Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez died Tuesday of a massive heart attack while battling cancer.
Though Chavez’s exit may be a good thing for the people of Venezuela and the free world, for journalists looking for color and juicy quotes from the international scene, it’s bad for business.
But even though Chavez is gone, it doesn’t mean his words won’t live on. Here are 13 Chavez statements — crazy, conspiratorial and sometimes bigoted — that we will not soon forget.
13.) Being condescending to Sarah Palin in 2008: “The poor thing, you have to feel sorry for her. … [Palin is] a beauty queen that they’ve put in the role of a figurine.”
12.) Knocking Charlie Sheen in 2011: “Contrary to reports, Charlie Sheen is not welcome in Venezuela. There are limits.”
11.) Comparing Hitler favorably to George. W Bush in 2006: “The imperialist, genocidal, fascist attitude of the US president has no limits. I think Hitler would be like a suckling baby next to George W Bush.”
10.) Praising brutal Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe in 2004: “I give you a replica of liberator Simon Bolivar’s sword. For you who, like Bolivar, took up arms to liberate your people. For you who, like Bolivar, are and will always be a true freedom fighter. [Mugabe] continues, alongside his people, to confront the pretensions of new imperialists.”
9.) Spouting ostensibly anti-Semitic rhetoric in 2005: “The world has an offer for everybody but it turned out that a few minorities — the descendants of those who crucified Christ, the descendants of those who expelled Bolivar from here and also those who in a certain way crucified him in Santa Marta, there in Colombia — they took possession of the riches of the world, a minority took possession of the planet’s gold, the silver, the minerals, the water, the good lands, the oil, and they have concentrated all the riches in the hands of a few; less than 10 percent of the world population owns more than half of the riches of the world.”
8.) Courageously standing up to the scourge of Halloween in 2005: “What they have implanted here, which is really a ‘gringo’ custom, is terrorism. They disguise children as witches and wizards, that is contrary to our culture.”
7.) Attacking George W. Bush on Venezuelan television in 2006: “You messed up with me, birdie. No? You don’t know much about history. You don’t know much about anything, you know? A great ignorance is what you’ve got. You are ignorant, Mr. Danger. You are an ignorant. You are a donkey, Mr. Danger. … The worst of this planet, the very worst is called George. W. Bush.”
6.) Comparing Israel to Nazis during Israel-Lebanon war in 2006: “Israel has gone mad. It’s attacking, doing the same thing to the Palestinian and Lebanese people that they have criticized – and with reason – the Holocaust. But this is a new Holocaust.”
5.) Attacking George W. Bush at the United Nations in 2006: “The Devil is right at home. The Devil, the Devil himself, is right in the house. And the Devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the Devil came here. Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today. This table I am now standing in front of. Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the Devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.”
4.) Mourning Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s death in 2011: “We shall remember Gaddafi our whole lives as a great fighter, a revolutionary and a martyr.”
3.) Suggesting U.S. was possibly infecting world leaders with cancer, including himself, in 2011: “Would it be so strange that they’ve invented technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?”
2.) Postulating that capitalism and imperialism may have killed life on Mars in 2011: “I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and finished off the planet.”
1.) Giving credence to 9/11 conspiracies in 2006: “The hypothesis is not absurd … that those towers could have been dynamited. A building never collapses like that, unless it’s with an implosion. … The hypothesis that is gaining strength … is that it was the same U.S. imperial power that planned and carried out this terrible terrorist attack or act against its own people and against citizens of all over the world.”