South America's Biggest Movie Star, Hugo Chávez, Accuses Israel of Genocide

Oliver Stone predicts he'll have a hard time finding distribution for his latest documentary, South of the Border, a cinematic love letter to Venezuela's controversial president, Hugo Chávez.  

"This is a bigger issue than Mr. Chávez and South America," Stone tells Reuters. "Not only is there a revolution there, but there is this issue in America of constantly seeking out enemies, whether they be in Vietnam, whether they be in Iraq... or whether they be in Iran."

That might or might not be true, but Chávez openly plays the part of American antagonist and rabble-rouser with glee. It takes two to tango, and if Mr. Stone really wants to see a less sensational, hostile relationship between the Unites States and South America's leftist-leaning rulers, he might begin by tapping his new friend Chávez on the shoulder and telling him to reconsider his words once in a while. 

First, Chávez stops by Belarus during his current tour of the Middle East and opens with: "I bring you greetings from the Axis of Evil." Oh man, Hugo, even the worst late-night hosts stopped making Axis of Evil jokes years ago. 

Then, in an interview with a French newspaper, Chávez, with no humor intended, accuses Israel of genocide. 

"The question is not whether the Israelis want to exterminate the Palestinians. They're doing it openly," he was quoted as saying in an interview with the French newspaper, Le Figaro.  

"What was it, if not genocide?... The Israelis were looking for an excuse to exterminate the Palestinians."

Like all armed conflicts, both Hamas and Israel's action leading up to and including the 22-day Gaza War last winter are open to criticism and honest discussion, but throwing a term such as genocide, especially in relation to the state of Israel, is just needless controversy-mongering.

As for President Obama (who in some circles this week has been ridiculously compared to Chávez for telling kids to stay in school), Chávez said, "Sadly, the arrival of Obama brought with it a lot of hope, but little change."

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