Chavez Welcomes Shakira to Venezuela
Saturday, November 11, 2006; 4:22 PM
CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez welcomed Colombian pop singer Shakira to his country on Saturday and said he may go undercover to watch the hip-shaking superstar perform.
"Shakira's arrived. ... Welcome, Shakira," Chavez said during a televised speech.
Chavez said that the other day he'd put on a wig and not even his bodyguards had been able to recognize him. "Maybe I'll put on a wig and go see Shakira," he quipped.
Shakira, who last month was nominated for five Latin Grammy awards, is traveling on her worldwide "Oral Fixation" tour and was set to perform Saturday evening in Caracas.
Chavez, who says he is leading a socialist revolution in Venezuela, frequently criticizes what he calls the onslaught of major multinationals and U.S.-style capitalism on traditional Venezuelan culture.
But he appeared to have little concerns about the international pop diva, who is backed by music labels Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Epic Records, calling her "sister of this great Latin American homeland."
He said he had given special authorization for an airfield in central Caracas, normally reserved solely for government use, to be used as a venue for her concert.