Venezuela’s Chavez praises visiting Sean Penn

CARACAS, Venezuela: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has heaped praise on the actor Sean Penn on Wednesday for his politics and opposition to the war in Iraq. According to the AP, Chavez is saying “the two chatted by phone and soon plan to meet in person.”

Chavez told the AP reporters that Penn “traveled to Venezuela this week wanting to learn more about the situation in the country and walked around some of Caracas’ poor barrios on his own.”

“Welcome to Venezuela, Mr. Penn. What drives him is consciousness, the search for new paths,” Chavez said in a televised speech. “He’s one of the greatest opponents of the Iraq invasion.”

The AP reports that Chavez read an open letter written by Penn to U.S. President George W. Bush where Penn criticizes the Iraq war and called for Bush to be impeached, saying the president along with Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are “villainously and criminally obscene people.”

Chavez claims he and Penn “talked by phone” — “with my bad English but we understood each other more or less” according to the AP.

Chavez claimed the two “plan to meet on Thursday. He called the actor ‘well-informed about what is happening in the United States and the world, in spite of being in Hollywood.’ “

A fan of his work, Chavez said of Penn: “he’s made great films.”

The AP reports that Penn also toured the country’s new film and sound stage studios outside of Caracas.

Penn has no comments for the press at the time of the AP filed report.

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