Lech Walesa calls Venezuela’s Chavez a demagogue

Yes Lech, yes Lech, yes Lech … way to go …

June 21, 2007, 8:23PM

Associated Press

LIMA, Peru — The founder of Poland’s Solidarity freedom movement today called Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a demagogue who eventually will have to pay for his populist policies.


Lech Walesa, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Polish president, said Chavez is offering Venezuelans things “that don’t belong to him.”


“I consider Chavez a demagogue and a populist, who says one thing and does another,” Walesa said at a news conference. Walesa was in Peru to meet with President Alan Garcia and receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Lima.


“There will come a time of truth, and then (Chavez) will have to pay for everything he has done,” Walesa said, speaking in Polish through a Spanish translator.


Chavez, who has been blessed with high oil prices for most of his eight years in power, insists his socialist policies have improved the lives of poor Venezuelans and typically dismisses his critics as tools of his foes in the U.S. government.


Walesa founded and led the Solidarity trade union that helped topple communism in Poland in 1989.


The former Polish leader also said Cuba’s Fidel Castro must be “forced” to move the country toward greater integration with the world economy.


“We all have to force Castro to improve his system … and that means globalization, ” he said.


In March, Walesa and another former Polish president published an open letter to the people of Cuba encouraging them to persist in seeking democratic change and promising them Polish support.

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