Beneath the blistering anti-American rhetoric and typical tough guy act, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez seems to have nursed a soft spot for American counterpart Barack Obama over the past few months.
In his latest display of charm, Chavez applauded Obama’s handling of Clint Eastwood’s 'invisible Obama' one-man show at the GOP convention last week, calling it “classy” and “wise”.
“Obama received harsh criticism from Clint Eastwood, who is a great actor but a man of the right, he always has been,” Chavez told a group of reporters on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.
“Obama’s response was very wise,” Chavez added, referring to a USA Today interview, in which Obama said he has no hard feelings about the actor's skit and is very much still a “huge Clint Eastwood fan.”
Acclaimed actor Clint Eastwood raised eyebrows on August 30 after lambasting an imaginary Obama in an empty chair during a 12-minute speech to the Republican National Convention in Florida.
Chavez’ growing love for Obama first came to attention in July, when the socialist leader said that “deep down [Obama] is a good guy, if you remove him from the context of being president of an empire," the Daily News reported.
Despite the recent displays of affection, Chavez has not always been as welcoming towards his American counterpart. CNN reported that in January, Chavez stressed that he was determined to take a stand against the "imperial insanity" of the United States, which he said posed a great "threat for the world."
And last December, the socialist leader called Obama a “clown” for criticizing Venezuela’s close relations with Iran and Cuba. "Now you want to win votes by attacking Venezuela,” Chavez said, according to Guardian. “Don't be irresponsible. You are a clown, a clown. Leave us in peace.”
After more than a decade in office, 58-year-old Chavez is vying for a new six-year presidential term on October 7, a month before the U.S. elections.