Hugo Chávez is on the air for the first part of his four-day talk show marathon, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Venezuelan president's rambling television broadcast. As the BBC reports, today's Alo Presidente got under way in an electrical plant in the country's west, where Chávez regaled supporters with his opinions on the global economic crisis, corruption, and energy production.
The remainder of the four-day show will be transmitted from around Venezuela, with guests appearing via satellite. Political opponents have blasted Chávez for what they describe as a publicity stunt, in part to divert attention from a high-profile anti-Chávez seminar this weekend. But the government has a simpler explanation: Alo Presidente, they say, is one of Venezeula's most popular shows.