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