Although I’ve appreciated some of his work, filmmaker Michael Moore has a history of, um, making selective use of facts. So I’m not sure how credible is his rather amusing account (on the Jimmy Kimmel TV show) of meeting Hugo Chavez during the Venice Film Festival.
Among other things, Moore claims that Chavez asked him what to say in his upcoming speech to the United Nations, and that the president took his advice (although I don’t think Chavez apologized for calling President Bush “el diablo,” as Moore says he advised).
But according to leading Venezuelan-American chavista Eva Golinger (whom Chavez has called “the Sweetheart of Venezuela”), it’s all lies, lies and more lies.
I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between.
Of course things aren’t going so well for Chavez back home. He is now rambling on TV about how Venezuelans are wasting water by taking excessively long showers (three minutes is more than enough for him) and asking, “Why do people need hot water? Why do they need jacuzzis?”
As Juan Cristóbal writes at Caracas Chronicles:
The stuff about the showers, in particular, is another manifestation of a tendency we don’t talk about enough: for Chávez, Venezuela’s problems are Venezuelans’ fault. They have nothing to do with him.
No food in store shelves? You’re all shopping too much. No electricity? You bunch of wasteful pricks. No water? Get out of your jacuzzis! No dollars? Stop drinking Scotch and we might come up with some.
It used to be his Ministers’ fault, or the IVth Republic’s, or the Empire’s. But those scapegoats doesn’t seem to be working anymore.
Barack Obama got his share of criticism for shaking Chavez’s hand and accepting a book from him. But this has made it harder for Chavez to invoke one of his favorite scapegoats: Yankee imperialism. The Venezuelan cartoonist Eduardo Sanabria may have been on to something.