Published December 18, 2009
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he "still" smelled sulfur after President Obama made a keynote speech at the Copenhagen climate conference Friday, accusing the American president of carrying the same satanic scent that Chavez believes followed Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush.
Chavez, who was not included on the original list of speakers for the final day of the summit, ended the proceedings with bitter references to the Peace Prize-winning Obama as the "Nobel Prize of War."
"The Nobel Prize of War just finished saying here that he is here to act. Well, show it sir. Don't leave by the back door," he said.
Three years after Chavez likened Bush to the devil during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the socialist strongman tore into Obama, claiming Friday that "it still smells like sulfur in the world."
Assembled world leaders cheered on Chavez Wednesday during his first, scheduled speech, a ringing attack on all things capitalist that earned him standing ovations from leaders of the Third World.
Chavez berated developed nations for creating an "imperial dictatorship" that rules the world and urging his audience to "fight against capitalism," the "silent and terrible ghost" that was haunting the elegant conference chambers in the Danish capital.
"I promise I won't talk more than others have talked this afternoon," he said at the start of a rambling, 25-minute diatribe that outshot other speakers by a full 20 minutes. In the wide-ranging speech, he called capitalism the "road to hell" responsible for poverty, murder, AIDS — and even unfair climate agreements, the Toronto Star reported.
Calling on spiritual leaders as varied as Jesus, Muhammad and Karl Marx, Chavez bellowed that climate discussions were going on behind closed doors and draft agreements remained "top secret."
"The text presented is not democratic or inclusive," said Chavez, who has made it a practice in his native Venezuela to close opposition newspapers, radio stations and TV networks, and jails dissident politicians on spurious charges.
"It's not democratic, it's not inclusive. Well, ladies and gentlemen, isn't that the reality of the world? Are we really in a democratic world?"
Chavez regularly regales a captive audience of millions of Venezuelans on his weekly "Alo Presidente" talk shows, the marathon TV and radio sessions that give him space to rail against the bourgeoisie, excoriate the U.S. and even sing a ballad when the mood strikes.
By comparison, his Copenhagen screeds were brief, but were certainly gobbled up by many delegates in attendance who let out a nervous laugh as he attacked President Obama.
But the commandante did manage to address climate change itself, warning of the dangers posed by the failure to rein in carbon emissions and give aid to the Third World.
"If we don't do this, then the great creation of our planet — humans — will disappear," he said. "It doesn't need us, but we can't exist without it. We're destroying it," he said — destroying mother earth."
Obama arrived in Copenhagen Friday with a large American delegation in tow, hoping to pressure China and other nations into accepting a global framework for combating climate change.
Obama and an estimated 120 world leaders converged on the city in hopes of saving the long-awaited summit from ruin by hammering out a framework deal in its closing hours. But the stormy two-week conference was marred to the end by flare-ups between the developed world and developing nations.
Fox News' Daniela Sicuranza contributed to this report.