RIP, Chávez

Freedom of Speech

Despot, visionary, tyrant, hero, criminal, saint. Post-morten judgements echo everywhere and with particular volume in the Americas, where Hugo Chávez, former president of Venezuela, once befriended the Colombian FARC, played baseball with Fidel Castro in a stadium of 20,000 spectators, and named former US president George W. Bush “Mr. Danger” on public television. Will we miss him? A few will wish that his reign had lasted a little longer. But everyone interested in international affairs will miss Chávez’s superhuman ability to alienate and entertain.

A few memories of the former master of Miraflores Palace:

"ALCA, ALCA ... al carajo (fuck it).
- Discussing the Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement (Área de Libre Comercio de las Américas, or ALCA).

"You are a donkey, Mr. Danger."
- to former US president George W. Bush.

“Remember, little girl, I’m like the thorn tree that flowers on the plain. I waft my scent to passers-by and prick he who shakes me."
- to former US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice.

"Go straight to hell, Mr. Blair."
- to Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of England.

" Queen of England, I'm talking to you. The time for empires are over, haven't you noticed?"
- to Elizabeth II, Queen of England.

“Mr. Obama ... You are a clown, a clown.”
- to Barack Obama, President of the United States of America.

"Marisabel, I'm giving you one tonight, get ready!" 
- to his then-wife Marisabel Rodriguez de Chavez on Valentines day, 2000.