Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hugo Chávez: The Trillion Dollar Revolutionary

BBC This World’s John Sweeney (who you might recall from here) went to Venezuela at the end of last year to investigate just how good the controversial President is at running his own country.

President Hugo Chávez calls the United States “Dracula” and George W. Bush “Mr Danger”, “a drunk” and “a donkey”. He can get away with being rude to the most powerful man on earth and challenging the economic might of the United States because his country sits on trillions of dollars worth of oil.

He may well be considered the luckiest left-wing leader, ever. Five years ago he was the victim of a right-wing coup which could have resulted in his death, but the people rose up in his defense and a stronger, tougher Chavez emerged.

Just as a postscript to the film, it seems that Sweeney can add República Bolivariana de Venezuela to the list of countries in which he’s been declared persona non-grata. That may have had something to do with the rather testy encounter with Chávez at a nationally televised press conference when Sweeney rather bluntly asked why he was sending millions of pounds to help fund the public transport system in London while the transport system in Caracas is a shambles. That didn’t sit well with El Presidente who angrily snapped that he wasn’t going answer such a stupid question. Although he did, but not before delivering a rambling, twenty minute long diatribe.