Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Venezuela's potty-mouth President

In an expletive-laden speech in September, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez — irate over U.S. officials' charges that cocaine trafficking through his country has surged in recent years — accused Washington of backing an alleged plot to overthrow him and ordered the U.S. ambassador to leave the country. "Go to hell a hundred times, f***ing Yankees," he said at a rally, according to a translation by the London Guardian. In a considerably less colorful riposte, the State Department promptly declared the Venezuelan ambassador "persona non grata." And the tiff, combined with Chavez's threats to cut off oil shipments to the U.S., brought diplomatic relations between the countries to a new low. Chávez has indicated the situation could improve under an Obama administration, which means the President-elect has some tricky diplomacy to look forward to.