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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hugo Chavez




Last night I went to hear Chavez, the president of Venezuela speak. THe event as a whole was like nothing I have ever seen. The closest thing I can compare it to is a large protest in that there were thousands of people are chanting, waving banners and signs, singing and cheering, except this was not a protest but a government sponsered event with the president, nothing like you would see in the US. The event took place in a huge dome stadium. I got there about an hour and a half early to make sure I got in. The "pre-show" consisted of various performances of Venezuelan music groups as well as a Brazilian musician. They sang songs about Che and songs about Chavez that everyone knew the words to and sang along. Every few minutes a group of people would start a chant, "Chavez no se va!" "El pueblo unido jamas será vencido" and lots of others. Finally Chavez came on stage greeted by chanting, whistles, clapping and overall excitement. With him on stage were various people from around the world such as leftist writers, political figures, Che Guevarras daughter, and Cindy Sheehan. Cindy Sheehan spent weeks waiting to meet with Bush and he refused to meet with her and here she was sitting next to Chavez and being congradulated by him (At some point he told her that he loved her and he called her Ms. Hope in comparison to Bush who he constantly refers to as Mr. Danger). Chavezs speech, meant for the WSF audience, focused on Latin America and world politics rather than focusing on Venezuela. He was very critical of Bush, and the war in Iraq. He mentioned past and present leaders such as Che, Simon Bolivar, and Fidel Castro. He quoted, Marx, Chompski, Hobbes, and Harry Belafonte (about Bush being the biggest terrorist in the world). He is a very articulate and powerful speaker and what he said was all really interesting, thoughtful and I agreed with most of it. I dont think I know enough about what is going on in Venezuela to have a good sense of whether what he says is being put into practice and to what extent though. The overall event was amazing to experience. The support and enthusiasm that people have for their president is nothing like you would ever see in the US. I am going to try and post some pictures from the event in the next couple of days but I dont know if I will be able to on these computers.

7 Comments:

At 12:14 AM, January 29, 2006, Blogger sonja said...

you amaze me.

 
At 10:28 AM, January 29, 2006, Blogger Becca said...

me as well.

and it makes me happy that even when you're camping and travelling (well i guess just camping so far) you're finding time to update all of us about your adventures and even post pictures! xoxoxo

 
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