Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took center stage at yesterday's OPEC meeting in Caracas, where he delivered some fiery anti-American rhetoric. NPR correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro was there and sent this in:
When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez takes the stage at any event, you know you may as well get comfortable. He's a leader who loves to talk -- a full three hours had been slotted for his discourse at the OPEC inauguration. And he used most of it. It's easy to make jokes about Chavez's epic speeches, but he really is a very able speaker. When he gets ready to give a really good quote -- something about President Bush being a world menace, for example -- his voice rises and gets emphatic so you know to have your pen poised. But then, just to keep you on your toes he'll say something utterly outrageous as a quiet aside.
This time he mentioned his friendship with Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, aka "Carlos the Jackal," a convicted terrorist being held in a French prison. Now, he might have waited for a different occasion to tout this relationship. Among the Jackal's many crimes was the storming of the OPEC headquarters in 1975. Seventy hostages were seized in the attack that left three people dead. It seemed a pretty ominous way to greet your guests to me.
Read the rest of Lourdes' dispatch from Caracas.