Chavez praises Carlos the Jackal

Hugo Chavez has defended the alleged terrorist mastermind Carlos the Jackal, saying the Venezuelan imprisoned in France was an important "revolutionary fighter" who supported the cause of the Palestinians.



The Venezuelan president praised Carlos — whose real name is Ilich Sanchez Ramirez — during a speech last night, saying: "I defend him. It doesn't matter to me what they say tomorrow in Europe."



Ramirez gained international notoriety during the 1970s and 80s as the alleged mastermind of a series of bombings, killings and hostage dramas. He is serving a life sentence in France for the 1975 murders of two French secret agents and an alleged informant.



"They accuse him of being a terrorist, but Carlos really was a revolutionary fighter," Chavez said during a televised speech to socialist politicians from various countries, who applauded.



In his speech, Chavez also sought to defend other leaders he said are wrongly labeled "bad boys" internationally, including Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Chavez called both of them brothers and said he now wonders whether Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was truly as brutal as he was reputed to be.



"We thought he was a cannibal," Chavez said, referring to Amin, whose regime was notorious for torturing and killing suspected opponents in the 1970s. "I have doubts. ... I don't know, maybe he was a great nationalist, a patriot."



Chavez has previously called Ramirez a friend, and a controversy erupted in 1999 after the leftist leader confirmed he had written a letter to him in prison, in response to a note from Ramirez.



Chavez's remarks on Friday were among his most strident in support of Ramirez. He said he believes Ramirez was unfairly convicted, and called him "one of the great fighters of the Palestine Liberation Organization" at the time.



Ramirez was captured in Sudan in 1994, and whisked in a sack to Paris by French agents. He was convicted three years later.



He is also accused of having a role in two 1982 bombings — on a Paris-Toulouse train and outside the Paris office of an Arab-language newspaper — and is suspected in two other train bombings on Dec. 31, 1983.



Chavez didn't refer to any of the accusations against Ramirez, but suggested the Venezuelan is paying a price for backing the Palestinians' cause — which Chavez also supports.



Venezuela broke off diplomatic ties with Israel in January to protest its military offensive in the Gaza Strip, and since then Chavez has often traded verbal barbs with Israeli officials.



On Friday, he protested remarks by Israeli President Shimon Peres, who predicted during a visit to Argentina that the people of Venezuela and Iran will make their leaders disappear before too long.



"Talking about Chavez, among other things he said he will soon disappear — just like that, which has different connotations," Chavez said. "Imagine if one of us said something similar talking about him or them — any of them, the 'good guys."'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn