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Who are you calling Mr. Danger?

By AcademicElephant | Elephants in Academia

21.09.05 | It turns out that Hugo Chavez did not go to Columbia University yesterday to address their third annual "World Leaders Forum" because of "an unforeseen conflict with a meeting just scheduled by Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan." Or because of security concerns. But certainly not because this Ivy League university realized it was inappropriate to have Chavez on campus.

Meanwhile, PachyBro emailed me this interview with Chavez from Fortune. It has the sensationlist headline "Oil Could Rise Above $100," which, it turns out, is not economic forecasting by Fortune's crack experts, but rather Chavez' prediction of what will happen should the U.S. displease him. He goes on to declare that "[t]he U.S. government is a threat to us and to the world," and that "...Mr. Bush has converted the U.S. into a terrorist state." He laughingly concludes with an explanation of why he calls President Bush "Mr. Danger:" "[i]t's a reference from a wonderful Venezuelan novel. There's a character named Mr. Danger." Chavez refers here to Ramulo Gallegos' 1944 Doņa Barbara, in which the henchman Mister Danger buries another character (and his horse) alive. Some joke.

Just in case you want to know what Chavez' own people think of his "serious government," Publius Pundit has this chilling piece on how 2% of the Venezuelan population applied for passports to get out of the country the day it was announced that there was enough paper to print them. Chavez is a menace now, and will only become more so after the December elections, which may well be Venezuela's last while he is in power.

Senator Arlen Specter and Columbia University need to explain to me exactly why we should cozy up to this man. Or get their collective heads out of the sand and stop undermining the efforts of those who are trying to oppose him.

For what it's worth, when Chavez left the U.S., he did not return to Caracas. He went to Havana instead.

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