Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has called on France to “respect” Carlos the Jackal, an Arab-affiliated terrorist currently on trial for attacks in Paris.
The trial of Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, 62, began Monday, over four terrorist attacks by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine that left 11 people dead and more than 100 wounded in the 1980s.
Sanchez, already serving a life sentence in France, was convicted in 1997 for the 1975 shooting deaths of a Lebanese informant and two French secret agents.
Chavez was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “We cannot allow any Venezuelan, accused of anything, to be abused in any part of the world. We have a responsibility and we are obliged to uphold it.”
The Venezuelan leader has been a strong supporter of other anti-U.S. and anti-Israel terrorists as well, notably the Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza. Chavez severed his country's diplomatic ties with Israel following the Jewish State's counter terrorism mini-war with Hamas in the winter of 2008-2009, and subsequently strengthened Venezuela's warm relations with Iran and the Palestinian Authority.
He has also prayed for former Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi, and expressed his "solidarity" with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose troops have so far slaughtered at least 3,500 civilians in crackdowns on anti-government protesters across the country over the past eight months.
This year Chavez has received at least four rounds of chemotherapy in Cuba since having a cancerous tumor removed from his pelvis in June. An official photo handed out to media showed him bald and bidding farewell to Cuban leader Raul Castro after his final round of treatment in Havana.
The Venezuelan president, who has been in power since 1999, has vowed to run for re-election in 2012. But he is allegedly in far worse health than he has allowed his nation's media to publicize. His former personal surgeon, Dr. Salvador Navarrete was forced to flee the country after revealing that the Venezuelan leader's health was not as vigorous as he was leading the public to believe.
In late September the 57-year-old president was rushed to the Caracas Military Hospital with reported kidney failure. A meeting in Caracas that had been set with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – with whom he is close -- was postponed indefinitely.
Navarrete confided to the Mexican newspaper Milenio Semanal last month that Chavez's prognosis was “not good,” adding, “When I say this, I mean that he has no more than two years to live.” The physician claimed that he had been urged by Chavez's relatives to make the news public in an attempt to force him to rest and spend his remaining time with his family.