NEW YORK Sean Penn, appearing with David
Letterman on CBS on Monday night, defended his recent visit with
Venezuelan leader Huge Chavez, and said there is indeed freedom of
expression for the media in that country.
"I found him a very fascinating guy," Penn said,
referring to Chavez. "He’s done incredible things for the 80% of the
people who are poor there."
Asked why he visited, Penn quipped, "I felt almost
invited to go by Pat Robertson, because he was encouraging that Chavez
be assassinated, and I always can assume that whatever he says it ought
to be the opposite."
When Letterman said that from he'd read, Chavez must
be "nuts" or at least "wacky." Penn replied: "I think if people have
oil in the ground they are called wacky.
He also defended media freedom in that country. "One
of things said about him is that he shut down a television station,"
Penn said. "Since 1998 they had been encouraging the assassination of
Chavez every day.
So he just did not re-up their license.'''
Penn disputed "the idea that there is no freedom of
expression there," explaining, "the loons of Fox News are broadcast
there every day."
He was on the show promoting his new film, "Into the Wild."