Venezuelan president says made deliberate verbal gaffe

Venezuelan president says made deliberate verbal gaffe
# 17 September 2013 00:12 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Venzuela's gaffe-prone President Nicolas Maduro says his latest verbal mix-up was a deliberate attempt to outwit opponents who love to portray him as a buffoon and ignore the socialist government's advances, APA reports quoting Reuters.

In the best tradition of global figures from former U.S. President George W. Bush to Britain's Prince Philip, the 50-year-old Venezuelan leader has been sometimes tripping up during his daily, hours-long speeches.

The latest incident was over the weekend, when Maduro told Venezuelans the government was going to give children 35 million "books and pounds" ("libros y libras") for Monday's return to school.

That prompted jeers on the Internet from critics, casting Maduro's erroneous offer of millions in British currency to kids as further evidence of incompetence.

But the president re-appeared hours later in an attempt to have the last laugh. He said the mistake was a deliberate trick so that media usually antagonistic to him would in fact show the clip where he is offering the free school materials.

"The right wing is stupid. As they want to censure the historic fact that we are going to give 35 million books to the boys and girls of Venezuela ... I left them a little trap, and some fell for it," he told supporters.

"Some of the most stupid ones put the video on Twitter. Great! Because they show where I say we're giving away 35 million books. At least people see it. If they hide things due to hatred of the fatherland, I'm obliged to find other ways."

Maduro, a former bus driver who rose to be vice president under President Hugo Chavez and then won election after the death of his mentor from cancer this year, frequently refers to himself with pride as Venezuela's first "worker-president."

Supporters say the fact that a man like him - without a university degree and the traditional background of most presidents - can rise to power, shows how Chavez's 14-year rule transformed Venezuela and gave opportunities to all.