Kudos to Steven for writing about the furor over his "Devil" remarks from a sane and rational perspective. One thing the American public doesn't see in the Fox-edited video footage (which other outlets were using, possibly including even CNN) is the exaggerated gestures Chavez made of theatrically crossing himself and pressing his palms together as if in prayer right after he made the comment. It was theatre. It was a joke, albeit a dark and pointed one.
I wonder if it may not also have been a pointed reference to the way Bush frames all his rhetoric in highly religious apocalyptic absolute-good-versus-absolute-evil terms. But the American news media don't do nuance or allusion, so they may have missed that angle.
I'd like to see all the people hyperventilating over this next lining up to condemn Ann Coulter for the venomous bile she issues on a regular basis. Ah, but when Coulter and O'Reilly and Limbaugh and Robertson agree with Al Qaeda, approve of (or even call for) attacks on American cities because those cities are asking for it, or call for the execution of Americans who are political opponents...it's okay because they're on the right side. But when an democratically elected leader simply makes fun of their hero, he's a dangerous madman!