Chavez says nobody can be allowed to call him a tyrant

CARACAS, July 22, 2007 (AFP) – Venezuela’s fiery socialist President Hugo Chavez on Sunday vowed to kick out foreigners who brand him a “tyrant,” after a Mexican politician spoke at a forum here on sensitive democracy issues. “No foreigner can come here to attack us. Anyone who does must be removed from this country,” Chavez said on his Sunday television and radio broadcast, “Hello, President.”

“It cannot be allowed — it is a question of national dignity,” he added.

Chavez did not name names, but his comments came on the same weekend that Manuel Espino, president of Mexico’s National Action Party, visited Caracas and spoke at a conference on democracy and freedom of expression.

Espino accused Chavez of seeking to extend his rule indefinitely through his proposed constitutional reforms.

“I am talking about gentlemen who come to give conferences … and say openly on television that we are in a dictatorship and that Chavez is a tyrant,” the president said.

“That simply cannot be allowed to continue.” In June, a high-profile Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon, also took heavy fire from the government for sensitive remarks he made to a business forum.