Sean Penn picks up endorsement …

… from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez:

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has praised Sean Penn for his critical stance against the war in Iraq, saying the two chatted by phone and soon plan to meet in person.

Chavez said Penn traveled to Venezuela this week wanting to learn more about the situation in the country and walked around some of Caracas’ poor barrios on his own.

“Welcome to Venezuela, Mr. Penn. What drives him is consciousness, the search for new paths,” Chavez said Wednesday in a televised speech. “He’s one of the greatest opponents of the Iraq invasion.”

Chavez read aloud from a recent open letter by Penn to President Bush in which the actor condemned the Iraq war and called for Bush to be impeached, saying the president along with Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are “villainously and criminally obscene people.”


The socialist president, who shares those views, said he and Penn talked by phone — “with my bad English but we understood each other more or less.”

Chavez said the two plan to meet Thursday. He called the actor “well-informed about what is happening in the United States and the world, in spite of being in Hollywood.”

For his part, Penn on Wednesday toured Venezuela’s new film studios on the outskirts of Caracas. Penn, whose visit was unannounced, did not speak publicly.

It appears that, in making a decison on whether to sink or swim, Penn has decided to swim.

Or something like that.

I think Penn’s next movie role should include the benefit of an all expenses paid one way trip to Venezuela so he can cozy up even more to his new Socialist pal. Perhaps Socialist-friendly DNC Chair Howard Dean could join?

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