Foreign Policy Blogs

What Will Chavez Say to the UN General Assembly?

With a meeting of global leaders at the United Nations General Assembly this week, one wonders what Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez will say. During his speech in 2006 he referred to US President George W. Bush as the devil.

This time around, will he critique Barack Obama in the same way? In late March, after the US President criticized the Venezuelan government for supporting terrorism, Chávez fired back, calling him “a poor ignoramus”. In April, at the Summit of the Americas, Chávez took a softer approach, and presented Obama a copy of Eduardo Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America.

The opportunity for Chávez to speak on such a public stage in New York enables him to criticize the United States as nothing more than an imperialist power. While brash comments by the Venezuelan president may not be well received by all, his focus on an external enemy enables him to solidify support amongst loyal supporters at home. There appears, however, much to question in his own country, including the rapid rise in inflation, and a high murder rate.

Chávez is often charismatic, and knows how to use publicity to his advantage. Tomorrow, the press will wait to see what he does with his time in the spotlight.



David D. Sussman

David D. Sussman is currently a PhD Candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), in Boston, Massachusetts. Serving as a fellow at the Feinstein International Center, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the lives of Colombian refugees and economic migrants in Caracas, Venezuela. David has worked on a variety of migrant issues that include the health of displaced persons, domestic resettlement of refugees, and structured labor-migration programs. He holds a Masters in International Relations from the Fletcher School, where he studied the integration of Somali and Salvadoran immigrants. David has a B.A. from Dartmouth College and is fluent in Spanish. He has lived in Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Venezuela, and also traveled throughout Latin America. In his free time David enjoys reading up on international news, playing soccer, cooking arepas, and dancing salsa casino. Areas of Focus: Latin America; Migration; Venezuela.