But he is also the man who has declared his eternal friendship with Libya’s Col. Gaddafi, Belorussian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, Iranian leader Ahmadinejad, Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe, Sandinista commandante Daniel Ortega, imprisoned terrorist Carlos the Jackal, Saddam Hussein and, of course, Fidel Castro. Amongst the gringo masses, this side of Chávez is rather less well-known. ~Michael Moynihan

I understand that there has to be an angle for articles to make them seem more interesting, and the author wants to present his material as if he were revealing something new and previously unknown to you, the audience, but are the “gringo masses” actually unfamiliar with Chavez’s list of friends, assuming they know anything about him at all?  If the gringos know anything about him, they will remember that Chavez called the President a “devil,” routinely visits Cuba and they may know that he has close ties to Morales in Bolivia.  The better-informed gringos will know of his support for Ortega and left-populist candidates around Latin America, and they will also know that there are alarmists in this country who want to make Hugo Chavez out to be one of the great threats of our time.  In fact, the odds are good that most Americans who have heard of Hugo Chavez regard him simply as another member of the ever-shifting list of officially approved enemies.  He probably has his liberal sympathisers (e.g., Danny Glover), but I would assume that Chavez, anti-American friend of Castro and Ahmadinejad and Master of Clock Changes, is much better known than Chavez, the “mildly buffoonish, if delightfully brave, left-wing populist.”

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