Chavez launches new attack on Merkel

Chavez launches new attack on Merkel
Chávez and Sócrates visit an oil field on May 14. Photo: DPA
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez launched a fresh attack on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying she was "throwing stones" without any provocation.

Visiting an oil field in the central state of Guaricó with Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates, Chávez said he had discussed Merkel over the telephone on Wednesday with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

“He told me he was about to receive the German chancellor. And I said, ‘Please give her my regards.’ She comes here and throws stones; I don’t know why some European heads of state come here to meet with us but start throwing stones before they even arrive,” Chávez said.

The spat between the populist Venezuelan leader and the German chancellor began over the weekend after Merkel said leftist Chávez does not speak for all of Latin America. Chávez, known for his incendiary commentary on state leaders, fired back on Sunday by calling Merkel a political descendent of Adolf Hitler.

Chávez said that Merkel, a Christian Democrat, is part of the political right wing, “the same right that supported Hitler and fascism.”

Merkel largely brushed off the comment before beginning her first state visit to Latin America on Wednesday. A spokesman said on Monday that Chávez’s remarks spoke for themselves.

The Venezuelan foreign ministry in Caracas said in a communique that the German government’s commentary was “unfriendly” and that Berlin should accord Caracas more respect and refrain from getting involved in its internal affairs.

Reuters reported that Merkel continued to avoid responding directly to Chávez on Wednesday.

“President Lula can relax; I can look after myself,” Merkel said, according to Reuters, after reporters asked whether she would ask the Brazilian president to intervene.