In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV that aired on August 4, 2006, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expressed his solidarity with the entire Arab people on the occasion of his birthday, stating that his heart "beat along with millions of Arab hearts." He goes on to talk about how Israel is "doing what Hitler did to the Jews," how the U.S. is "like Count Dracula - always in search of blood and petrol," how Nasser was "one of the greatest people in Arab history," and how Al-Jazeera plays "a role in liberating the world."
The following are excerpts from the interview.
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"I Have Crossed Deserts, I Have Ridden Camels, and I Have Sung Along With the Bedouin"
Hugo Chavez: "I want to congratulate the people of Qatar, and its leader, my friend and brother, Prince Hamad. From this pulpit, I send my brotherly congratulations to the entire Arab people. I'm celebrating my birthday in the heart of the Arab homeland, on Arab land. What a happy coincidence! My heart beats along with millions of Arab hearts. I could have been an Arab. I have crossed deserts, I have ridden camels, and I have sung along with the Bedouin. I have learned in those years to love and respect the Arab people."
Israel's Aggression is "Perpetrated in the Manner of Hitler"
"We feel that the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians and against Lebanon is directed against us too. This aggression is unjustified. It is perpetrated in the fascist manner of Hitler. Israel is justified in criticizing Hitler and his aggression - and we criticize this as well - but now they are doing what Hitler did to the Jews. They are killing innocent children and whole families. They dismantled the legitimate government of Palestine, and thwarted tremendous efforts to achieve peace and establish a Palestinian state.
"Now they are attacking Lebanon, and have destroyed more than half of it, according to the latest information. They have assassinated hundreds of innocent people, and to what end? There is no justification for this. I am telling you with all honesty that the hand of the Americans is spurring them on. This hand is behind the Israeli aggression. It is imperialistic aggression. The real threat to the world is the imperialistic threat posed by the U.S., and Israel is one of its imperialistic instruments in this part of the world."
"On this day, as I am celebrating my birthday, I demand, on behalf of the people of Venezuela, that Israel withdraws from the land of Palestine and from Lebanon. There must be an immediate cease-fire. We must give room for diplomacy, and respect law and human rights. We cannot go back to living in caves. This will be terrible for the future of humanity."
"Once again, the mask has fallen from the Satanic imperialistic face of the U.S. They used their veto to prevent the Security Council from activating the mechanism of the U.N. in order to put an end to this aggression."
The U.S. is "Like Count Dracula - Always in Search of Petrol and Blood"
Interviewer: "Mr. President, could this lead us to say, as has been claimed, that this is an American war by proxy, rather than an Israeli war against Lebanon and Palestine?"
Hugo Chavez: "Yes, I have no doubt about this."
"In 50 years, the U.S. consumed the energy consumed by humanity in 150 years. Now, they are working to take control of the petroleum of the peoples, in order to consume it, just like Dracula. They are like Count Dracula - always in search of petrol and blood. Why? Because they want to preserve something transient - the American imperialistic way of life."
"The American Empire is the No. 1 Enemy in the Way of the Kingdom of Peace and Justice"
"In all honesty, I say that it is the U.S. that should formulate a plan for post-imperialism. American society cannot and should not come to an end, but the imperialism of the fascist elite will. We must defeat imperialism in this century, so that this elite will not annihilate the world. Either we succeed in 1,000 different ways to end imperialism, or else imperialism will use 1,000 different ways to annihilate the world. This would constitute the end of mankind, the end of our hopes. Jesus Christ called on us to live in the Kingdom of Peace, but there can be no peace without freedom. I'm a Christian, and I believe that Jesus came to announce to us the coming of the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of God is peace, equality, and justice. The American empire is the number one enemy in the way of the Kingdom of Peace and Justice."
"How can this be achieved? The answer has to do with the strategy that will allow us to reach our goal - reaching what Jesus called the Kingdom of Heaven. How? This can be done in a multi-polar world. The answer is that we must create a multi-polar world. This is the spirit of the foreign policy of Venezuela, my dear friend and brother, Muhammad."
"Nasser was One of the Greatest People of Arab History"
"Someone talked to me about his pessimism regarding the future of Arab nationalism. I told him I was optimistic, because the ideas of Nasser are still alive. Nasser was one of the greatest people of Arab history, to say the least; I am a Nasserist, ever since I was a young soldier."
"My Heart is With Al-Jazeera and its Media People... You Have a Role in Liberating the World"
"Whenever I meet an Al-Jazeera reporter, I feel like giving him an interview or a statement. Allow me to say to the Al-Jazeera staff that I am amazed by them. As someone who fights for a just world, it is an honor for me to be here, and to sit across from you in these studios, and among these colleagues and brothers in Al-Jazeera. I say to the media people I have met here, and with some of whom I shook hands, that you are an example and a model of honor, bravery, and the fight for justice. You are committed to the code of journalistic work, and to the breaking of the monopoly over the media, and the distortion of the truth, despite all the pressure."
"My heart is with Al-Jazeera and with its media people, its employees, and its workers. You should continue to serve as an example, and present the truth to the world, because the truth is that you have a role in liberating the world."