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. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hugo is right. The Devil (Bush#2) has left the building. Too bad his minions didn't leave with him. As can be evidenced here anyone that tries to change the status quo is demonized, and stoned. I too, like Hugo, pray for us ALL that no one gets it into their sick head to harm our leader. The jealousy of the GOP is off the charts. They are absolutely besides themselves with envy that a Black man can more than handle all of the vitriol slung his way AND deal with all of the things on his plate, AND handle himself in the international forum.

    September 24, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. queenbee

    We are in trouble, the 3 most dangerous dictators are in "love" with Obama and want him to be in power forever, just like them!!!!! God help us!

    September 24, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  3. Dan Holiday

    The reason that Chavez, Mr. Iran loony, Putin, and so forth hated G.W. Bush was because they feared him and knew that he wouldn't put up with their crap. The reason they love Obambi is just the opposite. They do not fear him at all. To the contrary. They think he is a joke. They know he will not engage them in any way. They are like kids in a candy store that has nobody there to mind them. Obambi = EPIC FAIL.

    September 24, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  4. Four and The Door

    It was not easy for Obama to earn this Chavez endorsement. But he sure did, didn't he?

    September 24, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. Tim

    One thing is true, Obama is much closer to Chavez, Lil'Kim and Ahmadidajoke that Bush ever was.

    Not something I would tout.

    September 24, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. James

    Guys, chill. Do you Americans want the whole world to hate you, because you are ignorant. Or do you want the world to love and respect you because of your values and leadership qualities? The time of talking about communism and dictators is becoming childish! communism is a fearmaking-myth that was a threat to your grandparents. Today, those dictators who are not dancing to your music are bad guys, and those one who drink watre from your hands are your friends. WAKE UP... Without Obama, not only will your country face a catastrophe, but also the rest of the world. Start giving this man a chance. Social equality and global peace will boost the global economy and the peoples of the world can live in harmony together! But first you guys have to wear off your racist sunglasses and give the health care reform a chance... Please, American people, wake up!!!

    September 24, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. Lynne

    Obama's popularity in Europe: 77%

    Bush's popularity in Europe: 19 %

    There goes the dictators only like Obama...but then you koolaid Fox News drinkers think all the western democracies are "socialists" any way!!

    CNN has has nothing but blogs to feed the right wing fringe today....

    September 24, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. mjm

    Can he SMEEELLLLLL what Barack is cook'en?

    Personally, I would rather have Hugo hate my president. Means they have nothing in common and do not see eye to eye.

    September 24, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. Johnny DC

    I'd love Obama too if I was a tyrant. I can't believe this president makes me rather be a horrible dictator like Kim Jong Il, Chavez, or Ahmadinejad than a hard-working upper-middle-class American.

    Thanks, President. Change we can all believe in.

    September 24, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  10. Ann Marie

    For all those people who are so thrilled that we are "liked" again, I thought doing the right thing whether or not it was popular was what we aspire to but I guess I was wrong. It's so great to be in the "in-crowd" again isn't it?

    September 24, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  11. Buster

    Hugo, Kim, Barack......they only care about themselves and taking money from smart, successful people and giving to lazy, non caring people.

    September 24, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. dustin

    gop: fear, fear, fear. hate, hate, hate. war, war, war. I think you're record is starting to skip, play a new tune.

    September 24, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  13. Roger

    Apologies to Mark Sanford, John Edwards, the crook that just got out of prison in Ohio, Bill Friest claiming he could tell from the press vidieo, the brain dead woman was actually alert. The fool from North Korea, the nut from Iran. All the other goof ball politians, Chavez is the zaniest of them all!!!

    September 24, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. Sgt. USMC

    Chavez only likes Obama because he replaced the devil, I mean Bush. Anything is better after having to put up with 8 years of war, lies, torture, economic destruction and whatever other things we have yet to find out about. It has nothing to do with Obama being like Chavez. You guys who think so are just jerks who want to have something to bash Obama about. Get a life, get a hobby or something to occupy your time for the next 3 years and 2 months. Like it or not Obama's our President.

    September 24, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  15. Idiot_Pelosi

    Obummer and his dictator pals.....

    What a group of nobodies.

    September 24, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. sunny

    HELLLLLO! Does anyone have a brain out there? Dictators and socialists loving Obama and calling him "my son". Obama apologizing to the world for US "actions" (never mind we're the biggest caregiver to the world $$$). We voters need to remind ourselves of where we come from and what we stand for and take back our country from this socialist before he takes all of your money and spreads it around to those who don't earn it like you and I do, and put us in the hands of the enemy. Wake up people. Our government already owns the banks, car industry, etc., etc. You're next......

    September 24, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. GuyInVA

    It doesn't smell of sulfur. It smells of petty banana republic dictator. Counting this pathetic moron as an enemy is a badge of honor. The closest thing we in the U.S. have to a banana republic like Venezuela is Massachusetts.

    September 24, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. bimmer

    Poor Obama.

    Looks like he is liked by all the bad guys in the world: Chavez, Ghadafi, Wright, Ayers, Ahmedinijad, Castro.

    Did US elect the wrong guy as President again?

    September 24, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  19. The black Spider

    When a dictator praises Obama the right wing nuts flips off.
    You call them dictators in America but they are liked in their countries.
    This so called dictators are intitled to their opinion and are free to express it.

    September 24, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. mike

    Castro endorsed uhbumble as well.

    September 24, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  21. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    I bet Chavez is really happy that he got his protege elected president. I wonder if Obama bows to him the same way he does the Saudi king. I miss having a REAL president.

    September 24, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  22. Alex

    Although a lot of folks are probably cringing at Chavez praising Obama, the fact remains that unlike the guys running North Korea and Iran, this guy is literally in our backyard and anyone who has experienced conflict with a neighbour knows you sleep better at night if you make friendly. I'm not sure where Bpin gets his/her facts from but I don't recall ever hearing Obama apologizing to Iran, North Korea or Venuzuela for that matter. Or the Taliban or Al Queda. What planet are you living on?

    September 24, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  23. Peter

    Even Chavez is relieved NO MORE YOU ARE EITHER WITH US OR OUR ENEMY! remember all enemies were oil obstructionists!

    September 24, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  24. Obama Supporter

    What is that old saying????

    Oh Yeah....

    "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer"

    i think Mr. Obama has his enemies exactly where he wants them. Why so some of you want other countries to hate us so much. i would rather that they like us, and one of the reasons that they don't, is they view the US as a meddling bully. I would rather be known again as a superpower that helps the world.

    September 24, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  25. vic nashville , Tn

    Obama is world leader every one accept him

    September 24, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
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