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Uribe & Chavez: a tale of two presidents

By A.M. Mora y Leon | Publius Pundit

17.09.05 | While President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia was ringing the opening bell of the New York stock exchange today, his ministers back home were announcing that interest rates would be slashed 50 basis points, nearly a billion more dollars in debt was being repaid, the trade surplus was expanding, tourism was up, banks were lending, remittances were up and the only worry they had - probably unique in Latin America - was that the currency was unstoppably strong and powering upward against the dollar.

Meanwhile, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela was busy in other ways. He began his day by complaining about his biggest customer for his oil, the U.S. consumer and all the gas he uses. He was upset about one-person cars on New York roads. No doubt, he would prefer to pack them into Louisiana buses. That wasn’t enough though. He ripped into the United Nations, saying it didn’t work and should move its headquarters to the Southern Hemisphere, or else, (since Jews rule the world, are you with me?) Jerusalem. He also spent considerable time of his UN address yelling about Pat Robertson. He condemned a major UN reform measure supported by all the world, and other than Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, was joined by no one - not one country signed up. He took longer than his allotted five minutes for his UN speech, saying that since Bush got 15 minutes, why shouldn’t he? Then Kofi Annan had decided he’d had enough of this and Kofi asked Chavez to meet with him privately - so he could give him a talking to. That led him to cancel his speech at Columbia University. That wasn’t all though. Now, Chavez’s made a fool of himself on Nightline, ranting and raving about death plots against him. I can’t wait to see the end of this.

No two presidents in history were more unlike each other. This UN session showed it all in glowing relief.

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