Included among his conspiratorial messages was the allegation that "Zionists" are goading the United States into "a military offensive against Libya," whose leader, Muammar Qaddafi, he praised as "my brother" and "my friend."
"President Obama, if you allow the Zionists to push you, to mount a military offensive against Qaddafi and you go in and kill him and his sons as you did with Saddam Hussein and his sons, I'm warning you this is a Libyan problem, let the Libyans solve their problem among themselves."
Further update on Chavez (3/1/11 at 7:02 pm): An Al Jazeera blog by Imran Garda has Chavez's latest comments on Libya:
As my colleague Gabriel Elizondo recently pointed out, tiny Nicaragua has rushed to show solidarity with the man who has given it over $300 million and who still claims, “they love me, all my people are with me” despite losing almost every town and city in his country barring the capital, to the protesters. Protesters - he claims - who are being drugged by “Osama bin Laden” who has put “things in their Nescafe.” Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega said Gaddafi is "waging a great battle" for his country.
Prior to February 28 there was still room for doubt as to the extent of Hugo Chavez’s support for Gaddafi. He had refused to openly weigh in on the issue, and the only evidence for his support had been a tweet of his saying “…viva Libya and its independence! Kadafi is facing a civil war!!”
Even that was open to interpretation. However, his latest take on the crisis has been unequivocal, "A campaign of lies is being spun together regarding Libya...I'm not going to condemn him. I'd be a coward to condemn someone who has been my friend."....
But the man who models himself on Latin America’s liberator Simon Bolivar, and projects himself as an heir to his legacy (and sometimes to Fidel Castro’s) - is finding himself in a changing world.
He may see himself as a leader of the global “Left” - but what left is he claiming to lead?
The enemy-of-my-enemy “Left”, of hollow, mud-slinging slogans, in support of anything or anyone who claims to oppose imperialism in all its forms in this Yankee-dominated world, no matter how monstrous his policies?
Or a principled “Left” based on respecting the values entrenched in the universal declaration of human rights, democracy and most importantly, the “Left” which places its support squarely on the part of the people tormented, rather than their tormentor.
Chavez’s open support for Gaddafi (who he presented with a replica of one of Bolivar’s swords in 2009) despite his outrageous disregard for his own people, disturbing intent to “open the arms depots” and let his country “burn,” rather than listen to the demands of Libyans, at this crucial point in the history of the region - sounds vacuous and adolescent.Update (2/26/11 at 4:00 pm): Although I would hardly call him a leftist, Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (who received Qaddafi's farcical human rights award in 2010) thinks it's all about Libya's oil, and that the UN should not impose sanctions.
In fact, it’s starting to sound like he’s been drinking some of that hallucinogenic Nescafe that Gaddafi was talking about...
"You cannot secure world peace by resorting to sanctions in each and every incident. We call on the international community to approach Libya not with concerns about oil but with conscience, justice and universal human values," Erdogan said. In an apparent reference to Western interests in oil-rich Libya, he said the region's people "are fed up with being used as pawns in oil wars".Update (2/24/11 at 11:04 pm): Chavez has now come out in support of Qaddafi. The report is from Al Jazeera's live blog on Libya:
5:01am: Venezuela's top diplomat on Thursday echoed Fidel Castro's accusation that Washington is fomenting unrest in Libya to justify an invasion to seize North African nation's oil reserves.
Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister said:They are creating conditions to justify an invasion of Libya.4:27am: Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, has backed Muammar Gaddafi on Twitter. Chavez twitted:
Original Post, 2/22/11 So, who is supporting Qaddafi these days?Gaddafi is facing a civil war.
Long live Libya. Long live the independence of Libya
The protests sweeping across Libya have created challenges for the Latin American allies of Moammar Gadhafi. Leftist governments in the Americas have long embraced him as a fellow fighter against U.S. influence in the world. Gadhafi has responded over the years by awarding the Moammar Gadhafi International Human Rights Prize [sic!] to Castro and Ortega, as well as to Presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, [and] Evo Morales of Bolivia.1. Nicaragua president Daniel Ortega called Gaddafi to express support.
Nicaragua's leftist President Daniel Ortega says he has telephoned Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to express his solidarity. Ortega says he has called several times this week because Gadhafi "is again waging a great battle" to defend the unity of his nation.To my embarrassment now, in the 1980s I was one of the defenders of Ortega and the Sandinistas when they ruled Nicaragua.
2. Fidel Castro, who says that "unrest in Libya may be a pretext for a NATO invasion."
European governments and U.S. leaders have denounced the crackdown, but Castro used a column published Tuesday by Cuban state news media to say it was too early to criticize Gadhafi. "You can agree or not with Gadhafi," Castro said. "The world has been invaded by all sorts of news ... We have to wait the necessary time to know with rigor how much is fact or lie."
But he did urge protests of something he says is planned: A U.S.-led invasion of the North African nation aimed at controlling its oil. "The government of the United States is not concerned at all about peace in Libya and it will not hesitate to give NATO the order to invade that rich country, perhaps in a question of hours or very short days," Castro wrote. "An honest person will always be against any injustice committed against any people in the world," Castro said. "And the worst of those at this instant would be to keep silent before the crime that NATO is preparing to commit against the Libyan people."3. And what about Hugo Chavez?
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, on the other hand, has stayed mute. Bolivia came closest to criticizing the government in Tripoli, issuing a statement expressing concern over "the regrettable loss of many lives" and urging both sides to find a peaceful solution....
While Chavez has not commented publicly on the unrest in Libya, Venezuela's foreign minister issued a statement Monday saying he had phoned his Libyan counterpart to express hopes that Libya can find "a peaceful solution to its difficulties ... without the intervention of imperialism, whose interests in the region have been affected in recent times."....
Others [Venezuelan opponents of Chavez] said Chavez's silence suggests he might be trying to distance himself from his North African friend. The two leaders have had such warm ties that on Monday, rumors swept the world that Gadhafi was fleeing to Venezuela. Gadhafi took to television to deny them.
"Our garrulous president is keeping a thunderous silence," the director of the newspaper Tal Cual, Teodoro Petkoff, wrote in an editorial. "Now that the democratic rebellion has reached Libya, Chavez is looking the other way and even abandoning his disgraced 'brother.'"