I was riding up the Euston Road, London, on a bike today (Sunday evening), when I bumped into President Chavez of Venezuela, coming out of a side door from Camden Town Hall.
He was very friendly, and let me take some very close up photographs, and he hung out on the street chatting for a lot longer than his minders, and the cops wanted him to.
The pictures are reasonably ok (considering they were taken with my mobile). As a picture can be worth a thousand insults (or the reverse), the close ups I got may be useful to those trying to work out what sort of person he really is.
My 'gut' impression meeting him was that he was very genuine - although it does look like he may have bad taste in some of his friends.
I thought his scheme to give cheap fuel to poor Americans was a stroke of genius.
But you can't always choose your supporters. Some of the 'SWP' types having multiple orgasms on the street for example, were an embarrasment to London - hopefully President Chavez realises we are not all like that.
Above: President Chaves of Venezuela in London today.
Above: Then he spots schmoo.
Above: President Chavez; every mouth counts and this one certainly seems to be helping to transform Latin America after generations of oppression and exploitation.
Above: President Chavez; speaking out to help change the world for the better after generations of oppression and exploitation.
Above: More mouths needed: President Chaves tells schmoo to keep on blogging ...
Above: President Chaves agrees that Bush is a neighbour from hell.
Above: Ex paratrooper President Chaves gets really pissed off with the noise Bush makes all the time.
Above: President Chaves says Bush should be evicted from the White House for anti social behaviour.
• Before arriving in London Chavez speaking in Vienna said that the 'final hours of the North American empire have arrived ... Now we have to say to the empire: "We're not afraid of you. You're a paper tiger."'
Referring to his supply of heating to poor American families last winter, Chavez told a meeting of political supporters: 'I'd like to do the same here in Europe.'
He was addressing an 'alternative summit' held alongside a three-day meeting of leaders from the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean in the Austrian capital. 'I want to humbly offer support to the poorest people who do not have resources for central heating in winter and make sure that support arrives,' he said.
* A Public meeting at Friends Meeting House tomorrow (Monday 15th) has been cancelled. Apparently the reason given is that too many people wanted to come, but we are checking it out, seems strange.
Above: President Chavez speaking at the meeting organised by London Mayor Ken Livingstone. (Picture by 'squince')
Above: President Chavez and Ken Livingstone (Thanks to 'squince' for sending in the pictures).
• Controversy is growing about the cancellation of the meeting at the Friends Meeting House - more soon when we work out what is going on.
• Interesting anti-chavez piece in the Sunday Times + Hugo Chavez isn’t Che Guevara + Chavez Offers Oil to Europe's Poor + Ken Livingstone on Chavez