By Staff Reporter, Sep 16, 2013 10:30 AM EDT
(PHOTO CREDIT: Reuters)
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro took a spill on Sunday during an event honoring youth members of his United Socialist Party, falling off his bicycle as he and other party members rode around the center of Caracas. Afterward, Maduro laughed off the fall, telling state television VTV, "We were taking it pretty fast, I felt like it was too fast...and as I was talking with [Caracas mayor] Jorge [Rodríguez], I let go of the handlebars and we crashed, but as soon as we crashed, we got up dying of laughter. Let he who falls get up again and he who gets up again, keep on pushing." No one was injured in the accident. To watch video of the accident, hit the link at the bottom of the page.
Several ministers and party leaders as well as a large crowd of youth members accompanied Maduro on the 8-kilometer (4.9-mile) ride through the center of the Venezuelan capital to the "Los Museos" plaza, where a ceremony was being held in honor of the fifth anniversary of the creation of the United Socialist Party Youth. There, Maduro delivered a speech lauding them, telling the crowd, "The young are the true guarantee that the dreams of [national liberator Simón] Bolívar and [late president Hugo] Chávez live on in time. Everything we do in the present is for the young." He added, "Chávez was the eternal youth who planted the seed of true life. Chávez loved and touched everyone. He who respected the people, he who taught us to respect the people, its values. That was Hugo Chávez and we are Chávez."
Maduro has developed a reputation for clumsiness, especially of the verbal sort, after being elected in April. While still on the campaign trail, he was mocked in the international and opposition media for claiming that his late predecessor Hugo Chávez had visited him in the form of a bird and told him he would win the election. More recently, in calling for more resources to be allocated for education, he said the state would "multiple ourselves just like Christ multiplied the penises" before correcting himself. "Pardon me, the fishes and the loaves. Pardon the expression. Just like Christ multiplied the loaves and the fish."
On Sunday, he told members of the press that another phrase suspected to be a slip of the tongue in his speech that day was actually a trick meant to bring greater publicity to his announcement that his government would provide 35 million books for free to primary school students. "Monday," he said in his speech, "we're going to begin the handing out of 35 million libros y libras" - meaning "books and pounds". On Monday, Maduro told the press, "I set a little trap and some fell for it. A shame everyone didn't."
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