Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died Tuesday at the age of 58, was a garrulous public speaker whose words enchanted followers and angered foes. Here are some memorable phrases:
— “Comrades, regrettably, for now the goals we set were not achieved.”
On February 4, 1992 when the then paratrooper lieutenant colonel took responsibility for the failure of a coup against Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez.
— “Marisabel, tonight I will give you what is yours.”
On February 14, 2000 to his wife Marisabel Rodriguez, whom he later divorced.
— “Cuba is the sea of happiness. That’s where Venezuela is going.”
On March 8, 2000 as he received Cuban volunteer workers. Cuba’s retired leader Fidel Castro was a key political ally of Chavez, who regarded him as “a father.”
— “ALCA, ALCA… al carajo (Go to hell)!”
On November 4, 2005 on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in the Argentina as he opposed the creation of the US-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas, known by the Spanish acronym ALCA.
— “You are a donkey, Mr Danger.”
On March 19, 2006 in his weekly television show “Hello President,” referring to then US president George W. Bush, whom he also described as “a coward,” “a killer,” “a (perpetrator of) genocide” and “a drunk.”
— “Yesterday, the devil was here. Right here, and it still smells of sulfur.”
On September 20, 2006 in a speech to the UN General Assembly again referring to Bush, who had addressed the assembly a day earlier.
— “Don’t mess with me, Condoleezza. Don’t mess with me, girl.”
On February 19, 2006, responding to then US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who days earlier had slammed Venezuela as a threat to regional democracy and a “sidekick” of Iran.
— “Go to hell, shitty Yankees!”
On September 11, 2008, during a fiery speech as he expelled the US ambassador in Caracas in solidarity with Bolivia, which had taken a similar action days earlier.
— “I want to be your friend.”
On April 18, 2009 to US President Barack Obama during the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.
— “We will live and will win!”
On June 30, 2011 after he was diagnosed with cancer, dropping his gloomier slogan: “Socialist fatherland or death.”
— “You have a pig’s tail, a pig’s ears, and you snort like a pig. You are a pig.”
On February 16, 2012 to opposition rival Henrique Capriles ahead of the October presidential election.
— “Give me your crown of thorns, Christ, give it to me, so that I bleed; Give me your cross, 100 crosses, and I will carry them for you. But give me life, because I still have things to do for my people and my country. Don’t take me yet.”
On April 5, 2012 during a mass for his health during cancer treatment.
— “Choose Maduro as president of the republic. I am asking you this from all my heart.”
On December 8, 2012 urging countrymen to vote for Vice President Nicolas Maduro in the next election should he become incapacitated as he revealed that he needed more cancer surgery.
— “We have arrived again to the Venezuelan motherland… Thank you, God. Thank you, my beloved people… I am holding on to Jesus Christ and trust my doctors and nurses… As always, see you in victory. We will live and we will win.”
On February 18 breaking a weeks-long period of silence to announce his return to Venezuela after a final trip to Cuba for treatment. CARACAS (AFP)