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Opinion

Chávez digs it in the Bronx

It's pretty unlikely that Hugo Chávez calls too many of his friends "homies" or knows the difference between Grandmaster Flash and Tupac Shakur. But that didn't stop him from being cheered during a visit to the Bronx last month.

Venezuela's president – in New York for the UN's summit meeting to celebrate its 60th anniversary – went on a tour of the city's most notorious district to spread his "Bolivarian revolution" message. Dressed in black trousers and his trademark red shirt, Chávez kissed locals, shook a pair of maracas and swayed to the beat of a local Dominican band.

Hundreds of residents gathered around The Point Community Development Corporation on Garrison Avenue to catch a glimpse of their celebrity guest. Although Chávez is used to mingling with ordinary people in poor neighbourhoods, Bronx locals have rarely had the pleasure of seeing a world leader on their doorstep.

Chávez pledged some money to a youth centre and then spoke to local journalists, saying that there was "more soul and power" in the Point than in the UN General Assembly. Who can disagree?

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