Chavez continues assault on Bush

Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, continued his jibes against George Bush, the American president, on Thursday - a day after calling Bush "the devil" at the UN General Assembly.

    Chavez gave a speech at a Harlem church on Thursday

    Chavez launched his new attack during a visit to a Harlem church, where a carefully selected audience heard him brand Bush an "alcoholic" and a John Wayne wannabe.

    He told those who had flocked to see him at the Olivet Baptist church: "Bush is an alcoholic, a sick man with a lot of hang-ups."

    He went on: "Every day I ask God, and the sooner the better, for the American people to elect a president who you can talk with, who you can work with, who you can talk with face-to-face as a brother and see each other as equals.

    "Not this gentleman who walks like John Wayne."

    He also said that Bush "doesn't know anything about politics, he got there because of Daddy," referring to Bush's father who was the US president from 1989 to 1993.

    The crowd lapped up his anti-Bush rhetoric, showing an appreciation that exceeded even the ovation he was given at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

    'The devil'

    Chavez stunned delegates at the UN General Assembly when, referring to Bush's speech from the same stage the day before, he said: "Yesterday the devil came here.

    "And it still smells of sulphar today, this table that I am now standing in front of."

    "Bush is an alcoholic, a sick man with a lot of hang-ups"

    Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan president

    He then crossed himself, brought his hands together as if in prayer and looked up to the ceiling, prompting applause and laughter.

    Criticism

    Chavez has been criticised - even by opponents of Bush - for his series of anti-Bush statements.

    John Bolton, Washington's UN ambassador, dismissed Chavez's speech at the General Assembly as a "comic strip approach to international affairs".

    Charles Rangel, a Democrat who represents Harlem, condemned Chavez even though he is also a Bush critic.

    He said: "I just want to make it abundantly clear to Hugo Chavez or any other president - don't come to the United States and think because we have problems with our president, that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that Americans do not feel offended when you offend our chief of state.

    "If there's any criticism of president Bush, it should be restricted to Americans whether they voted for him or not."

    Oil aid

    Chavez also announced that Citgo, the US subsidiary of Venezuela's state-run PDVSA oil company, would more than double the amount of heating oil it gives to poor American families to 100 million gallons this winter.

    "If there's any criticism of president Bush, it should be restricted to Americans whether they voted for him or not"

    Charles Rangel, Democrat

    He said the oil would be distributed in 18 states and that recipients would include a Native American group in Alaska.

    Chomsky

    On Wednesday, Chavez began his UN speech by displaying a copy of Noam Chomsky's book "Hegemony or survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance" and recommended that American's read it.

    By Thursday the book had become the third bestseller on Amazon.com.

    Before the speech, the 2004 book was being outsold by thousands of other titles on the online bookseller's website.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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