Hugo Chavez: 10 outrageous things he said about the US

Hugo Chavez, whose death was announced Tuesday, will be remembered worldwide as much for what he said as for what he did during his 14-year rule of Venezuela. From the vitriolic to bizarre, here is a list of 10 outrageous comments he made about the “Yankee empire” and its leaders.

9. Obama a clown, but also a good guy

Miraflores Palace/Reuters/File
President Obama (l.) greets his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chávez, before the opening ceremony of the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, in April 2009.

President Obama followed his predecessor’s footsteps in dealing with Venezuela, criticizing its ties with Cuba and Iran.

In a written interview with Venezuela’s El Universal newspaper, Mr. Obama said the Venezuelan people would need to decide whether there are advantages to having ties with countries that violate human rights. 

“Focus on governing your country, which you've turned into a disaster," Chávez said in a state TV interview in December 2011. He also called Obama a “clown” and an “embarrassment.”

But if Chávez were an American, he would have voted for Obama during his reelection.

Challenger Mitt Romney criticized Obama for underplaying Venezuela’s threat, but Chávez took Obama’s side, calling him “a good guy.” He urged Venezuelans to disregard Obama’s comments if the US president came out with stronger rhetoric against him.

“Obama is campaigning. He's a candidate," he said in July 2012. “I hope the real revolutionaries understand well. I think that Barack Obama – aside from 'the president' – is a good guy.”

9 of 10

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.