Debate challenge silences Chavez talkathon

BBC:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has cancelled an edition of his TV show, Alo Presidente.

The cancellation comes amid arguments with the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa about a live televised debate.

...

The decision to suspend Alo Presidente comes after a series of challenges and counter-challenges about holding a televised debate with the Peruvian writer - and arch-critic of President Chavez - Mario Vargas Llosa.

Mr Vargas Llosa is currently in Venezuela to attend an opposition-led seminar about democracy and authoritarianism in Latin America.

The last time Mr Chavez was on air, he challenged to Mr Vargas Llosa and his colleagues to come onto the programme and debate live with another group of assembled Latin American academics who are sympathetic to Mr Chavez.

President Chavez said he would moderate the discussion. Amid insults on both sides, Mr Vargas Llosa retorted he was only interested in debating directly with President Chavez and that the president's offer was not a serious one.

...

Chavez is both a bully and a coward. He would be unarmed in a serious debate with anyone, much less someone like Llosa. Chavez is scheduled to resume his rant Sunday.

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