Hugo Chavez has died after struggling with cancer. In his lifetime, the Venezuelan president marched to the beat of his own drum – and that drum was usually off-beat. Click through the late leader’s craziest moments.
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Calls George W. Bush the Devil
During a 2006 United Nations’ General Assembly, Chavez said Bush was “the devil.” “He came in here talking like he owned the world,” Chavez said of the 43rd U.S. President. He continued saying the podium “smells of sulfur still” from Bush’s speech the prior day. Clearly, not a Dubya fan.
Chavez also liked to talk about his current favorite reads—which usually included leftist material by Noam Chomsky and others. Of Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance, a critique of American foreign policy, he said, it would help everyone comprehend, “the greatest threat that looms over our planet.”
Changes Venezuelan Flag
In 2006, Chavez proposed a few changes to the Venezuelan flag. The changes included a white horse galloping left instead of right, an additional star, a bow and arrow, a machete, among other changes. “The white horse is now liberated, free, vigorous, trotting toward the left, representing the return of Bolivar and his dream,” Chavez said. Critics viewed the horse running left as an obvious nod to Chavez’s political views.
Bashes Bush Team
In 2010, Chavez and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos halted a summit meeting in order to call and congratulate Colombian baseball player, Edgar Renteria, for his San Francisco Giants defeating the Texas Rangers, which George W. Bush once owned in the World Series. Chavez said, “We beat Bush’s team!”
Accuses U.S. of Haiti Takeover
Chavez stated that he thought the U.S. used the Haitian earthquake as an excuse to occupy the island nation. “I read that 3,000 soldiers are arriving, Marines armed as if they are going to war,” Chávez said. “On top of that, you don’t see them [the military] in the streets. Are they picking up the bodies? … Are they looking for the injured? You don’t see them. I haven’t seen them. Where are they?”
Claimed U.S. Had Earthquake Weapon
Chavez blamed the U.S. for all the world’s ills—even natural disasters. According to Chavez, the U.S. has an “earthquake weapon” that was responsible for the massive quake in Haiti in 2010.
Demeans Condoleezza Rice
The former Secretary of State was often a target for the Venezuelan dictator. He constantly referred to her as a “little girl” and in 2006 he said, “Remember, little girl, I’m like the thorn tree that flowers on the plain. Don’t mess with me, Condoleezza. Don’t mess with me, girl.”
Blamed Capitalism for the Death of Martians
Chavez blamed capitalism for killing off any good on Earth. According to Chavez, capitalism even offed civilizations we never knew existed. “It would not be strange to hear that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived, and finished off the planet,” he said.
Claims U.S. Gave Him Cancer
On Dec. 29, 2011 the prez said, “Would it be so strange that [the U.S] invented technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years? I’m just sharing my thoughts, but it’s very, very, very strange.” He even claimed Fidel Castro warned him of the possible threat to his health. “Fidel always tells me, ‘Chavez be careful, they’ve developed technology, be careful with what you eat, they could stick you with a small needle.”
Chavez doing good for Americans? Whaaa? Well, in 2012 Citgo Petroleum Corporation, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, announced it would continue to provide free heating oil to underprivileged Americans.