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. Nathan

    It was not conforming to European norms but rather being better than Europe that led to America’s rise. 300 years ago when we created a new form of government it would have been inconceivable to claim that soon the US would be more powerful and prosperous than that entire continent COMBINED. Why are the filthy libs so eager to turn America into Europe?

    September 24, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. scott winter haven

    Now it smells like a bunch of Socialists (Obama Included) what a piece of donkey dung.

    September 24, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. Brian from NJ

    Who cares what Chavez has to say... Bush did not engage our enemies in group hugs and was wary of them. Maybe too wary, but the last time we had a President who thought the way Obama is thinking things went kind of badly for us... these animals blew up two 100 story office buildings by flying planes full of innocent people into them. If Obama wants to think this is our fault and apologize for our response to that kind of barbarianism, then he should move to Venezuela or the Gaza Strip and he and his new friends can roast marshmallows and sing campfire songs all they want...

    September 24, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  4. Alex

    Chavez is more honest than Obama... Obama's speech talked about respect for international law and due process, but he continues to push for blatantly undemocratic detention powers and to shield the war criminals of the Bush administration from legal scrutiny. There ARE two Obamas, and the one who makes all the pretty speeches isn't even allowed in the room when Rahm is giving marching orders to the real Obama.

    September 24, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  5. Phil in Oregon

    Something smells different, all right.

    September 24, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  6. JOY

    No one should sit and listen to this bloated old fool he is rude to come to my country to call my President a devil he is even more rude, he is stink, in trying to cuddle Obama. Hell won't want the likes of him

    September 24, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. John

    Yea its funny that some people think having Chavez agree with our president is a good thing. Don't you realize that HE agrees with Obama's policies? Come on people, put the pieces together. YOU CAN DO IT. oh wait, maybe you can't.

    September 24, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  8. Chavez has the Dems talking points too! - Hmmm

    Wow. So Chavez likes Obama – speaks the Dems talking points and campaign slogans...

    Do you guys (misguided Dems) seriously believe his garbage and think that his being friendly with Obama is a good thing?

    God help us all!!!

    September 24, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  9. kas

    Perfect. Just what we want...all the dictators and depots of the world as our friends. With friends like that who needs ENEMAS?
    As far as I am concerned, I do not, for the life of me, understand why the likes of Kadafy,et al are allowed on our soil period without being shot on sight. END of story.

    September 24, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. Dave, the Truthteller

    Obama sold out the US and Israel. 2010 = 1994 all over again. Bu-bye lib monkeys.

    September 24, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. Fitz in Texas

    Very troubling when a dictator such as Chavez has praise for The Dictator of the United States.....oooops I mean....The President of the United States.

    September 24, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  12. Loup Garou 782

    When the sheepel that voted for obama realize that he is in league with Castro, Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and is helping to attempt to reinstate Zalaya in Honduras, it will be to late to correct their mistake.
    How is that "Hope and Change" working for you now?

    September 24, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. S Callahan

    Prime Minister Netanyahu..I'm with you....that was a moving speech and spelled out the injustices of this world....a voice cries out in the wilderness in Iran and a blanket is put over it to silence it. I pray for those who want their freedom, may God aide you.

    ...Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the anciet paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:15

    September 24, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    He is half right. Bush does smell like sulphur, but Cheney really is SATAN!

    September 24, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. Chad

    Well, in the past I have agreed in the past with some of the things Chavez has said (I think Cheney certainly wanted him killed). I never, however, like the way he says it. He comes across as childish and un-statesmanlike.
    Now, I can see the GOP trying to claim that Obama is best friends and "palling around" with people like Chavez even though that's not the case. The truth doesn't matter when you are on a mission to destroy the president.

    September 24, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  16. Body by Barwis

    Baaaaa...the sheep continue to their blind devotion to the savior Obama.

    September 24, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  17. Tom

    People hated Cheney, I mean Bush, because he was a nutball at the controls of the most powerful nation on earth. They prefer Obama because he is an intelligent, humane, wise leader. Pretty simple.

    September 24, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  18. Calvin

    I like this guy.. He speaks the truth.. For those Amercians here who are opposing him (and Obama), need to get out of their cocoons and see the world...

    The funny part is that u can see the media bias here too. It was so evident in AC360 when they were busy (and glad) bashing everything that Ahmadnijad or Ghaddafi had to say yesterday but are all praises for Netanyahu who massacared over 1300 civilians (including 300 children) in the last offensive. I am so disappointed with CNN because its bias is so clearly evident – It praises all the actions of Netanyahu despite the fact that Israel is "OCCUPYING" the Palestinian lands and calls the actual residents of Palestine as "terrorists".

    Anderson Cooper and Farid Zakaria need to stop singing the praises of Israel and be more factual.

    September 24, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  19. Annie, Atlanta

    Buster, as a Democrat, I don't want to see anyone take money and hand it out to lazy people. I also don't want to see my money go to fueling the upper 1% of our society. But I don't say all Republicans destroyed the middle and lower classes by taking our money and giving it to their rich friends & supporters. When you group us all into one mind set you get "them" against "us" instead of just us. And the last time I checked, we're all in this together, no?

    September 24, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  20. Meh

    hahahaha I laugh at the notion of anyone being AFRAID of Bush. That's just too hilarious. The reason W. wasn't well-liked in other countries is b/c he is a smug, arrogant tool.
    The reason President Obama is well-liked in other countries, even by dictators, is b/c he's friendly and respectful of others.

    ggb> Um. Humana was lying in those mailings. "Obama" didn't put a "gag order" on them....they're being investigated.

    I also think it's funny people are trying to compare Obama to dictators. Dictators TAKE from the poor and keep all the spoils for themselves! They DON'T share the wealth.
    You people have no clue. lol

    September 24, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  21. Fan of Common Sense

    I felt so much better when this power-hungry marxist tyrant HATED my president. Oh well, at least we are "loved" again (by tyrants and dictators) around the world. Let's see where it gets us. 😉

    (Forget Bush. CHENEY is who I miss.)

    September 24, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  22. CNN =

    Obama is the fast becoming the worst President when it comes to foreign policy. Someone should have educated him on who our enemies are. He seems to be alienating our allies and becoming cozy with our enemies. Even Russia now knows they can get whatever they want. All they have to do is threaten and Obama will cave, just like the missle defense debacle. You may not have liked Bush, but at least he knew who the enemy was and they knew he would never back down. Too bad democrats care more about being in power than actually keeping America safe by standing by our allies.

    September 24, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  23. vick

    hahahah Chavez is a real man and his not a liar like our politics he says it how it is!!!!!

    September 24, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  24. slp

    Evil dictators tend to not like anyone who holds them accountable for their actions. That is why none of them liked Bush. It really doesn't speak well of President Obama that he is liked by these leaders. It is especially not good for the U.S. contrary to what liberal democrats think. But hey, who cares if we get attacked by terrorists. We can feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that the world likes us, they really like us! That will bring me so much comfort when a bomb falls on my head or the head of one of my family members.

    September 24, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  25. Rose

    I don't think this is a good thing. Who wants the support of such a tyrant, he knows Obama is weak, that is why he likes him. How about Ghadaffi wanting Obama to be President forever, another horrible endorsement. As for Europe, they like him because of his great apology tour, I sure think that was a slap in the face to all Americans.
    When is he ever going to assume responsibility for what is happening to our nation and stop blaming previous administrations.

    September 24, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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