That's right. Chavez has taken an interest in racing. American racing. While his relationship with America is terrible at best (he did call President Bush "the devil), he's taken a rooting interest in among the most American of events - the Indy 500.
And it's not because Venezuela is the fourth largest supplier of oil to the US. Perhaps he'll laugh at a country that burns gallons upon gallons of gasoline, putting money in his country's pocket (even if the Indy 500 uses ethanol). But instead his interest comes because of a driver. Not only is driver Milka Duno the first Venezuelan to qualify for the race, but she's also part of the first three-woman field in the race's history.
Some paint Duno as "Chavez's personal driver," with Venezuelan-owned Citgo as her team's primary sponsor. But she's not about to be type-cast in any way. Duno has four college degrees. How many other drivers have one? She also makes no efforts to distance herself from Chavez and his government. Last October she spoke at a massive campaign rally for him.
"In my country, you see the government trying to help people that have low income, that have no resources," Duno said this week during an interview in her garage. "They help people to get an education. We have free education. Everyone in Venezuela has access to go to school, to go to the university, for free. They don't have to pay anything. This is good."
That's right. In Venezuela, they help people. You don't see free education in this country, do you? And never to miss an opportunity, Chavez and Duno spoke while the president was at a government event earlier in the week.
What dedication! What pressure! Chavez invited Duno to "go for a ride" with him when they spoke. Look at her photo above. Is she the next Danica? Do you think Hugo just wants to go for a ride? He's a man who usually gets what he wants. She better win.