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March 5th, 2013
10:15 PM ET

Barbara Walters remembers late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: "He certainly wasn't the most physically attractive person"

On a day featuring breaking news out of South America, Tuesday evening saw "Piers Morgan Tonight" invite the incomparable Barbara Walters to share her reactions and insights following the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Having traveled to Venezuela for an interview with Chavez in 2007, Walters remembered a complicated leader with multiple facets to his personality.

"Many journalists have said that he could be incredibly charming, in person. Was that your experience?" asked Piers Morgan.

"Yes, he could be. I mean, he certainly wasn't the most physically attractive person," revealed Walters, who joined the program live via phone. "But he was very warm, he was very welcoming, although it was for us somewhat of a frightening trip."

Adding further detail of her time in Venezuela, the co-host of "The View" described a country featuring two distinct classes of people, resulting in skewed impressions of their president:

"The rich, the people who had some money, were living – if they were still there – in houses that had gates and barricades. But the other people, when he [Chavez] wanted us to go and see the people, the people liked him because he had given them running water and toilets."

Despite his immense power and influence, Walters noted that Chavez tried to portray himself as a martyr:

"He could be very warm. He was very vulnerable, complained that he'd been married twice, Piers, but had no time for relationship because he was married to his country."

Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, as the legendary ABC newswoman shares a few choice names that Chavez used when describing then-U.S. president George W. Bush.
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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. MR RICH QUEST: PANATAG

    "New Era University ?@EraNeu
    The world is a dangerous place to live;
    not because of the people who are evil,
    but because of people who don't do anything about it"PLS APPREHEND!
    PLS SIR PAK-SABI NOW
    PLS SANDEL NOW
    PLS MAYOR NOW

    March 6, 2013 at 4:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. amandadeann

    This is a great piece!

    March 6, 2013 at 5:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Kerry

    For Venezuelans, the worst aspect of the Chávez years was the soaring crime rate. Venezuela has become one of the most violent countries in the world, with nearly 20,000 murders recorded in 2011 and a homicide rate that some experts say is four times greater than in the last year before Mr. Chávez took power.

    March 6, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. kerry

    In an energy-rich country that once knew no blackouts, electrical shortages are frequent, the result of Mr. Chávez’s plundering of the country’s public oil company. In a country that once enjoyed a thriving free market, prices are controlled and food items often scarce.

    March 6, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Julio

      You and Robert are both unaware of the reality in Venezuela. Full of ignorance from watching TV and trying to appear smart making these comments without having any knowledge of the real situation. I lived in a Venezuela before Chavez full of black outs and misery. Look up what happened in Venezuela in 1989. Chavez will always be loved by most Venezuelans.

      March 7, 2013 at 3:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Robert

    Barbara Walters is daft at best. Hugo Chavez was a murderous thug. A majority of Venezuelans live in abject poverty and squalor. Like most socialist he took all the private wealth to give to the people, he NEVER GAVE IT TO THE PEOPLE. Walters' praise in any way shape or form is outrageous. She should try REPORTING about the average person in Venezuela and their starvation.

    March 6, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Facts first please

      What will you call George Bush then? His has more blood in hand after Hitler. Chavez has not come close to Bush get real.

      March 6, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Betty

      Why was George Bush missing during Obama's swearing in the second term? His father was sick or was it a security issue and he was asked no to attend?

      Will the devil attend his fathers funeral in DC or will the the family chose a quite funural? What excuse will we hear again?

      March 7, 2013 at 7:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Tom

    Well, Barbara, you are not the most physically attractive person either, so your assessment of his appearance smacks of hypocrisy and ill will.

    But you describe a Venezuela divided into two: the poor and rich, with the rich building gated communities to keep the poor out. Doesn't this sound an awful lot like another country? Which country? Oh, I don't know, Barbara....could it be.... OURS?

    I think it's long past time for Barbara to retire.

    March 7, 2013 at 5:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nana

      Wake up. Check the YouTube: Shocking Viral Video Shows the Extent of U.S. Wealth Inequality. Get a Reality Check on the Economy!

      March 7, 2013 at 7:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Reality check

    http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2013/03/chavez-despot-or-saint.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+3quarksdaily+%283quarksdaily%29

    March 7, 2013 at 8:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jeff

    A real man of the people – so selfless. A 2010 report from Criminal Justice International Associates (CJIA), a global risk assessment and threat mitigation firm estimated that the Chavez family assets totaled between $1 and $2 billion USD. The vast majority of these assets are oil related and were controlled by Hugo himself prior to his death. The head of the CJIA, Jerry Brewer, asserted that since Hugo's rise to power in 1999, the extended family has amassed its fortune through both legal and illegal methods. Brewer further estimates that the Chavez family and hundreds of other criminal organization have "subtracted $100 billion out of the nearly $1 trillion in oil income made by PDVSA (Venezuela's state controlled oil company), since 1999."

    March 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Tom K

    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. - Winston Churchill

    March 13, 2013 at 1:55 am | Report abuse | Reply

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