Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spoke to an enthusiastic crowd in the South Bronx this past Saturday afternoon. Chavez was in town to attend the United Nations World Summit and spoke at the Latino Pastoral Action Center for over two hours. Upon entering the center an hour and a half late, the leftist leader shook hands and kissed babies, delighting the crowd who chanted slogans like “Chavez Sí, Bush No.”

Bronx U.S. Congressman Jose Serrano introduced the Venezuelan president, whose winding speech meandered from the clean up of the Bronx River to his country’s movement towards Bolivarian socialism. Also in the crowd were Venezuelan officials that manage the country’s oil supply. The Venezuelan government wants to start an initiative that provides discounted oil to poor communities and schools in the United States. The first project will be in a Chicano neighborhood in Chicago and starts October 14.

During the Bronx speech, Chavez outlined similar projects in Boston and one in New York to take place in the South Bronx this November. “I’m fully convinced capitalism is not a good way to save the world…Capitalism is responsible for the invasion of Iraq and the coup in Venezuela,” said Chavez. At the summit, Chavez talked about Hurricane Katrina as a product of global warming and the need to move the United Nations from the United States because of the Bush administration’s lack of respect for international law. “There were never any weapons of mass destruction; however, Iraq was bombed, occupied and it is still occupied. All this happened over the United Nations. That is why we propose this Assembly that the United Nations should leave a country that does not respect the resolutions taken by this same Assembly.”

You can read Chavez's full address to the United Nations at