Homicides Skyrocket in Venezuela, Chavez Thanks Penn for Support

Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez says he's grateful for the support he's getting from actor Sean Penn.

As NewsBusters reported Monday, Penn told HBO's Bill Maher last week:

[E]very day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it! And accept it. And this is mainstream media, who should – truly, there should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies.

According to a report from the Associated Press, Chavez was pleased by this remark: 

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is grateful that actor Sean Penn has defended him against his critics within the U.S. media. [...]

Chavez welcomed Penn's comments Wednesday and thanked the actor for standing up to his detractors.

In a related story, Reuters reported Thursday the murder rate in Venezuela has quadrupled since Chavez took over:

Homicides in Venezuela have quadrupled during President Hugo Chavez's 11 years in power, with two people murdered every hour, according to new figures from a non-governmental organization.

The Venezuelan Observatory of Violence (OVV), whose data is widely followed in the absence of official statistics, said the South American nation has one of the highest crime rates on the continent, with 54 homicides per 100,000 citizens in 2009.

That rate is only surpassed in Latin America by El Salvador where 70 in every 100,000 citizens were murdered last year, the OVV said, citing official statistics from that country.

I wonder if Penn thinks the person that wrote this wire story and all editors that opted to run it should immediately go to prison for spreading such lies about this wonderful man.

Associated Press Sean Penn
Noel Sheppard's picture