September 24th, 2009
05:19 PM ET
11 years ago

Chavez: U.N. 'doesn't smell of sulfur anymore'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Alluding to his 2006 comment about former President George W. Bush, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Thursday 'It doesn't smell like sulfur anymore.'"]
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) - Drawing on 2006 remarks in which he compared former U.S. President George Bush to the devil, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, speaking at the United Nations Thursday, said, "It doesn't smell like sulfur anymore."

In a rambling speech at the U.N. General Assembly, Chavez spoke highly of current President Barack Obama, saying he is an "intelligent man" and comparing him to President John F. Kennedy.

"I hope God will protect Obama from the bullets that killed Kennedy," he said. "I hope Obama will be able to look and see, genuinely see, what has to be seen and bring about a change."

Three years ago, Chavez spoke at the gathering the day after Bush spoke, and said the lectern "still smells of sulfur."

But on Thursday he looked around the podium and said, "It doesn't smell of sulfur. It's gone. No, it smells of something else. It smells of hope."

He did, however, criticize some U.S. policies, questioning whether there are "two Obamas."

Chavez accused the Pentagon of being behind the ousting of Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya in a military-backed coup in June. "American soldiers knew about the coup and supported it," he said. "Hence the contradiction that Obama has to face. Are there two Obamas? Obama spoke here yesterday. Does he have a double? ... Let's hope the one we heard yesterday will prevail. Let us hope. That's what the world needs."

The United States and Brazil have said they support dialogue between Zelaya and de facto President Robert Micheletti, centered on the San Jose Accord brought about through the mediation of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and the Organization of American States mission. That deal calls for Zelaya to be restored to office.

"The U.S. government, and this is strange, has not recognized the fact that a military coup d'etat has occurred," Chavez said. "There is some friction between the State Department and the Pentagon."

He said the coup was engineered by the Honduran bourgeoisie, "four or five wealthy, powerful families."

Chavez also called for the United States to lift what he called the "savage, murderous blockade" on Cuba, and was critical of plans to open U.S. military bases in Colombia, saying what the nation needs instead is aid to lift itself out of its civil war.

In addition, Chavez criticized capitalism and extolled the virtues of socialism, saying it is "the road to salvation for this planet."

He spoke for almost exactly an hour, less than the hour and 36 minutes Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi used on Wednesday. The Venezuelan president joked that he would not speak as long as Gadhafi, but said he planned to speak as long as Obama.

Asked to expand on his "two Obamas" comment at a news conference after his speech, Chavez said, "I think that one of the serious failures of the United States has been that, for a long time, it has underestimated and undervalued Latin America and the Caribbean. ... I hope that Obama turns around the vision of the White House and the Department of State of Latin America. They cannot continue to mistreat us."

He said one Obama spoke about peace in addressing the General Assembly, yet has seven U.S. military bases in Colombia. "There's a double somewhere," he said.

Asked by a reporter about the closures of television stations in Venezuela, Chavez said it was "a big lie" and asked her to provide an example. She asked about RCT, or Radio Caracas Television. Chavez told her the station broadcasts every day, but that a contract, or concession, had expired for its "open signal" and was not renewed.

"Never in Venezuela do we have as much freedom of expression as we do now," he said.

But, he asked, "What would happen here in the United States if CNN and other stations supported a coup? Not only would they be shut down, but their owners would have been taken to the electric chair."

Filed under: George W. Bush • Hugo Chavez • President Obama
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Bluebonnet

    Hey Ugo – you like him so much, you can have him!

    September 24, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. Bpin

    BHO is his big buddy now. In fact, BHO is the big buddy of several other country leaders that want to harm us. On one hand, BHO speaks out loudly about human rights and how the US will sanction countries that abuse them. On the other hand, the rock star is big buddies with them and apologizes that the US has treated them so bad. Just the facts!

    September 24, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Jimmy the Greek

    Quite telling event at the UN:

    Ghadaffi – praised Obama
    Chavez – praised Obama

    Netanyahu – only voice to condemn Iran's hostility and nuclear ambitions

    Obama – the appeaser of our enemies

    September 24, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. Jayden,FL

    Well at least he's speaking his mind lol

    September 24, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. jon

    President Obama should be concerned that a brutal dictator like this thinks he's a good guy. Obama needs to stop kissing dictator's butts. Benjamin Netanyahu hit the nail on the head with his speach today at the UN and renewed my faith in moral dignity. Obama's incredible naivety in wanting to garner the respect of scumbags like Ahmad-wacko-jad in Iran and nut job Chavez in Venezuela is truly disturbing.

    September 24, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. Kevin from Co

    I wonder why so many leaders from communist countries love Obama so much? Could it be his socialist ways?

