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"Obama, I hope you land in Maiquet?a some day. We would welcome you"

President Chávez, Responding to Obama’s Joke

“Obama, I hope you land in Maiquetía (Caracas’ airport) some day. We would welcome you. We would sit, talk and eat arepas; I would take you to the streets of Caracas. I’m sure that the people would greet you with affection just like with President Santos,” said Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on Monday in Caracas.

In his comments, President Chávez was responding to the joke made by President Obama during his flight back from the NATO summit, according to press reports.

Chávez, after reading a news article on Obama’s joke, commented in a very good mood that if the joke were true, no one would have any problems receiving President Obama in Venezuela.

“Obama, if you said so, we would receive you and I would give you my hand one more time and suggest you to honor [the promises you made to] your people,” said the Venezuelan leader.

Additionally, Chávez urged the U.S. president not to be deceived. “Obama, ignore that stereotype. Don’t pay attention to those reports full of lies saying that we are a threat…No, let us make a new world, Obama, where all of us can leave in peace,” he highlighted.  

In a more humorous tone, Chávez said that one day he would land his presidential airplane in the gardens of the White House. “I invite you to play baseball, Obama. I’m sure you’re a bad batter, just like Fidel Castro,” he added while laughing.       

According to two journalists who were on the flight back from the NATO summit, Mark Knoller from CBS and Ed Henry from CNN, President Obama asked the pilot of the Air Force One to go to Caracas to visit Chávez. 

CNN en Español journalist Juan Carlos López wrote on his Twitter account that Obama’s joke had provoked controversy in U.S. political circles.

President Chávez made the statements at the Miraflores Presidential Palace, seat of the Venezuelan government, during a speech broadcast by the state-owned Venezolana de Televisión.
VTV/Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / November 23, 2010

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