Fast Times In Caracas


Of all the Americans who opposed the war, Hugo Chavez holds Sean Penn among the most important:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has praised Sean Penn for his critical stance against the war in Iraq, saying the two chatted by phone and soon plan to meet in person.

"Welcome to Venezuela, Mr. Penn. What drives him is consciousness, the search for new paths," Chavez said Wednesday in a televised speech. "He's one of the greatest opponents of the Iraq invasion."

Chavez said the two plan to meet Thursday. He called the actor "well-informed about what is happening in the United States and the world, in spite of being in Hollywood."

What's more, Chavez said, "he's made great films." The Venezuelan leader said he recently watched Penn's Oscar-winning performance in the film "Mystic River."

Perhaps Mr. Chavez is fond of Mystic River because it depicts a paranoid thug forcing a false confession out of an old friend before murdering him and throwing his body in the river. Or maybe he giggles whenever Spicoli orders that pizza. No, probably the first one.