Hezbollah adopts Hugo Chavez as hero
Another poster, next to a road bridge destroyed in an Israeli air raid, shows Chavez and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah and announces the launch of a petition of thanks for the Venezuelan leader.india Updated: Sep 22, 2006 06:18 IST
Venezuela's outspoken President Hugo Chavez, who lashed out at his US counterpart George W Bush from the podium of the UN General Assembly, has scored a big hit with Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah.
"Gracias Chavez," proclaimed large posters hurriedly put up by Hezbollah activists in their Shia stronghold of Beirut's southern suburbs on the eve of a "victory" rally following the group's war with Israel.
The portrait, showing Chavez in a red shirt and punching the air with a fist, also calls for Israel "to be taken to court for its crimes" during the 34-day war which ended in mid-August after more than 1,200 people were killed in Lebanon alone.
Caracas pulled the Venezuelan charge d'affaires out of Israel in early August to protest its operations inside Lebanon, with Chavez charging that Israel "had lost its mind".
Another poster, next to a road bridge destroyed in an Israeli air raid, shows Chavez and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah and announces the launch of a petition of thanks for the Venezuelan leader.
It also hails "our coalition from Gaza to Beirut, to Damascus, to Tehran, and with our brother Chavez", quoting Nasrallah.
Chavez stunned the General Assembly in New York on Wednesday with a speech which branded Bush "the devil" who acted like he "owned the world", a day after the US leader spoke from the same podium.
The left-wing Venezuelan president, a frequent critic of the US administration, then crossed himself, brought his hands together as if in prayer and looked up to the ceiling of the assembly chamber.