Hugo Chavez is about the address a crowd in Harlem to talk about his P.R. blitz, err, selfless benevolence to the American poor:
But Chavez does have another side to him: He continues to devise new schemes to use Venezuela's oil bonanza to benefit the needy around the world.
Last year, the Venezuelan president offered up to 8 million gallons to needy New Yorkers in the South Bronx. Only 1 million gallons were actually delivered because of delays in launch the program and a mild winter, but that program is now expanding to all five boroughs.
President Chavez was expected to visit a Harlem church Thursday morning to roll out what many are calling Part II of Chavez's oil gift.
It's a softer, kinder, tie-less Hugo. Let's see what he has to say.
12:12p.m. Bor-ing. He's welcoming everyone...Loving the shout-outs to Jesus. Doing wonders for the Kingdom, you are, Hugo.
12:13: Here we go:
"To my aboriginal and indigenous brothers, we are the we are the real owners of this land."
12:14: Slamming European colonialism, the massacre brought upon the heads of indigenous people.
The translator's mic isn't up high enough, but he's saying something along the lines of Latin Americans, "aboriginal Americans" and black Africans being responsible for the development of fuel from the beginning.
"We are here 500 years later, after that massacre, we are here. You are the survivors of the masaacre...We the mestizos...the aboriginals and the black Africans."
LOTS OF APPLAUSE
"As Jesus said, love each other."
And, the Hugo pub tour continues...
Update: Just saw this on Fox. This is more than I expected from Charlie Rangel. He's gonna catch heck on Kos over it, but the statement was forceful and appropriate.
"They can do what they see fit to do, but you do not come into my country, my congressional district, and you do not condemn my president. If there is any criticism of president bush, it should be restricted to americans, whether they voted for him or not. I just want to make it abundantly clear to hugo chavez or any other president, but do not come to the united states and banked because we had -- and think because we of problems with our president that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that americans do not feel offended when you offend our chief of state."
Quote has been corrected. Video is here.
Of course, all politics is local. Before the above quote, Rangel praised the Venezuelan government for its generosity in giving cheap oil to low-income folks in his District, and suggested America take a page from that playbook.
I've seen several news channels today doing segments on how much Americans are paying in tax money to supply a world stage and a disproportionate helping of legitimacy to Ahmadinejad and Chavez. Should Americans stand for funding a U.N. where things like this happen, they ask? Talk about an issue for Republicans. Thank you, Mr. Chavez.
Update: Stop the ACLU rounds up reaction to the Rangel comments, including the impact of his and, now Pelosi's repudiations on their party's November chances-- not that they were thinking about that at all when they spoke up.