Bloomberg News

Chavez Praises Socialist Superhero as Cultural Foil to Superman

October 11, 2011

Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Watch out, Superman: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has a new superhero to spread the tenets of his 21st century socialist revolution.

Chavez today criticized the influence of American comic book icons such as Superman and Wonder Woman while praising a campaign mascot made in his image by supporters ahead of next year’s elections.

“I think it’s very funny and very creative,” he said of the mascot, a doll with an oversized head wearing the president’s preferred red beret, red shirt and black army slacks. “It’s part of the cultural battle against Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin that they’ve tried to impose on us down to the bone and that the Yankees made us admire.”

Chavez has vowed to defeat an undisclosed form of cancer in time to win re-election in October 2012 to a third, six-year term. Today he said he’d return to Cuba, where he had a baseball-sized tumor removed in June, to monitor the progress of his recovery after undergoing four rounds of chemotherapy that have left him bald.

The self-declared socialist has sought to counteract the influence of U.S. culture on Venezuela by funding a film studio to produce movies that celebrate his nation’s fight against the “Empire.” He’s also created a publishing company that distributes socialist literature. Venezuelans should create cartoons of figures such as his hero, South American liberator Simon Bolivar, he said today.

Still, even a mascot of himself doesn’t always win the president’s approval. Chavez, who last week appeared on live television dancing to hip-hop music, was quick to point out that the doll’s pants were falling down. Nor does it have the afro that Chavez said he intends to grow when his hair grows back.

“Buckle up, buddy, because Chavez’s pants can’t fall down,” the 57-year-old president said during a phone call today to the television talk show where the mascot and its creator were being interviewed. “That mascot doesn’t dance to rap like me. My hair is starting to come out again and you’ll have to make another mascot. It’s not a problem if you give him an afro.”

--Editors: Harry Maurer, Joshua Goodman

To contact the reporter on this story: Charlie Devereux in Caracas at cdevereux3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net


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