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Venezuela: Hugo Chavez now weighs in on being a “size activist”

By Jennifer Barreto-Leyva

VENEZUELA: “Venezuelans, check yourself, you are way too fat”

Those were the — once again — wise words of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez on his very own 5 hour-long TV Show “Alo Presidente” broadcast every Sunday on National Television.

“Venezuelans are way too fat, well not the female ones, they are pleasantly plump. I don’t know what’s going on in this country, but people are fat, way too fat and that’s not a good thing.”


Those are the words of an obese Hugo Chavez.

Someone who has gained a tremendous amount of weight since he has been in power, living la vida loca and traveling all over the world, paid by us — our taxes, tears and pain…us, the people, the suffering people.

While he said such a ridiculous statement, we overweight Venezuelans are living in the most fat-phobic country, under the most abusive and unacceptable conditions, where being overweight is worst than being a drug dealer or a delinquent.

We are humiliated, abused and discriminated all the way and no one seems to care.

Hugo should find someone to tell him the truth.

The truth is that more than 80% of the Venezuelan population is “overweight” (this according to the paranoids).

What an interesting personality Hugo Chavez is: a Catholic-Budhist-Muslim and someone who has accomplished everything and practiced every hobby, career and occupation – according to his ludicrous stories.

Now, he’s a size activist too?

Instead of minding too much about our weight, Hugo should pay attention to the millions of homeless people who have nothing to eat, the thousands of kids living in the streets — what happened to the promise he made them ten years ago?

We have the highest rate of unemployed people in the history of the country, and a variety dramas unfold on a daily basis.

Forty radio stations and one TV station were closed. TV stations and newspapers are constantly under the scope. We still have currency restrictions ($400 for Internet purposes and $2500 per person per year) and now we must notify the government every time we are going to travel and tell them where and why so they can release to us a “currency coupon.”

If this wasn’t enough now, at this time of the year, four banks suffered a closed door intervention. This means that all the people who had any money in these banks are now poor as rats; they can’t touch their money at all unless a miracle happens.

The government has promised — as usual — that they will take care of the situation and the people responsible for this will pay, etc, etc, etc.

We all know no one is going to jail, people will lose their money — again at this time of the year — and no one will lift the tiniest finger to do anything about it.

In these times, our weight is the least of the worries that face Venezuelans.


(Update: Three more banks, as of Dec. 4, 2009, have had closed interventions. That makes a total of seven banks altogether.)

>Learn more about Jennifer:

Jennifer Barreto-Leyva lives in Caracas, Venezuela where when this 5″11 venezolana is not defending the rights of her clients as a lawyer or inspiring people as a motivational speaker, she is an outspoken defender on the rights of plus-size people.

Jennifer is Miss Plump Venezuela and the first Latina who participated and won the Miss Universe for Plus-size title. She is also the first venezolana plus-size model and, consequently, is credited for introducing the plus-size modeling division throughout Latin America.

Since 1999, Jennifer has penned a regular column, Tu Rincon con Jen, for the only online site dedicated to plus size people in Spanish,

Because of her sassy outspokenness and willingness to force the issue that beauty does not lie with a person’s weight, Jennifer has found her message much in demand from South and North America to Europe and Asia.

Jennifer provides constant inspiration for women of all sizes at her blog, Facebook and MySpace pages and says that she always knew that when it came to defending who she was, no one was going to do it for her.

I saw myself different (as a child), not only when it comes to my size but my beauty as well. I’ve always had to deal with people’s cruelty because they think I’m ugly and have no hesitation letting me know that. I had to be strong and mature when no one around was. I’m beautiful because I’ve decided and feel that way, not because everyone else says it is so.


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  • Zik Ukaeje
    December 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Well this is very enlightening. Never knew this weight problem was this serious in your country. But Jennifer Barreto-Leyva is doing and has done a fantatstic job with her physical presence in so many ways. I hope the other ladies of your great country take an example of a confident bigger woman in Jennifer Barreto-Leyva.
    Google BODacious in your country and see what comes up. You will love what we are doing here in the USA for fuller figure people.
    BODacious Inc.

  • Richard Stephens
    December 4, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Extremely well put. As an American (or Gringo if you prefer)who has been to Venezuela many times I certainly agree that there are far greater concerns that need to be addressed by the government. The USA has one of, if not the most overweight populations in the world. However our heritage has tought us not to be as judgemental. Of course we all know that doesn’t apply to the inner circles of Hollywood and anywhere there’s money to be made. Freedom to accept, love and admire people as we desire is perhaps the greatest freedom of all here. I for one, would glady welcome all the beautiful women whom are looked down upon in your country for being a so called Plus Size. Maybe we can work out an exchange program and send all our non productive slender women over there. I think then people would realize what true beauty is all about!

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