Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called former Spanish Premier Jose Maria Aznar a “fascist,” saying Aznar once told him to forget about the poor nations of the world. Chavez recalled late Thursday that Aznar had urged him to get on “the train of the future” and distance himself from Cuba’s Fidel Castro.
Chavez, who met Thursday with Spanish Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jesus Caldera, said he once asked Aznar what he thought of the situation of poor African countries and Haiti. “He told me, ‘Forget about them, those nations missed the train of history. They are condemned to disappear.'” recalled Chavez, saying such ideas remind one of Adolf Hitler. “He is a true fascist. That is the thinking of this gentleman who continues attacking us over there,” said Chavez, who also called Aznar an “imbecile.”
Obviously I am not privy to what Aznar may or may not have said, once upon a time to Chavez. What I do know – despite the fact I have very little respect for Aznar – is that he is no fascist. Neither for that matter is Chavez. Indeed the clip Spanish TV showed of Aznar criticising Chavez publicly was a model of reasonableness.
What is far less clear is what Caldera is doing in Venezuela, and why Zapatero has occupied his time selling arms to Chavez.