After a 11 days trip around the world, president Hugo Chavez came home. During his travel, he visited 11 countries, dined with some good old friends, made a couple of new ones, and tried to re-established broken relationships. The purpose of his trip was to show the world his true intentions. He arrived in Libya in time to celebrate, Moammar Khadafy’s 40 years of dictatorship. What is funny about this is that Khadafy seized power in a coup, something Chavez opposed because of what happened to his dear friend ex-president Manuel Zelaya. Later, he traveled to Syria, where he made sure to insult the people of Israel and self-declare himself the new “Chavez of Arabia”. The next couple of days, he visited, Iran, Belarus, Turkmenistan, and Russia among other nations. He is been in Russia a few times before, so he made sure to do something special for this occasion. He offered diplomatic recognition to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two territories seized by Russia in the war against Georgia last year.
Chavez is doing what most American presidents have done when they are in troubled back home: Travel the World. Bill Clinton did it during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and later during the investigation and George Bush during his second term when nothing was working for him. At home, the president of Venezuela, face food shortages, an epidemic of criminal violence, and an inflation rate of 25 to 30 percent. His supporters are thinning everyday and are turning hostile to his socialist agenda, which is growing into an authoritarian rule. With George Bush out of the picture, Chavez constant attacks on the United States has lost its power, since President Obama is quite popular in Latin America.
But what was most significant about his last trip was his visit to Spain. If we recall the American Summit of 2007, President Chavez misbehaved when he called ex-president of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar a fascist, and later heckling President Zapatero during his speech. King Juan Carlos could not stand it any more and told him: “Why don’t you just shut up!” The reaction made it to the front pages of all major newspapers around the world, and the phrase became very popular. At that time, Spain, considered closing all diplomatic relationships with Venezuela. Action followed by Hugo Chavez with him calling his ambassador in Spain and threatening to seize all Spanish business.
In 2007, he got into trouble when he misbehaved, heckling the Spanish prime minister while he was giving a speech. King Juan Carlos finally told him: “Why don’t you just shut up!” Across Latin America after that, the king’s catch phrase was printed on T-shirts, and millions of people downloaded a recording of Juan Carlos saying “Shut up!” as a cell-phone ring tone.
Unlike last time, this time Hugo Chavez was in a more friendly mood. He addressed the King my making a small joke about his beard, telling him that it looks like Fidel Castro’s. The king responded with a smile. He later move to talk about more serous business, like a peace treaty with Colombia, where Zapatero has agreed to be a mediator. Chavez opposed the measure taken by President Uribe allowing the US to establish more military bases in Colombia.
- Image: Associated Press
- News Clip: San Francisco Chronicle
- Video: YouTube