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|Livingstone at Lunch with Chavez|
- Mayor entertains controversial Venezuelan President
LONDON Mayor Ken Livingstone welcomes Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to town with a lunch event today.
Among the guests to pay their respects to Chavez - a controversial figure in Latin America and beyond - are writer Harold Pinter, campaigner Bianca Jagger and London MP and TV presenter Diane Abbott.
“Latin America is an increasingly important world economic region and London’s future depends of establishing strong links with the world’s great emerging economies,” said
Livingstone, anticipating criticism of the visit from anti-Chavez elements and those who believe the Mayor should stick to more obvious London issues.
Chavez has survived coup attempts, possibly funded out of Washington DC, and an employer strike to become a hero figure on the anti-American left.
Officially, Chavez’s visit is billed as a private one. The chances of Chavez being invited on an official state look slim - he once described Tony Blair as the main friend of “Hitler”, Chavez’s name for US President George W. Bush.
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