Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that he smells hope not sulfur, a small compliment for Barack Obama given that he branded then President George W. Bush “the devil” when he last addressed the world body in 2006.
“It doesn’t smell of sulfur. It’s gone. It smells of something else. It smells of hope and you have hope in your heart,” Chavez said during a rambling, 57-minute address where he mentioned close friend and former Cuban President Fidel Castro more than Obama or Bush.
Though at times he waved his arms, shook his fist and pointed for emphasis, Chavez was largely calm and jovial during the speech. He denounced capitalism as being a chief cause of global climate change and accused Obama of making lofty promises but failing to live up to them, asking “doesn’t it seem like there are two Obamas?”
During a raucous press conference after he finished speaking, Chavez said, “I hope the two Obamas join and become one, the one who gave the speech yesterday.”
“Imperialism must end!” he said.
A populist and the leader of a self-declared “socialist revolution” in Venezuela, Chavez also urged Obama to “come over to the socialist side. Come join the Axis of Evil over here.” He was only half-joking.
He also said, “I hope god protects him(Obama) from the bullets that killed Kennedy.”