We shall not be moved - Chavez refuses to cede stage

Just got back from a looooong briefing with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and a smattering of heads of states and ministers from ALBA (Latin American Socialist Alliance).

Great example of politics as theatre - they were given a half hour slot and managed to stay on stage for over two hours, as high-powered delegations from other states queued up outside the auditorium getting increasingly cross.
When UN officials tried to hurry things along, Chavez told them he and his associates had not yet finished.
'Do what you have to do, send the police, we are fighters,' he said.
He also dismissed threats to turn off the electricity - and therefore the speakers' microphones - saying they would continue to answer questions a capella.
When they finally got up to go, you could see relief written across the faces of the UN conference organisers - which dwindled as they hung around on stage for a further quarter of an hour shaking hands with each other and very purposefully ignoring the non-too-subtle hints to move along.

Sam Bond

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