Monday, August 17, 2009
"Captain" Hugo aims rhetorical phasers at Barack Obama
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez criticized U.S. President Barack Obama as "lost in the Andromeda Nebula" on Sunday after Obama said the United States had been asked to do more to restore the president of Honduras, who was ousted in a coup last month. "We are not asking you to intervene in Honduras, Obama," Chavez said on his weekly television show, according to the Reuters international news service. "On the contrary, we are asking that 'the empire' gets its hands off Honduras and get its claws out of Latin America." The Venezuelan leader has been highly critical of United States' involvement with Latin American countries and repeatedly accuses Washington of trying to dominate the region. He claims the United States had advance knowledge of the Honduras coup in June and had arrangements in place to fly deposed President Manuel Zelaya out of the country from a U.S. military base. Obama has denied the charges, which does not necessarily mean they're untrue. But Chavez, for his part, is no stranger to bombastic rhetoric. He frequently launches into tirades against what he called U.S. imperialism and, remember, he's the guy who called former President George W. Bush "the devil" at the United Nations in 2006. Chavez is known to be angry about an agreement between the United States and his neighbor, Colombia, that grants access to military bases for U.S. troops to help in the fight against the drug trade, Reuters said. Chavez claims the agreement makes it easier for the United States to attack Venezuela to steal its oil reserves, and is actively purchasing Russian armaments to beef up his armed forces. "This is just the start of an imperial military expansion," Chavez said. The Venezuelan president called on the United States to withdraw from its longtime base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and from the Soto Cano airbase in Honduras.