Monday, April 10, 2006

HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, CHAVEZ STYLE

After his car was pelted with eggs and fruit and chased by motorcyclists who pounded on it for miles whilst the police apparently did nothing, US Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield has been given the full support of Hugo Chavez - he's warned him to stop provoking the locals by handing out sports equipment to impoverished kids.

If his insolence continues, Chavez has promised to give him the boot. How very understanding.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has threatened to expel the US ambassador to the country after accusing him of "provoking" a recent demonstration.

Last week ambassador William Brownfield's convoy was pelted with eggs, onions and tomatoes and chased by supporters of the president.

The US accused officials in the capital Caracas of condoning the attack, but the mayor's office has denied this.

Mr Chavez told Mr Brownfield to "start packing" before he "kicks him out".

"I'm going to throw you out of Venezuela if you continue provoking the Venezuelan people," Mr Chavez said in a nationally televised speech.


President Chavez said Mr Brownfield was partially responsible for the incident because he failed to advise the local authorities or the foreign ministry of his travel plans.

Mr Brownfield was visiting a low-income neighbourhood in Caracas to donate baseball equipment to underprivileged children.
I understand it's wise for parents to be wary of their children accepting gifts from strange men in posh cars but from the footage I've seen, the American Ambassador wasn't wearing a dodgy mac, didn't ask anyone to get into his motor and (as far as I know) hasn't got a musical background in glam rock, so I'm not entirely sure how he "provoked" this reaction.

Whether or not he "advise[d] the local authorities or the foreign ministry of his travel plans" has very little bearing on what happened next.

Once outside the confines of his car and in the business of giving out his baseball bats and gloves to the kids, he was also pelted with eggs and fruit, a phenomenon the L.A. Times sees fit to describe as "heckling."

From the Free Dictionary:
heck·le (hkl)
tr.v. heck·led, heck·ling, heck·les
1. To try to embarrass and annoy (someone speaking or performing in public) by questions, gibes, or objections; badger.
2. To comb (flax or hemp) with a hatchel.
Oh, Ambassador - with these baseball bats you are really spoiling us! Such provocation can only be met by us combing you over with our hatchels...

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