I was reading a transcript of the interview Hugo Chavez gave to Stephen Sackur of the BBC in advance of Caracas premier of the Oliver Stone propaganda film South of the Border.
The one thing you can discern from Chavez’s answers is that he doesn’t answer what he’s been asked. For instance, when Sackur asks about the Venezuelan economy, Chavez carries on about Europe.
SS: I want to begin by asking you about the Venezuelan economy. You have a serious problem with inflation, you have a currency that’s been devalued and your country is still in recession, is it fair to say that socialism, right now, is not working?
HC: I think you have more problems in England and in Spain and in the whole of Europe, it’s disastrous, the US has more problems than we have here. We’ve had an economic growth rate over the last six years of 7.8% GDP just to give you an example.
In fact, as the BBC article points out,
Venezuela possesses the biggest reserves of oil outside the Middle East and supplies more than one-tenth of US oil imports, but still the economy has woefully underperformed against others in Latin America in the last two years.
Inflation has leapt to 30% and seems likely to rise further. The Venezuelan currency has been devalued and is still sinking amongst Caracas’s black market money changers.
Chavez got upset when asked about Raul Baduel, but Ollie Stone was there to quiet him down:
As the tension in the presidential palace rose, Oliver Stone who was seated in a corner listening intently to the exchanges – along with a host of presidential aides and one of the president’s daughters – gestured to the president with both hands.
The message was easy to read: Calm down.
Nice to have friends like Ollie, whose films you can bankroll, isn’t it?
When Chavez does get around to answering, his mantra is “blame American imperialism.”
As if we hadn’t heard that one yet in the past sixty years.
The text of key parts of the interview is below the fold: