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Chavez criticizes Germany's Merkel

Venezuela Colombia FARC
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez lashed out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, days before a summit of Latin American and European leaders.AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Hugo Chavez accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party of sharing the same ideals as Adolf Hitler and warned he might confront her at Friday's summit of Latin American and European leaders in Peru.

The Venezuelan president lashed out at Merkel late on Sunday, after she told an interviewer that Chavez doesn't speak for all of Latin America.

Chavez described Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union party as "the same right wing that supported Hitler and fascism."

"Ms. Chancellor, you can go to ..." he said, pausing. "Because you are a lady, I won't say any more."

Chavez joked during a weekly broadcast that Merkel might tell him to "shut up" in response — as Spanish King Juan Carlos did when Chavez criticized former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar at a summit last year.

Merkel's spokesman, Thomas Steg, said she would not add to what she told German news agency DPA: that no single country could harm overall relations between the European Union and Latin America.

"President Chavez does not speak for Latin America — every country has its own voice, with which they pursue their own interests," Steg quoted Merkel as saying.

"The comments of President Chavez speak for themselves," Steg told The Associated Press.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday called Merkel a "great democrat," and in a clear reference to Chavez said "inflammatory, populist and aggressive" remarks go against efforts to increase cooperation between Europe and Latin America.