President had the gift of gab


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was a garrulous public speaker whose words enchanted followers and angered foes. Here are some memorable phrases:

“Comrades, regrettably, for now the goals we set were not achieved.”

— On Feb. 4, 1992, when the then-lieutenant colonel took responsibility for the failure of a coup against Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez.

“Marisabel, tonight I will give you what is yours.”

— On Feb. 14, 2000, to his wife, Marisabel, whom he later divorced.

“Cuba is the sea of happiness. That’s where Venezuela is going.”

— On March 8, 2000, as he received Cuban volunteer workers. Cuba’s ex-leader, Fidel Castro, was a key ally of Chavez, who regarded him as “a father.”

“ALCA, ALCA . . . al carajo (Go to hell)!”

— On Nov. 4, 2005, during the Summit of the Americas as he opposed the creation of the U.S.-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas, known by the Spanish acronym ALCA.

“You are a donkey, Mr. Danger.”

— On March 19, 2006, in his weekly television show “Hello President,” referring to then-U.S. President George W. Bush, whom he also described as “a coward,” “a killer,” “a (perpetrator of) genocide” and “a drunk.”

“Yesterday, the devil was here. Right here, and it still smells of sulfur.”

— On Sept. 20, 2006, in a speech to the U.N., again referring to Bush, who had addressed the assembly a day earlier.

“Don’t mess with me, Condoleezza. Don’t mess with me, girl.”

— On Feb. 19, 2006, responding to then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who days earlier had slammed Venezuela as a threat to regional democracy and a “sidekick” of Iran.

“Go to hell, shitty Yankees!”

— On Sept. 11, 2008, during a fiery speech as he expelled the U.S. ambassador in solidarity with Bolivia, which had earlier taken similar action.

“We will live and will win!”

— On June 30, 2011, after he was diagnosed with cancer, dropping his gloomier slogan: “Socialist fatherland or death.”

“You have a pig’s tail, a pig’s ears, and you snort like a pig. You are a pig.”

— On Feb. 16, 2012, to opposition rival Henrique Capriles before the October presidential election.

“Give me your crown of thorns, Christ, give it to me, so that I bleed; give me your cross, 100 crosses, and I will carry them for you. But give me life, because I still have things to do for my people and my country. Don’t take me yet.”

— In April 2012, during a Mass for his health during cancer treatment.

“Choose Maduro as president of the republic. I am asking you this from all my heart.”

— On Dec. 8, 2012, urging countrymen to vote for Vice President Nicolas Maduro in the next election.