Sean Penn joins Chavez on campaign

Sean Penn joins Chavez on campaign

CARACAS - Reuters
Sean Penn joins Chavez on campaign

Chavez (R) talks to US actor Penn during an election rally in Valencia.

U.S. actor Sean Penn joined President Hugo Chavez at an election rally in Venezuela on Aug. 5, bringing a dash of Hollywood to the campaign as he rode with him atop a truck past cheering supporters.

Penn is a friend of Chavez, who hopes to win a new six-year term on October 7. The campaign has turned into the toughest fight of the president’s political career.

“Thank you very much for visiting us again, dear friend,” Chavez said after introducing Penn to the big crowd in the central city of Valencia. “We’re all Americans, from the north, the center, the south. Long live the American continent!” Penn waved from the stage, fist-bumped and hugged Chavez, but did not address the rally.

Sean Penn is well-known for his political and social activism. He was a vocal critic of the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush. Last year, Penn worked for the release of two U.S. hikers who were arrested in Iran, flying to Venezuela to ask Chavez to intervene on their behalf with Iran’s leader.

Most polls in South America’s top oil exporter give Chavez a double-digit lead ahead of the vote. He said he is completely cured after three cancer operations in the last year, although few details have been released about the 58-year-old’s condition.