ABC News’ Huma Khan reports: Actor Sean Penn, always unabashed about his political views, is taking heat from actress Maria Conchita Alonso for defending Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez in a recent interview.
Alonso, who was born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela, has penned an open letter to Penn denouncing his claim that the U.S. media inaccurately portrays Chavez as a dictator.
Chavez has gone through “14 of the most transparent elections in the globe, and been elected democratically,” Penn said on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” March 5.
“Every day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it, and accept it. And this is mainstream media, who should -- truly, there should be bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies,” added Penn, who has traveled to Venezuela several times and met with Chavez.
Alonso wrote that she was “appalled” by Penn’s interview.
“Being born in Cuba, a country where freedom of speech is non-existent, it's startling to observe how Venezuela, where I was happily raised, is fast becoming Cuba's mirror image: Dismantling of fundamental democratic rights deserved by its people and citizens of the world,” Alonso wrote. “Chavez did win his first elections, but like Hitler, he betrayed what the country gave him: The vote of confidence.” In the letter, Alonso opposes Penn’s claims that Venezuela’s elections were transparent, and that the country is a true democracy.
In an interview with Fox News today, the former Miss Venezuela said Penn contradicted himself when he spoke about democracy and freedom of speech.
“Either he is ignorant in the subject of Venezuela and Chavez -- and by the way, the Castros in Cuba, because, you know, he likes them -- or I don’t know why he’s talking about that,” Alonso said. “People should know the truth.”
This is not the first time Penn has been embroiled in a controversy over his political views. The Oscar winner was blasted by conservatives for his anti-war stance and then calling for President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney’s impeachment.
View Alonso’s interview here: