22 Sep 2006
The strained relations between Washington and Caracas took a turn for the worst with the vocal Venezuelan president using the podium of the UN to lash out at president Bush. Hugo Chavez said that the U.S president was promoting a “false democracy of the elite” and a “democracy of bombs”. Hugo was addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.
Referring to the U.S president who had addressed the UN General Assembly the previous day, Hugo Chavez said, “The devil came here yesterday”. He added that [the podium from which Bush spoke] “smells of sulfur still today”. Hugo’s remarks drew applause from an increasing number of American foes in the UN general assembly. His undiplomatic language in a diplomatic milieu also irked others including known Bush critic Nancy Pelosi. The House Democratic leader said Hugo “is an everyday thug” and that he “abused the privilege that he had, speaking at the United Nations”. Pelosi added that Hugo Chavez “demeaned himself and demeaned Venezuela”.
These types of unpalatable verbal jabs remind me of the years when the late Ronald Reagan was in the white house. Reagan saw nothing good about Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and he actually bombed Gaddafi’s home with apparent intention of killing him. The respected American president referred to Gaddafi as a “mad dog”. Many people including some Reagan admirers were embarrassed that the president could use such language on another head of state.
Chavez certainly has a following around the world but some of his admirers are now quietly questioning his brash and sometimes unrefined approach to fighting his principal foe in the white house. Granted that he sees the Bush administration as a threat to his government and his life, Hugo does not need to adopt an approach to fighting Bush that maybe construed to be crude, lest his punches will lose some force. George Bush may be a problem to many of us in this world but he certainly does not qualify as “the devil”.
Njei Moses Timah