Chavez Insults Rice
Byline: James Morrison, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Chavez insults Rice
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice illiterate and suggested in a speech last week that she had sexual dreams about him, prompting outrage among Venezuelan women's groups, which denounced his "obscene and lewd" remarks.
In his Jan. 23 speech, Mr. Chavez said Miss Rice "keeps demonstrating complete illiteracy."
"It seems that she dreams about me. I can invite her on a date with me to see what happens to her with me. She said that she was sad and depressed because of Chavez. Oh, daddy! She should forget me. What bad luck this lady has. I don't want to make that sacrifice for my nation," he said, according to Venezuelan reports.
Mr. Chavez's outburst followed Miss Rice's criticism of his increasingly authoritarian rule in testimony at her Senate confirmation hearing last month.
She called Mr. Chavez a "negative force" in Latin America and accused him of meddling in the affairs of his neighboring states. Colombia, for example, has complained that Mr. Chavez is sheltering Colombian Marxist rebels.
"We are very concerned about a democratically elected leader who governs in an illiberal way," Miss Rice said of Mr. Chavez.
The National Women's Front of Venezuela expressed disdain for Mr. Chavez's comments in a letter delivered to Ambassador William Brownfield at the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Caracas.
The contents of the letter, signed by 48 representatives of 26 groups, were included in an unclassified cable to Washington, an administration source said yesterday. The groups included women's rights organizations, political opposition parties, labor unions and civil rights advocates.
They expressed embarrassment "regarding the inconsiderate, obscene and lewd statements made by President Chavez during a public speech."
They said that "we reject not only such disrespectful language, but we especially reject the sexist, macho and authoritarian concept hidden behind it. …