Latin America,  Terrorism

Chavez and the Jackal

As Venezuela sinks into a sharp recession with no obvious means of recovery short of a miraculous rebound in oil prices, and as government workers (usually the most loyal chavistas) appear on the opposition TV station Globovisión to complain about late pay, management harassment and horrible working conditions…

Hugo Chavez praised the imprisoned Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal:

The Venezuelan president praised Carlos – whose real name is Ilich Sanchez Ramirez – during a speech saying: “I defend him. It doesn’t matter to me what they say tomorrow in Europe.”

Ramirez gained international notoriety during the 1970s and 80s as the alleged mastermind of a series of bombings, killings and hostage dramas. He is serving a life sentence in France for the 1975 murders of two French secret agents and an alleged informant.

“They accuse him of being a terrorist, but Carlos really was a revolutionary fighter,” Chavez said during a televised speech to socialist politicians from various countries, who applauded.

Can anyone identify these “socialist” politicians?

In his speech, Chavez also sought to defend other leaders he said are wrongly labeled “bad guys” internationally, including Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Chavez called both of them brothers and said he now wonders whether Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was truly as brutal as he was reputed to be.

“We thought he was a cannibal,” Chavez said, referring to Amin, whose regime was notorious for torturing and killing suspected opponents in the 1970s. “I have doubts. … I don’t know, maybe he was a great nationalist, a patriot.”

So is there any despicable anti-American or “anti-imperialist” whom Chavez has not defended or embraced? The only one I can come up with Kim Jong Il. And that’s probably just an oversight.