who met him at the airport and was expected to appear in a Caracas court later in the day.

Before his arrest, Rosales vowed to continue fighting the country's 16-year-old socialist administration.

Rosales was governor of the western state of Zulia, where he returned Thursday. He ran for president in 2006 and lost to Hugo Chavez.

He went into exile in 2009, fleeing to Peru and then Panama after prosecutors accused him of stealing public money. He says the charges are false and politically motivated.