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Will Oxford University give Hugo Chavez a honorary degree?

By Aleksander Boyd

London 12.04.06 | Venezuelan Ambassador to the UK, Alfredo Toro Hardy, called to his master's TV weekly show Alo Presidente two Sundays ago to break the fantastic news: an honorary degree to Hugo Chavez was already in the works at Oxford University. Given that I was travelling to the USA I couldn't do my bit of research about the issue. However today I did and the findings, as customary with all things coming from the Chavez camp, is nothing but lies. What follows is an email exchange with Alison Miles, Executive Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor & Chancellor at Oxford University. It needs to be stressed that Mrs. Miles also stated that neither Oxford Brookes, the other university in Oxford, was planning to give Chavez such a distinction.

Dear Mrs. Miles,

There have been reports in the Venezuelan press that president Hugo Chavez will travel to the UK in May to receive an honorary degree from Oxford University. The information appears to have been originated from Venezuelan Ambassador to the UK Alfredo Toro Hardy, who called President Chavez's television programme to inform him about the news.

I should be most grateful if you could confirm whether or not this information has any basis in reality.


Aleksander Boyd

Mrs. Miles reply:

Dear Mr Boyd,

Thank you for your phone call and for your email. There is no plan for the University of Oxford to confer an honorary degree upon President Chavez of Venezuela in May or at any time in the immediate future. As I mentioned, yours is the third enquiry about this in the past few days so we should be most interested to know from where the Venezuelan Ambassador received this information.

I should mention that the office is closed from from the end of today until Tuesday morning.

Yours sincerely,

Alison Miles

Executive Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor & Chancellor
University of Oxford
Wellington Square
Oxford OX1 2JD

End of messages

It will certainly be most interesting to learn from where the 'honourable Ambassador' Toro Hardy got this information. I called his office requesting his comments in this respect this afternoon so that he could defend his position. Let us wait for his reply...

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