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Chavez Says 'King of Vacations' Let His Country Down

The Venezuelan President said he wanted to help Americans in the Gulf Coast disaster zone, but he had little kind to say about their leader, George W. Bush. According to this article from Venezuela's El Universal, Chavez suggested that the U.S. adopt Cuba's emergency response program.

Sept 1, 2005

Original Article (Spanish)    

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez criticized his American counterpart George W. Bush and called him "the king of the vacations" for not having prepared a plan of evacuation for the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

"It was known for as many as four days that Hurricane Katrina was going to arrive, and that man (Bush), the king of the vacations, stayed on his ranch and said nothing except: It is necessary to flee, with no mention of how. That cowboy the cowboy mentality," Chevez said during a live broadcast during a meeting with governors in Caracas.

Chavez described it as "incredible that the greatest power in the world, with its airplanes, helicopters, methods of communication, and advanced scientific capabilities had no evacuation plan."

He stressed that the affected area "is one of the poorest communities in the U.S.A., the majority are black, are field workers or small producers."

The Reverend Jesse Jackson in Venezuela Last Week to Sooth President Hugo Chavez After Pat Robertson's Comments.
—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Many In Disaster Zone Remain Stranded, Desperate and Alone, Sept. 4, 00:06:38

Chavez said, "We feel the pain and are in solidarity with those affected by Katrina, and he added that his government has made available to the United States emergency rescue workers. "We have prepared a battalion from our Humanitarian Brigade to go if they authorize us. If they give us the green light, we have the airplanes ready," pointed President Chavez.

The Chief of State suggested to Washington that it copy Cubas evacuation plans, where, he said, they mobilize 2 million people before every meteorological event, which is why there is "almost never any loss of human life."

He said that Citgo, the U.S. branch of Venezuelas State oil company (PDVSA), is prepared to give more, after he announced the donation of $1 million to rescue groups.

Chavez said that the president of Citgo traveled to its refinery in Lake Charles, to coordinate assistance to 2,000 victims and to see to the possibility of donating fuel to hospitals and helping with transport.

The North American Department of State had not yet been informed Venezuelas offer of fuel aid, said State Department spokesman McCormack.

The Venezuelan Embassy in the U.S.A. can be contacted at telephone numbers 202-342-2214 and 202-342-5317, and can be reached by the e-mail at: emergencia@embavenez-us.org and consular@embavenez-us.org.

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