Iain Dale seems to have started quite a fight over on his diary when he has brought the visit of Hugo Chavez more into the limelight.
Naturally I agree with Iain that this man is a 'left wing loonie', he may have won elections but Mugabe and even Hitler did that and they're rarely referred to as popular.
However, I'm not going to take up this point as Iain is doing it so well. The point I am going to take up is why is Ken Livingstone playing the elder statesman?
If Red Ken wishes to get back to his Marxist roots then by all means do so, but what this is doing is having the people of London financing the visits of Venezuelan leaders. Livingstone has no power to arrange trade deals with Venezuela, nor had he the power to alter UK policy toward China or any of the crackpot Islamic extremists that he has had round. So, other than lunch, what would Chavez be likely to get from this? Blair isn't going to see him, Cameron isn't going to see him. The only person going to see him is Ken.
Ken isn't an ambassador, in fact he's no sort of international diplomat. Unless old Hugo's getting advice on congestion charging I can't see what this visit achieves for either the people of Venezuela or London.