Nice,Chavez Promises To Sing On Behalf Of Haiti.

Jean Pierre Alexandre - February 17 2012, 2:19 PM

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has promised to sing at a benefit concert for Haiti being organized by Hollywood actor Sean Penn.

"We were talking about the idea of a great concert and he wants me to sing in that concert," Chavez said last night alongside Penn outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas in comments broadcast on state television.

"What do you think?

I said yes."

Penn, who was recently appointed ambassador-at-large for Haiti in acknowledgement of his charitable work after the Caribbean nation was struck by an earthquake in 2010, frequently visits Venezuela and defends Chavez's "21st century revolution." Penn and Chavez claim partial credit for the release of U.S. citizens Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal who were arrested and imprisoned for more than two years by Iranian authorities while hiking near the country's border.

Penn, who yesterday attended an event at which Chavez spoke for more than three hours, said he would be "teased" in the U.S. for his association with left-wing leaders such as Chavez and former Cuban President Fidel Castro, and for bringing up his children as socialist revolutionaries.

Penn also criticized Republican Party primary candidates for their attacks on Chavez, saying they "aren't beneficial" and said the policies of the far right in the U.S. are "the policies of the rich."


Penn said he hoped he could act as an intermediary between Chavez and U.S. President Barack Obama.

"I don't want to speculate on behalf of either leadership what the great lessons are they can teach each other, but what I do know from my experience with the leadership in my country and with President Chavez is that sitting together in a room, I would be envious to sit in that room and watch just how much could be learned mutually," Penn said.

The U.S. in May imposed sanctions on state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA for defying a U.S. ban and selling at least two cargoes of gasoline additive to Iran.

Chavez has repeatedly denounced the U.S., which he calls the "empire," since he came to power in 1999.

The countries expelled each other's diplomatic envoys after Chavez rejected the U.S. ambassadorial nominee to Venezuela, Larry Palmer, because he told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee in July 2010 that the Chavez government has "clear ties" to terrorist groups

Editors: Robert Jameson, Richard Jarvie

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