Analysis: Chavez: Bush is the 'devil'

By WILLIAM M. REILLY, UPI U.N. Correspondent  |  Sept. 21, 2006 at 9:15 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stole the show at the second day of the U.N. General Assembly's General Debate Wednesday, not for equating the United States with imperialism and hegemony, but for calling U.S. President George W. Bush the "devil."

Chavez received some positive applause for his Bush bashing, too.

Taking the podium he immediately held up a copy of Noam Chomsky's "Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States," recommending it as an "excellent" book.

He said, "The hegemonistic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species."

The threat "is like a sword hanging over our head," Chavez said.

"The first people who should read this book are our own brothers and sisters in the United States, because the threat is in their own house," the president said. "Yesterday the devil came here."

Chavez pointed to the podium and added, "It smells of sulfur, still, today," and made the sign of the cross.

"The devil came here as if he owned the world, truly as owner of the world. I think you should call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday's statement," Chavez said. "As the spokesman of imperialism he came to share his nostrums to try to preserve the current pattern of exploitation, domination and pillage of peoples of the world."

He told delegates an examination of the U.S. president's 20-minute statement Tuesday revealed a recipe for ruling the world.

Chavez said you could make the scenario into an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

"I will even propose a title, 'The Devil's Recipe,'" he said.

Everyone seemed to agree it was not the usual polite diplomatic debate.

Asked for a reaction, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said, "It's insulting."

He added: "We are not going to address that comic strip approach to international affairs ... the real issue is (Chavez) knows he can exercise freedom of speech on that podium and ... could exercise it in Central Park too. How about giving the same freedom to the people of Venezuela?"

The question circulating in the corridors of U.N. World Headquarters is how Chavez' performance will affect efforts for Caracas to garner a non-permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. It is pitted against Guatemala in the race to represent Latin America for two years as a member of the panel of 15.

The United States already has announced it is supporting the Guatemalan bid.

The extemporaneous Chavez speech could both help and hinder the bid, depending on how a capital views the United States.

The Venezuelan president said during the course of his wide-ranging half-hour of remarks: "The American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its hegemonistic system of domination and we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated. The world tyrants' statements (are) cynical, hypocritical."

He said that a new momentum had emerged to fight hegemony at the recent meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Havana. Cuban President Fidel Castro would head the movement for the next three years. Much to the disappointment of the imperialist, Castro was "back in fatigues and ready to lead."

"We need ideas to save our planet from the imperialist," Chavez said. If necessary, the United Nations could move elsewhere and would be welcome in Venezuela.

He blamed the "this imperial hypocrisy" on "the need they have to control everything."

"They say they want to impose a democratic model, but that's their democratic model. It's the false democracy of elites. It's a very original democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs, and firing weapons. What a strange democracy."

Like all imperialists, Bush saw extremists everywhere, Chavez said. The world was waking up and taking a stand against domination.

Bush had said his people wanted peace and it was true -- people all over the United States wanted peace, but their government wanted war.

He recalled in his remarks at the debate opening Tuesday Bush spoke directly to the people of Lebanon, telling them they had been caught in the crossfire of fighting.

Chavez said the Texan must have been thinking of a shoot-out in an old western movie, because the people of Lebanon had been bombarded with high-precision missiles. The U.S. president had said he had come to speak to the peoples of the world, but if he had asked those people what they would say if they could talk to him, they would say, "Yankee imperialist, go home."

Chavez said the present state of the world was because it was based on a U.N. system created after World War II.

No one could defend it as effective, he said. The United Nations must be rebuilt. But then he said it had collapsed and couldn't be rebuilt, but first had to be restructured.

Moving the world organization would allow delegates to bring whoever they wanted with them, unlike in his case. The United States refused to allow his personal physician entry to the country, and Chavez said his "chief of security had to stay on the locked plane" at the airport.

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