Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Chavez brings chaos to Venice

September 8, 2009

chavezThe biggest star at this year’s Venice film festival has arguably been Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Sure, George Clooney and Matt Damon have got the crowds going and can cause a minor media scrum with little effort, but Chavez and his large entourage of aides and guards is another matter altogether.

In town for the world premiere of Oliver Stone’s documentary “South of the Border”, Chavez looked the part on the red carpet and giving interviews at a swanky hotel on the Lido waterfront. Spare a thought for the handful of reporters given a coveted slot with the leader, though. We were originally down to speak to Chavez and Stone at around 5:30 p.m., but, after a series of false alarms, we were moved to a different venue and eventually ended up speaking to them well after 10 p.m.

At one point guests at a party at the plush “Des Bains” hotel (scene of the Visconti classic Death in Venice) were not allowed into the building because of Chavez’s security, but the problem was quickly resolved.

Chavez, looking every bit the movie star, was all smiles and charm, shaking hands with onlookers and reporters who wanted to meet him. Little wonder he looked happy — he will presumably be delighted with Stone’s overwhelmingly positive portrait.


We are a Country of uninformed cretins. Whenever we have a Republican Government, the economy tanks. Why? Easy. If you have tons of money, a recession or depression is a good thing. You can suppress wages and unions and since you’re the only one with money in town, you can buy up the town. It benefits rich Republicans to have a poor economy. I have concluded, looking at all the things they do, that they are trying to steer the Country towards a form of feudalism. You know, very few very rich and most of us very poor. Unfortunately, those that they would especially grind into the dust, the presently low income and ill informed rural folks tend to want to support their own children’s misery by voting Republican. It illustrates their level of understanding the World, but it is a sad thing to see.


Ah…. the merging of the Hollywood Glitterair Heads and Dictators! I remember the fond days of Uncle Joe and his open hearted friends… Maybe Oliver will do a Puff Piece on Uncle Joe Stalin and a sequal on the allways affable and Lovable Chairman Mao- These poor guys got some bad press a few years ago and maybe Oliver get set the record straight or just plain rewrite the record.

Posted by dean | Report as abusive

Is this some kind of joke? what kind of research has Oliver Stone done for this “documentary”?? did he include Chavez attempts to freedom of expression by closing several TV channels in Venezuela? as well as his friendly talks with the killers and kidnappers that always attempt against inocent Colombians (FARC)?, did he also document how many Venezuelans have left the country because it is impossible to have anything of your own without it being part of the state? How can people try this clawn of politics as a real hero??? it is difficult to believe that someone creates a film based on IGNORANCE! do a better research next time Mr. Stone

Posted by Andreina | Report as abusive

Not a shocker!!! What else can we expect from the leftist Stone!! Is he trying to compete with Michael Moore? What a loser!!

Posted by Susy Q | Report as abusive

So I can put Oliver Stone in my cultural trash bin along with Steven Spielberg and Mel Gibson.

Posted by Linus | Report as abusive

Oliver Stone always portrays the truth in the movies, in fact all the movies he has directed about the Viet Nam war and other wars the US military never liked the script because it was lots of truth in it , he had to go to Canada to shoot the movie

Posted by joe | Report as abusive

I live in Venezuela. Please whatever hold that Chavez has over Oliver Stone, DO NOT BELIEVE THAT CHAVEZ IS A GOOD MAN OR MORE IMPORTANTLY A GOOD PRESIDENT. He is a dictator in spite of all he says, he controls all three powers; executive, judicial and legislative. He does not care about us Venezuelans. He “put” the Bolivian president in power and gives him all the money he needs to stay in power… I could go on but no one is listening, no one cares, and now Oliver Stone will make him a superstar, so sad so sad.

Posted by nadine | Report as abusive

Good for Stone, good for Chavez, good for people to be exposed to a topic that is so readily manipulated by mainstream media.

Posted by Joe Blow | Report as abusive

Has Mr. Stone researched the hospitals in Venezuela? (they are all collapsed)Has Mr. Stone researched the morgues in Venezuela? (they are all collapsed full of bodies and disease)Has Mr. Stone researched the radio stations in Venezuela? (they closed 34 and are planning in closing 21 very nice freedom of speech)Has Mr. Stone researched the crime in Venezuela? (approximately 12000 people die every year more than in any active war right now)Has Mr. Stone researched the association of Chavez with Cuba, FARC, Iran?Has Mr. Stone researched the how many kids are on the streets left behind by the Bolivian Revolution?Has Mr. Stone researched the anything other than what he wants to see just because of his believes?I can continue going and going but just to think of it makes me want to cry.It is sad to see that in this time and age, where we should be liberated by the ghosts of communism and where the real social revolutions should be started within ourselves towards our world and our nature and no towards false prophets whether they are democrats, communist or socialist. We find the mediocrely of two man (Mr. Chavez and Mr. Stone) that use their nature given talents to manipulate and miss informing, just to obtain their personal goals and ambitions. Maybe it is time for another meteor to hit the earth so we can start from scratch. What a sad world we live in.

Posted by J.R | Report as abusive

Chavez still has an approval rating of nearly 60% in Venezuela; the only TV station he shut down openly supported a military coup against the democratically-elected government (even that station was actually only moved to cable); he brought in recall legislation so voters can petition to remove him at any time (he’s already survived one such recall attempt so far). Ask yourself: if Chavez is nothing more than a communist dictator, why is he so popular in his own country? Use logic and reason to think it through.

Posted by kris | Report as abusive

sorry, i didn’t read the whole story. i stopped as soon as it labled chaveez a “leftist”. last time i checked he was a self-proclaimed socialist, who controls all news and media outlets in venezuala. so if something of fact or importance was in this article, i lost it…

Posted by ken | Report as abusive

Oh I live in Venezuela too, and the majority of us are thrilled with the possible impact of the film. It’s amazing to think that -perhaps- someone (Stone) might be able to cause a dent on the crazy main stream media. We, the majority totally heart Chavez and support him!

Posted by Alicia Salas | Report as abusive

I love to be a communist like Chavez, traveling for all world with expensive hotels, cloths, a lot of body guards, money to give away to any, and the poor men of Venezuela.. well poor will be for the best of Chavez vote.

Posted by Cosme Falcon | Report as abusive

it is delightful to hear the cry baby oligarchs and oligarch want-to-be’s lament chavez’s successes. stone did the right thing by bringing in the other latin american leaders who are working for their exploited and marginalized population and who are ready to renounce usa domination.

Posted by john smartt | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see