    September 24, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Farrell in Houston

    It's a sad day when someone like Chavez talks about our President being killed like Kennedy knowing how the World would respond. We have the best security in the world around our President and it also includes millions of people who love him, we've got his back.

    September 24, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. ggb

    Doesn't this tell all about Obama and his direction for this country? He has common grounds with the likes of Chavez, and Castro. He has put a gag order on Humana for telling seniors exactly what will happen to Medicare and he is "suggesting" who should not run for reelection. Does this not suggest he is a control freek and what he wants to accomplish for our country? Did you not notice how many times he said "I" and "me" in his speach to the UN? Please wake up or Chavez and our leader will be one in the same!

    September 24, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Ken

    I'm glad he mentioned G. Bush. Those two sure are two loony peas in a pod. Each one, and their followers, are suffering from a severe disconnect from reality. I think all the birth-bagging neo-tards should move to Venezuela, to see what real socialism looks like, not just the made-up kind that's used by the rightwing underbelly as an excuse to spew noise into the American political process. Uber-partisan, under-informed and living in a fantasy world, [R]s should do well in Venezuela.

    September 24, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. Steve

    Chavez while still not an angel only beef with the U.S. was with BUSH..His I dislike BUSH and the fools that voted for that MORON. But I am not an admirer of Chavez either.



    September 24, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. Rick in OP

    How much longer is this freak show at the UN going to last?
    Let Chavez know how you really feel about him......BOYCOTT CITGO!!!!

    September 24, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. Buddy Gilmour

    South Carolina should thank the UN for bringing in Ahmadinejad, Ghadafi and Chavez. But with leaders like these I can see how mankind could perish.

    September 24, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. Rob

    Mighty odd how all the 2-bit, nut-job, tyrant dictators just love Obama. Maybe it's because they know that with him in charge, they can do whatever they want to the U.S. and Obama will either apologize because of something America did before he took office (of course) caused them to attack, or Obama won't do anything because his lib puppet masters who got him into office would frown upon reprisals.

    Yep, tyrants love a wimp.

    September 24, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. GI Joe

    The Devil/Dictator from the US for the previous 8 years took the stench to Dallas.

    Thank God we have a President with a brain this time.

    September 24, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  15. If the insurance companies win, YOU LOSE

    Thanks for the update, Hugo.

    Though I think President Obama already addressed the issue of change in his speech before the UN yesterday.

    September 24, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  16. OneWiseGuy

    The Bush era definitely has left a lasting bad taste in the mouth of the world. I am thankful everyday that Barack Obama won this most crucial election. We are no longer creating hatred that fuels new terrorists and just beginning to repair some of the distrust. The problem is that everyone knows how easily many Americans are fooled by the Republican lies and it could easily be back to the way it was in 4 or 8 years.

    September 24, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  17. Me

    Sounds about right. They're pretty much ideologically on par. Why wouldn't Chavez like him? Especially, considering Obama is using US influence to reinstate a dictator-to-be in Honduras back into power after he was legally ejected for violating the countrie's very own constitution.

    September 24, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. Minnesota against John McSame

    Jealous repubs...hahaha...your cowboy was the devil and not everyone hates Obama like you stop your whining.

    September 24, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  19. Mark

    This is a guy who referred to Obama as being like him.

    Socialism is not fun.

    September 24, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    It is nice for once to see other countries compliment our President and for good reason. Our new President is willing to listen and not dictate. We need to work with other countries instead of forcing ourselves on them.

    September 24, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  21. Diane

    Honestly, why can't people stop being nasty to each other? My mother would be appalled if she could hear the way people talk to each other now. She taught us, as children, not to say anything if we couldn't say something nice. Too bad everyone didn't learn that.

    September 24, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    As much as I hate Bush, Chavez is just plain old childish.

    September 24, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  23. MillsJ

    Love how the libs have no issue with socialist dictators praise our president; probably because they hope he'll try and implement even more of their socialist agenda. Thankfully 2010 is right around the corner.....

    September 24, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Mike in MN

    So Chavez likes Obama, he smells good. Ghadaffi likes him too. Says he should be president forever. Just like Chavez intends to do.
    Chavez talks about two Obama's. Well there are two Obama's. A real one and a fake one. The fake one is the one who is pretending to be a centerist. The real one, the one Chavez likes it the far left liberal, socialist one that Obama needs to hide. The one who appoints a self proclaimed communist like Van Johnson to be his green czar. Who appoints poeple to be czars and advisors like Cass Sunstein, Haldren, Mark Lloyd, E. Emanuel. Who hangs out in Rev. Wrights church for 20 years. Chavez can smell one of his own kind. Obama smells good to him.

    September 24, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. Helen, NY

    I think Barak Obama should settle in Venezuela. Hey Barack, you are a smart man. Go ahead. We do not need you and your radical/socialist policies here.

    September 24, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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