Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013



The blogging world came to a screeching halt yesterday at 4:25 PM.  That's the precise time when Venezuela's beloved leader officially passed away.  Love him...or hate him...there's no denying HUGO CHAVEZ was a blogger's dream.  As expected, the mailbox is jammed full of questions so let's get started..

Are more people celebrating or mourning his death?  Linda, Mexico.
Officially, most people are being polite and are mourning Hugo's passing.  Venezuela's allies in Latin America have all issued heartfelt statements.  The first president was Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega,  followed closely by Bolivia's Evo Morales.  Brazil's President, Dilma Rousseff, called for a moment of silence.  Likewise, state-run TV in Caracas showed non-stop coverage of the throngs of supporters, clad in red, gathering outside his palace.  However, if Twitter is any indication, everyone is cracking jokes about "El Commandante.".

Didn't Chavez once tell King Juan Carlos to 'Shut up'? James, Berkeley.
Sorry, James, but you got it turned around. The King of Spain told Hugo to "Shut up." At a Madrid summit in 2007, Chavez was rousting then Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.  But Hugo went too far when he called him a "fascist."  (This word still carries a lot of weight in Spain and Italy.)  An obviously angered King then uttered his famous quip.  NOTE:  Most people in Venezuela wanted Hugo to shut up as well.  El Jefe was renowned for his 3-4 hour radio speeches...he would often reminisce about his impoverished childhood. (Yawn!)

Why was Chavez so obsessed with Simon Bolivar?  Hung, Vietnam.
After our heroes' humble beginnings in the mud hut, he joined the Venezuelan military.  As a private, he became enthralled with Simon Bolivar, A.K.A. the George Washington of South America.  Chavez loved his 18th century philosophy of a socialist world devoid of hunger.  In reverence, Hugo often makes speeches under his portrait.  When elected president in 1998, he began constructing a huge mausoleum for Bolivar's casket, because the old one wasn't big enough.  NOTE: Chavez's Anti-American stance was the polar opposite of his idol.  Bolivar loved the USA and sent his only son to study at the University of Virginia with Thomas Jefferson's nephew. 

I heard that Venezuela is the world's largest exporter of oil. Is that true? Helen, U.K.
No, dear, it's not true.  Saudi Arabia is the largest exporter of petroleum, shipping some 11 million barrels every day.  Venezuela ranks 13th.  However, the South American nation leads the world in Proven Petroleum Reserves, which is actually much more important.  It's estimated one-fifth of earth's un-tapped oil lies beneath Venezuela's precious land.  (Hmm..Think the CIA is monitoring the transition of power to Vice President Nicolas Maduro?)

No word yet on whether the parrot is still alive.
Will Chavez's successor continue his anti-U.S. policies? Daniela, Brazil.
Yes.  Prior to announcing Hugo Chavez' death, the Venezuelan Government expelled two U.S. military aids, accusing them of espionage.  Then, they announced Hugo's passing.  Analysts see this as a clear message to the USA:  "We still hate you."  The best we can hope for is an unbiased and completely fair election, with opposition challenger Henrique Capriles narrowly defeating Chavez' hand-picked candidate Maduro.  Whomever wins the election, let's all hope he doesn't drink thirty cups of coffee every day like Hugo Chavez did.  That's enough to kill you!!!

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