Berlin Ignores Verbal Attack
Chavez Says Merkel a Political Descendant of Hitler
The German government has shrugged off a verbal attack on Chancellor Angela Merkel by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez who called her a political descendant of Adolf Hitler and stopped just short of telling her to go to hell. The two leaders might meet at an upcoming summit in Peru.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has joined a long list of government leaders to receive a verbal savaging from Venezuela's outspoken President Hugo Chavez, but she appears to be intent on ignoring the abuse.
Chavez, speaking on Sunday in his weekly TV and radio program, said of Merkel: "She is from the German right, the same that supported Hitler, that supported fascism, that's the Chancellor of Germany today."
"Ms. Chancellor, you can go to ..." said Chavez, before pausing. Then he added: "Because you are a lady, I won't say any more."
German deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg responded on Monday by saying that Merkel was looking forward to the upcoming summit of heads of state from Europe and Latin America in Peru on Friday. Regarding Chavez's comments, Steg said Merkel had "made her position clear" last week.
It was that position, voiced in an interview with the German news agency DPA, that appears to have provoked Chavez's outburst.
Merkel had told DPA: "President Chavez does not speak for Latin America. Every country has its own voice with which it pursues its own interests." She had also noted that Venezuelan voters had
rejected his push for wider powers in a referendum last December.
Chavez said he could confront Merkel about the statements if he attends the summit. Merkel will set off on Tuesday on her first trip to Latin America.
"Maybe I'll say something to her and she'll get mad and say 'why don't you shut up?'" he said, referencing Spanish King Juan Carlos' 2007 admonition of Chavez that touched off a bilateral dispute with Spain.
Chavez on Sunday also called Colombian President Alvaro Uribe a "liar" who "shouldn't even run a corner store."
Chavez once called United States President George W. Bush "the devil" at the United Nations General Assembly. He has also railed against other leaders including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Mexican President Vicente Fox.