“Every day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it, and accept it. And this is mainstream media. There should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies.”
Penn, who has visited Chávez in Caracas, said Venezuela’s poor majority had willingly embraced his leftist revolution, but that this view was concealed from Americans.
“We are hypnotised by the media. Who do you know here who’s gone through 14 of the most transparent elections on the globe, and has been elected democratically, as Hugo Chávez?”
Penn, speaking on Bill Maher’s HBO chatshow, is part of a small but vocal pro-Chávez Hollywood group which includes Oliver Stone and Danny Glover.
They have remained steadfast even as Venezuela’s leader has lost fans at home and abroad. Inflation, crime and water and electricity shortages have hit his popularity and led to defections from his socialist party.
The Organisation of American States recently accused Chávez of intolerance and authoritarianism, and a Spanish judge accused Venezuela of cosseting Farc and Eta terrorists, sparking a diplomatic spat with Madrid.
Chávez thanked Penn for his support in what he said was a daily battle for public opinion.
“I was reading the declarations from our friend Sean Penn, the famous American actor,” he told a televised rally in Caracas. “Penn defended what he considers to be the truth.”
The Hollywood star was an ally in the effort to counter a campaign to “confuse” Venezuelans, said the president, who has been in power for 11 years. “From here I thank you very much.”
This isn’t exactly a shock, considering that this Hollyweirdo, a longtime pal of Chavez’s, was officially endorsed by the Venzuelan dictator back in 2007. I guess you could could say that they are Penn pals of sorts. Still, it’s one more thing Penn can add to his “activist” resume, a resume that impresses no one outside of fellow Socialist-loving Hollywood “activists” like Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, as well as elitists like Princeton University’s Cornel West, the Congressional Black Caucus, and maybe even President Obama himself.
I was thinking tonight after re-reading Penn’s remarks, in which he not only called for critics of Chavez to be jailed but also stated, “Do I hope that those people die screaming of rectal cancer? Yeah. You know, but I’m not going to spend a lot of energy on it”, where was he when his pal Chavez was calling the “democratically elected” President of the United Staes a “el diablo” in a much-publicized speech at the UN? Oh, that’s right – he probably thought Bush “stole” the election like just about everyone else on the left did, and still does for that matter, so I guess it was ok, then, to be a world-class jerk.
Think we could convince him to sail that same boat down to Venezuela for his next trip? No? Oh well.