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  HOME | Venezuela (Click here for more Venezuela news)

Venezuela’s Chavez Walks the Red Carpet in Venice

VENICE, Italy – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Monday became the star of the Venice Film Festival, known as the Mostra, where he walked the red carpet before the official screening of the documentary “South of the Border,” directed by Oliver Stone, a work that, he said, will serve to “put the South before (the eyes of) Europe and the world.”

Paraphrasing Mario Benedetti, Chavez emphasized the need to show that the South exists also and he added that Stone’s documentary about him, presented Monday at the 66th edition of the Venice festival, is an opportunity to do that.

“It shows part of the truth about the rebirth” that is under way in Latin America, he said, adding that “it’s positive that Oliver has made this film to make this truth visible, such that the world may know what I’m really doing: a rebirth, a democracy, a democratic revolution.”

“It’s a good way to pay tribute to Latin American resistence” and arrive at “a good moment” for the changes that are occurring in the region, the Venezuelan leader said.

“A rebirth in Latin America (is occurring) and Stone has captured it with his camera and talent. It’s very nice,” said Chavez of the documentary of which he is the central figure as he made assorted comments to reporters while he took his time moving across the red carpet.

It is a documentary that “collects the reality of South America” and which he wanted to support with his presence at the Mostra, the Venezuelan leader said.

Chavez also emphasized the importance of the changes that are occurring in his country, which up to now had only exported petroleum but is beginning to sell “wine, corn, gas and energy.”

Arriving directly from Turkmenistan on a tour through countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, Chavez showed up shortly before the film was to begin screening wearing a black suit and red tie and with a small Bolivian flag on his lapel accompanied by Stone and a security team.

Moving across the red carpet like a Hollywood star, Chavez remained there for some 20 minutes greeting people, signing autographs and talking about mathematics, philosophy and all sorts of other subjects with the onlookers who had gathered in front of the Festival Palace in Venice.

Stone told reporters that Europe and the world in general need “dozens of Hugo Chavezes,” that is to say leaders who fulfill their promises.

“If you go to Venezuela, 80 or almost 90 percent of the media are against Chavez. They say very harsh things about him and he allows it, he doesn’t punish those people and they are still there,” while – for example – in the United States, “that could not happen,” Stone said.

About the disputes in which Chavez has been involved with other countries in the region, like Colombia, Stone said that these had occurred because of his estrangement from the unilateral vision of the world dominated by the United States.

“If one union member were murdered in Venezuela, it would be on the front page of the New York Times” while that occurs in Colombia and nobody says anything, the director asserted. EFE

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