Thursday, June 16, 2005
On this day:

Hot-Air Hugo

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has more in common with his buddy Fidel Castro than I thought.
Left-winger Chavez, who has ruled the world's No. 5 oil exporter for more than six years, has a reputation for delivering marathon televised speeches in which he sometimes talks for five hours or more...

Critics say his broadcasts are excessive and accuse him of developing a personality cult. They say he is following the example of his friend and ally, Cuban President Fidel Castro, another famous public orator.

Chavez's appearances are transmitted by Venezuelan state television and radio but the government can oblige all national TV and radio stations to carry the presidential broadcasts -- a power it frequently uses.