We love our neighbors across the Gulf. Like bright, beautiful, nonsensical birds, they make the jail cells of our daily lives that much more colorful. Take their politicians.
While Barack Obama is er-umming about the deficit, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is disinterring a 200-year-old corpse and weeping about it, all while tweeting like a teenage girl. But as bizarre as that was, it doesn't hold an arepa to some of the craziest things he and other Latin American leaders have said.
• Pork: Better Than Viagra: Argentine President Cristina Kirchner may have legalized gay marriage, but she still says some crazy crap. "Pork consumption improves sexual activity," she announced in January. "Besides, some nicely grilled pork is much more gratifying than taking Viagra." Added Kirchner: "I'm a pork fanatic, and I'm not saying this just to impress you or for self-promotion."
Latin American politicians
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• Chicken Makes You Gay... and Bald: Sticking with food-related insanity, Bolivia's Evo Morales swears that hormone-injected chicken is making Europeans go bald and listen to Enrique Iglesias. "Because of that, men who consume them have problems being men," Morales asserted. He then blamed the chicken for Westerners' receding hairlines: "Baldness, which seems normal, is a sickness in Europe," he said. "Almost everyone is bald. And that's because of what they eat."
• Blue-Eyed Devils: Last year, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva blamed gringos for the financial meltdown. "It is a crisis caused and encouraged by the irrational behavior of white people with blue eyes," he said. Though Riptide admits he's probably right, Lula's logic was a little off. "I do not know any black or indigenous bankers," he argued.
• Sea of Flames: Earlier this summer, a cranky, plaid-shirted Fidel Castro made his first TV appearance in two years to warn that North Korea could soon be a "sea of flames" if Obama gets his way. "The empire is at the point of committing a terrible error that nobody can stop. It advances inexorably toward a sinister fate," he wrote July 5, warning that war would begin before the World Cup ended. World Cup 1, Castro 0.
• Yanqui Panky: No list would be complete without Chávez. According to Christopher Hitchens, Hugo insisted that no American media could be trusted. "There is film of the Americans landing on the moon," he said. "Does that mean the moon shot really happened? In the film, the Yanqui flag is flying straight out. So, is there wind on the moon?"