Who stole the spotlight at UN?
Words are mightier than swords when it comes to some world leaders who spoke at the UN this week. The charisma of the political figures many love to hate is stealing the spotlight from their more diplomatic colleagues.
Hugo Chavez is inhaling the aroma of new American leadership. The Venezuelan leader says he no longer smells sulfur, but rather the fragrance of hope.
Following a three-year gap, the Venezuelan leader returned to the podium directed towards an international stage. From here he labeled George W. Bush the Devil.Expressing a slightly kinder tone towards Barack Obama didn’t keep Chavez from criticizing the new administration for making promises while provoking conflict.
“United States soldiers in Honduras knew of the coup and they support it and they support the Honduran military,” Chavez made himself clear.
“Therein lie the contradictions with Obama and beyond Obama. Sometimes one wonders, “Are there two Obamas?” the Obama that spoke here yesterday and another one, a double?”
Chavez addressed the UN General Assembly, denouncing capitalism as the cause of climate change and railing against the US. For igniting instability in Latin America
Speaking for nearly one hour, Chavez’s words were minor sparks compared to the fireworks set off by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
His ninety-minute verbal whipping against the UN stole major thunder from America’s articulate leader.
Barack Obama also made history on Thursday, as the first American president to chair a Security Council meeting.
Chavez’s “fans” expressed themselves no less emotionally than their object of worship:
“The people of the south have been forgotten and we need to look forward, so the people of the South American countries get together!” said a man in the crowd waiting to see the Venezuelan leader.
“I was praying basically to get to see him,” a girl said – she was happy to have got her icon’s signature.
“When he just came to me, I just didn’t’ know how to explain myself, how much I admire him, ’cause for me he’s everything!”
The Chavez fans were still cheering for him outside even after he entered the building. And despite the criticism he faces in New York City, he is still greeted by supporters who enjoy his presence here.
Years of tense relations between Caracas and Washington have loosened a little under the new US leadership. But Chavez’s supporters say Obama’s words need to be less pretty and clearer.
“I like him [Chavez],” said a man in the street. “Despite everything, he has to be more direct. He could be between the lines. You have to be “yes” or “no”.
In the era of feisty leaders who pull no punches, middle of the road diplomacy might not make all the headlines.