CARACAS Venezuela's garrulous president, Hugo Chavez, has courted controversy throughout his nearly 14 years in power and is seeking re-election on October 7.
Here are some of his best-known quotes:
AFTER A FAILED COUP AS AN ARMY OFFICER, 1992
"For now, lamentably, the objectives we sought were not achieved. ... New situations will come and the country must definitively get on the path to a better destiny."
AS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, 1998
"I'm not the devil."
"Cuba is a dictatorship."
Nationalization plans? "No, absolutely nothing."
Hand over power in five years? "Of course, I am willing to give up power even earlier."
TAKING OFFICE, 1999
"I swear in front of my people, that over this moribund constitution, I will push forward the democratic transformations that are necessary."
TO HIS WIFE ON VALENTINE'S DAY, 2000
"Marisabel, I'm giving you one tonight, get ready!"
DURING SHORT-LIVED COUP AGAINST HIM IN 2002
"I am a president held prisoner, I have not resigned."
ON INDIGENOUS RIGHTS, 2003
"Christopher Columbus (the Spanish explorer) was the spearhead of the biggest invasion and genocide ever seen in the history of humanity."
ON PRESIDENTIAL SUMMITS, 2005
"We go from summit to summit, while our people go from abyss to abyss."
ON HIS TV PROGRAM 'HELLO PRESIDENT', 2005
"Being rich is bad, it's inhuman."
ON FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH AT THE UNITED NATIONS, 2006
"Yesterday the devil came here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today."
MORE ON BUSH, 2006
"You are an alcoholic, a drunk, a liar, an immoral person, Mr. Danger. You are the worst ... a psychologically sick man."
ON BUSH'S DEFENSE SECRETARY, DONALD RUMSFELD, 2006
"The lord of war is Donald Rumsfeld, one of the dogs of the devil."
ON ISRAEL, DURING A VISIT TO IRAN, 2006
"Israel criticizes Hitler a lot, so do we, but they've done something very similar, even worse, than what the Nazis did."
AT A SOUTH AMERICAN NATIONS' SUMMIT, 2006
"I think we are suffering from political impotence. We need political Viagra."
ON THEN-BRITISH PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR, 2006
"You are an imperialist pawn. ... Go straight to hell."
ON SOCIALISM AND CAPITALISM, 2006
"Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation. If you really want to look at things through the eyes of Jesus Christ - who I think was the first socialist - only socialism can really create a genuine society."
ORDERING NATIONALIZATIONS ON LIVE TV, 2007-11
BEGINNING A NEW PRESIDENTIAL TERM, 2007
"For Christ, the greatest socialist in history, for all the hurt, for all the love, for all the hopes that will be realized by this marvellous constitution, even if it costs my life. Fatherland, socialism or death!"
ON THE FAILURE OF A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, 2007
"Theirs is a victory of shit."
TO FIDEL CASTRO, TRIP TO CUBA, 2007
"You are the father of the revolutions on this continent, you are our father."
ON FORMER SPANISH PRIME MINISTER JOSE MARIA AZNAR, 2007
"He was a true fascist."
The comment was part of a series made by Chavez at a summit that prompted Spain's King Juan Carlos to shoot back, "Why don't you shut up?"
Chavez later responded, "If I shut up, you will hear the shouts of the stones of all the peoples of Latin America willing to be free from 500 years of colonialism."
ON COCA LEAVES, TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, 2008
"I chew coca leaves every morning, and look at me!"
AFTER EXPELLING U.S. AMBASSADOR, 2008
"Go to hell, Yankee shits, here stands a dignified people. Go to hell a hundred times, we are the sons of Bolivar!"
LAUNCHING A MOVE TO REPEAL TERM LIMITS, 2008
"If God gives me life and health, I'll be with you until 2021! Hey ho, Chavez will not go!"
TO U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT THE SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS, 2009
"I want to be your friend."
ON FORMER UGANDAN DICTATOR IDI AMIN, 2009
"We thought he was a cannibal ... I have doubts ... Maybe he was a great nationalist, a patriot."
ON OBAMA, 2011
"You are a fraud, Obama. ... Go and ask many people in Africa, who might have believed in you because of the colour of your skin, because your father was from Africa. You are an Afro-descendant, but you are the shame of all those people."
ON CARLOS THE JACKAL, 2011
"He was a worthy promoter of the greatest struggles ... a revolutionary fighter."
ON CAPITALISM'S ROLE IN LACK OF LIFE ON MARS, 2011
"I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and finished off the planet.
ACCUSING THE CIA OF SPREADING CANCER IN LATIN AMERICA, 2011
"It would not be strange if they had developed the technology to induce cancer and nobody knew about it until now."
SUPPORTING FORMER LIBYAN LEADER MUAMMAR GADDAFI, 2011
"Bombing the brave Libyan people to save them? What a brilliant strategy by the mad empire. Where are the international rights? This is like the caveman era."
ON SEEING EXUBERANT SUPPORTER IN A LIFE-SIZE PUPPET SUIT OF CHAVEZ LOSE HIS PANTS ON NATIONAL TV, 2011
"Tie them up, brother! You can't let Chavez's trousers fall down!" (tinyurl.com/6hgnf37)
BEFORE ONE OF WORLD'S LONGEST SPEECHES, 9 1/2 HOURS, 2012
"I promise you that at least I will make an effort not to be so lengthy."
PUTTING DOWN AN OPPOSITION LEADER IN SAME SPEECH, 2012
"The eagle does not hunt the fly."
ON THE 2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
"It will be easier for a donkey to pass through the eye of a needle than for the opposition to win the elections."
ON ELECTION OPPONENT HENRIQUE CAPRILES
"You have a pig's tail, a pig's ears, you snort like a pig, you're a low-life pig. You're a pig, don't try and hide it."
ON ELECTION PROSPECTS AFTER LATEST CANCER OPERATION, 2012
"The beating we're going to give the Venezuelan right will be memorable ... not just in the history of Venezuela but in almost all the world."
WEEPING AT AN EASTER MASS, 2012.
"Give me your crown, Jesus. Give me your cross, your thorns so that I may bleed. But give me life, because I have more to do for this country and these people. Do not take me yet."
FIGHTING CANCER, 2012
"These are not easy days, but we are warriors against adversity. ... I can't continue being the same runaway horse."
(Editing by Kieran Murray and Peter Cooney)