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Chavez Relocates Eastern Europe


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka met in Caracas this week.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka met in Caracas this week.

In this video from December 2009, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez proudly shows his knowledge of geography to a visiting delegation of Belarusian dignitaries.

Chavez effusively tells the visitors, led by Belarusian presidential aide Viktor Sheiman, that "the relations between us have so much -- we have done many things."

Chavez claims in the video that Belarus -- considered to be part of Eastern Europe -- is in fact located in Central Europe. On the map, Chavez circles an area including the northwestern part of Kazakhstan and describes it as Eastern Europe. Chavez then describes Central Europe as stretching across much of European Russia, with Belarus located on its western edge.

Chavez also circles Denmark on the map, and then asks for confirmation that he has located the country correctly.

Such geographical uncertainty is surprising from a leader who prides himself on his foreign policy heft.

This week, Chavez again hosted a Belarusian delegation, this time led by the country's President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The two countries concluded important agreements on issues relating to energy and defense.

With such deals, Chavez continues his efforts to remake the world political order. However, as the video shows, he also seems to want to remake world geography as well.

-- Michael Hirshman

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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