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. Georgia

    Cheves KNOWS the Origins of that sulfur smell – doesn't he!!!!

    That means he has a lot of credibility – and is perfectly correct about the previous Administration!

    September 24, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  2. Sylvia

    The reason why the world have tyrants is because of GWBush. Bush was the terrorist to these world leaders that are strong and outspoken against Bush. Take that and smoke it.

    September 24, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  3. Bob in Pa

    naah, it just smells like your bad breath Hugo. Go home and clear our air !

    September 24, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  4. Take him, he's yours!

    Chavez, Obama and all American Liberals – One Big Circle Jerk!

    September 24, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  5. Jenn, Philadelphia

    The UN is the biggest waste of prime New York real estate. Sell it and stop inviting these idiots here. Qadhafi was right to throw away the UN charter. It isn't even worth recycling the paper.

    September 24, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  6. Kick the bums out

    Hitler liked Chamberlain too.

    September 24, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  7. Baby Ray Ray

    Obama must be real proud that the world's thugs think so highly of him.

    September 24, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  8. Stu

    If Chavez likes it, it must be bad! If he despises it, it must be good. Best thing we can do is rid ourselves of our addiction to oil totally, completely, and permanently.

    September 24, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  9. Paul H

    You can tell what kind of man Obama is by the ones that speak highly of him. No I'm not saying Obama is going to be an evil dictator. But I think Obama loves the idea of laws, and regulation coming from the top down.

    September 24, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  10. Obama IS ACORN

    I am with Bluebonnet...Chavez you can have Obama!!

    Four & the door, buddy.

    September 24, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  11. bess

    of course Chavez likes Obama, they're two of a kind with the same agenda. scary.

    September 24, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  12. firebird

    Why are the speeches of foreign leaders always described as "rambling"?

    September 24, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  13. AJ

    These posts just underscore that all Republicans are disgusting animals. G. W. Bush is an awful, rotten human being who did this nation nothing but harm. There will never be "bipartisanship" and why should there be? I don't want to work with republicans, I detest them as do most other democrats and vice versa. We will continue to fight eachother until this nation's influence dwindles and we become another second rate "democracy" drowning in our own swill. That hatred will be the legacy of the "republican revolution".

    September 24, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  14. bj,texas

    You lib wackos going gaga over tyrants loving our president keep in mind that lions feel the same way about lambs. I bet it smelled a lot like lamb at the podium after Obambi spoke.

    September 24, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  15. m smith

    It is ok for that bimbo Palin to bash our president to a bunch from china, but because of Chaves remarks the president takes heat. I never heard so many looney tunes. Seems to me we are making some progress on the diplomatic front. Showing a willingness to talk even to the crazies seems to be working. So whats wrong with that?? How is the president selling out but it is ok for ol paline to bash this government to the chinese communist?? Or is it just that diplomicy seems to be working

    September 24, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  16. Keith B`

    Get over it Bush-backing Republicans.

    Your foreign policy sucked. Donald Trump was right about Condi Rice. All she ever did was photo ops. Nothing substantial ever got accomplished in the Bush State Department.

    Get out of the Cold War mentality. The world has changed since you last had your blinders off.

    You led, we followed, you failed. Now, get out of the way and let real American progress begin. Your rhetoric is old. Get on with it.

    September 24, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  17. Mark

    of course not Obama is his buddy now.

    September 24, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  18. Mark

    That should send a good signal to all the idiots who voted for Obama.

    September 24, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  19. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Get over yourself Chavez. Obama may not be Bush, but he's still from the great U.S. of A!!! He will still mush you into pulp!

    September 24, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  20. Peter E

    And yet the Venezuelan presidential palace still smells of rot!

    September 24, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  21. Geoff

    Well of course Chavez loves Obama...he didn't want to be accused of being a racist by fearmongering liberals.

    September 24, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  22. JoeC

    I wish Benjamin Netanyahu was our President. He's the only leader that has the stones to stand up to the evil dictator's of the world. Good Luck Ben when you have to take out Iran's nuclear capabilities without U.S. support because of our current spineless POTUS.

    September 24, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  23. Dchat

    When the terrorists/dictators/murderers support you-that's not exactly the support group you want and I would be really surprised if anyone in the Obama administration is real excited about it, either. But if you think it is; if you really think you can justify what these tyrannts have done is reasonable and that their support for the president is actually good– that's even scarier.

    September 24, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  24. KTX

    Of course Chavez loves Obama. . .they have so much in common. When Hugo says "jump," Obama apologies for not already being in mid-air.

    Is it 2012 yet?

    September 24, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  25. kenny cole

    Thats the respect and the Dignity this country deserve thats the change we can believe in. america is ready to lead again

    September 24, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
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