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Hugo Chavez mocks Cheney's blunder

Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan President, ridiculed U.S. Vice PresidentDick Cheney for a recent verbal blunder confusing Venezuela with Peru. Chavez believes that it shows the United States is governed by a "bunch of ignorant fools."

Chavez mentioned Cheney's flub during a speech late Tuesday, noting that over the weekend the vice president referred to Peru when asked about Venezuela during an appearance in Dallas.

"The vice president of the United States was talking about us, but he made a mistake," Chavez said, laughing. "Since those who govern the United States are a bunch of ignorant fools... he thinks I'm president of Peru."

"They don't know where Venezuela is, nor do they know where Peru is," Chavez told the crowd.

According to a transcript on the White House Web page, the vice president was asked how concerned he is about Chavez's influence.

"I'm trying to think how to state this diplomatically. Diplomacy is hard sometimes," Cheney said, drawing laughs from his audience.

"He's a - obviously an individual with his own agenda, and he spends a great deal of his time worrying about us and criticizing the United States. My own personal view is that he does not represent the future of Latin America, and the people of Peru I think deserve better in their leadership."

Acknowleding Cheney's slip of the tongue, the transcript included an asterisk next to Peru to note he actually was referring to Venezuela.

The Venezuelan leader, a close ally of Cuba's Fidel Castro, has had increasingly tense relations with Washington even though the United States remains the top buyer of Venezuelan oil. Chavez said recently that he doesn't expect any improvement in relations as long as U.S. President George W. Bush remains in office.

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