your connection to The Boston Globe

At UN, Chavez causes rumble in fiery condemnation of US

UNITED NATIONS -- President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has taken on the mantle of the bad boy of UN summitry, winning plaudits from Third World envoys for bashing the United States, and rattling UN officials by questioning the legitimacy of this week's summit of world leaders.

Chavez's appearance on the world stage here last week echoed his mentor Fidel Castro's historic 1960 debut address before the General Assembly, complete with a fiery condemnation of US imperialism and planned side trips this weekend to a Harlem church and community groups in the Bronx.

Chavez generated the loudest burst of applause for a world leader at the summit with his unbridled attack on what he characterized as US militarism and capitalism. He even offered a proposal to move the United Nations to Jerusalem or a city in the developing world.

He had threatened to disrupt plans by the 191-member General Assembly to formally endorse -- by consensus and without a recorded vote -- a 35-page agreement calling on governments to combat poverty and terrorism and promote human rights and democracy.

The pact had been agreed upon in principle by 189 nations on Tuesday, with Venezuela and Cuba registering protests on grounds that they were excluded from a group of about 30 nations that crafted the final deal.

But after meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Chavez dropped his threat to force a vote on the declaration, a maneuver that would have allowed governments to abstain or oppose the agreement.

In his address Thursday, Chavez railed against the Bush administration for what he said was a failure to protect residents of New Orleans. He also accused the United States of abetting ''international terrorism" by not arresting television evangelist Pat Robertson for suggesting that the United States should consider assassinating Chavez.

''The only place where a person can ask for another head of state to be assassinated is the United States, which is what happened recently with the Rev. Pat Robertson, a very close friend of the White House," Chavez said. ''He publicly asked for my assassination, and he's still walking the streets."

Chavez, passing the five-minute limit for speakers, grew irritated when a UN official slipped him a note requesting that he wrap it up. ''I think the president of the United States spoke for 20 minutes here yesterday," he said. ''I would ask your indulgence to let me finish my statement."

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives