Chavistas constantly acuse the press of treating their guy unfairly. They're not always wrong. But last night's little sound-bite, when Chavez lavished praise on the stomach-churningly violent dictator of Zimbabwe, confirms what we've known all along: the most damaging of the media "hits" on Chavez are always self-inflicted.
For a quick introduction to the character of the "Freedom Warrior" Robert Mugabe, have a look at:
- CNN: EU renews sanctions against Mugabe
Amnesty International: Zimbabwe Terror Tactics
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims: New crackdown on rehabilitation centre for torture victims in Zimbabwe
The Guardian: Human rights award for 'courageous' Zimbabwe lawyer
Human Rights Watch: Zimbabwe: Food Used as Political Weapon
Human Rights Watch: Zimbabwe Page
EUpolitix.com: Zimbabwe slammed for human rights abuse
Associated Press: Trial of Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Ends
Oxford Student: President Mugabe Celebrates 80th Birthday
I could add 20 more links if I spent 20 more minutes on it...Mugabe's Google trail as a mass-scale human rights abuser is long and deep, so I just picked out stories from the last few of months or so.
Reminds you of these:
Though at least Chavez had the good sense not to praise Saddam personally.
For Mugabe, though? The AP write up is worth citing:
CARACAS (AP)--Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez praised Zimbabwe's embattled President Robert Mugabe as a "freedom fighter," bestowing the visiting African leader with a replica of South American independence hero Simon Bolivar's sword.
"I give you a replica of liberator Simon Bolivar's sword," Chavez said Thursday after the two leaders signed an energy cooperation agreement.
"For you, who like Bolivar, took up arms to liberate your people. For you, who like Bolivar, are and will always be a true freedom fighter," Chavez said. "He continues, alongside his people, to confront the pretensions of new imperialists."