Chavez calls Obama ‘ignoramus’

CARACAS, (Reuters) – Venezuela’s President Hugo  Chavez said yesterday his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama was at  best an “ignoramus” for saying the socialist leader exported  terrorism and obstructed progress in Latin America.

“He goes and accuses me of exporting terrorism: the least I  can say is that he’s a poor ignoramus; he should read and study  a little to understand reality,” said Chavez, who heads a group  of left-wing Latin American leaders opposed to the U.S.  influence in the region.

Chavez said Obama’s comments had made him change his mind  about sending a new ambassador to Washington, after he withdrew the previous envoy in a dispute last year with the Bush  administration in which he also expelled the U.S. ambassador to  Venezuela.

“When I saw Obama saying what he said, I put the decision  back in the drawer; let’s wait and see,” Chavez said on his  weekly television show, adding he had wanted to send a new  ambassador to improve relations with the United States after  the departure of George W. Bush as president.

In a January interview with Spanish-language U.S. network  Univision, Obama said Chavez had hindered progress in Latin  America, accusing him of exporting terrorist activities and  supporting Colombian guerrillas.

“My, what ignorance; the real obstacle to development in  Latin America has been the empire that you today preside over,”  said Chavez, who is a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy. In the 20th century the United States supported several  armed movements and coups in Latin America. Chavez says  Washington had a hand in a short-lived putsch against him in  2002, which was initially welcomed by U.S. officials.

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