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Cindy Sheehan: Chavez Great, Bush A Terrorist

Of course none of this is news, but it’s always amusing to see just how far Mother Sheehan will go to earn her paycheck.

(In case you missed it, Chavez paid for her services down there.)

From those America-haters at the French AFP:

Social forum wraps up in Caracas with Sheehan calling Bush a ‘terrorist’

CARACAS (AFP) – The six-day World Social Forum wrapped up in Caracas with US anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan calling President George W. Bush a "terrorist" during an event hosted by Venezuela’s leftist leader.

"By his own definition, he is a terrorist," said Sheehan, the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq, who gained notoriety for setting up a protest camp outside the US president’s Texas ranch last year.

"George W. Bush is responsible for killing tens of thousands of innocent people and his definition of a terrorist is someone who kills innocent women, men and children," she told other invited guests at the live broadcast of President Hugo Chavez’s weekly program.

Sheehan called for the impeachment of Bush whom she accused of "war crimes."

She was visibly moved as Chavez, clad in his trademark red shirt, put his arm around her, holding her close to him as he addressed jubilant supporters and delegates from the World Social Forum.

The forum brought together some 70,000 activists, mainly from around the Americas, for six days of debate on globalization, poverty and war, marked by virulent attacks on Bush and the Iraq war, but also by some concern over the dominant role played by Chavez and Cuban officials.

In downtown Caracas, where participants debated a plethora of issues, ranging from free trade and imperialism to the debt burden in Latin America, a banner covered four stories of a high-rise building with the words: "Bush lied, fire him."

Chavez was given rock star treatment by participants, who on Friday joined him in singing the socialist "International" and hailing Cuba’s communist President Fidel Castro.

And street vendors in the city center did brisk business selling Chavez memorabilia, such as talking dolls and wooden statuettes, pins, badges, T-shirts and posters.

Chavez projected himself as a leader of the world social movement designed as an ideological counterpoint to the Davos World Economic Summit of political and business leaders. He also warned against turning the forum into "a folkloric and touristic event."

Chavez opponents dismissed the whole thing as a gabfest dominated by archaic leftist ideals.

There were also grumblings within the forum, where some participants complained over the dominant role played by Chavez, and to a lesser degree by Cuba, which deployed an 800-strong state delegation to the non-governmental event.

"I’m very disappointed," said Cesario Ribero, a delegate from a Brazilian social movement. "Chavez took over the forum, it became very governmental and pushed aside the organizations," he said.

Olivier de Marcelus, 62, from a Swiss anti-globalization group, called the Venezuelan and Cuban state presence "a little invasive."

He said he understood Chavez represented a symbol of hope for many people in Latin America who seek political change, but warned against allowing governments and "old leftist projects" to take over the event.

"We need to concentrate on finding other avenues than the form of socialism that has been tried in eastern Europe and Cuba," said de Marcelus, a civil servant from Geneva.

He said, however, the get-together was a useful networking opportunity, particularly for small movements that seek to learn from the experience of others and gain support for their own cause.

Indigent Americans who traveled to Caracas with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign said they attended the forum to draw attention to their plight.

"We’re here to let people know how we are struggling," said Zenaide Cosme, 37, a homeless mother of five from Philadelphia.

"The United States is not the American dream people imagine," she said, as a nearby speaker drew loud cheers by proclaiming: "we need a Hugo Chavez in the United States."

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Sunday, January 29th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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