May 17/06 - On Chávez's London show: not all are impressed
The Times May 16, 2006
The Hugo Chávez show is bad burlesque
The “private” visit of Hugo Chávez to
But if it is wise to judge a man by his friends, those inclined to give the visitor the benefit of the doubt might want to reconsider. It was not just the Central Casting collection of faded radicals in his thrall. Having waited since the failure of the Sandinistas to spark the (inevitable) anti-Yanqui revolution two decades ago, their excitement was understandable. Ken Livingstone’s presence added authenticity. It was good to see Harold Pinter there, a man who once had something relevant to say (about Eccles cakes), but a long, long time ago.
More significant than those present were the absentees who would surely have wished to be present at the lionising of the self-proclaimed Anti-Bush. Robert (Mugabe), Kim Jong Il (The Dear Leader) and Muhammad (Ahmadinejad) are comrades who were otherwise engaged. Señor Chávez’ eclectic choice of friends suggests a man so deeply affronted not to have merited inclusion in Mr Bush’s original axis of evil (he is also an enthusiastic defender of Saddam Hussein) that he is keen to create a new club of the touched.
President Chávez demands attention, not just because he can wear a natty suit and, on occasion, employ moderate tones. Because of rocketing prices,
Fortunately, many see through him. Candidates in