Today is Hugo Chávez Frías's birthday. He will arrive in Tehran this evening, beginning his three-day visit to the country. I want Iranians and Arabs, Shiites and Sunnis, especially youths among them, to hear what he has to say. I want them to want to study Latin America, visit it, make friends with Latin Americans. I want them to come up with their own regional project comparable to what's going on in Latin America.
Arabs, Muslims, Jews, and Latin Americans ought to remember 1492 together, the year of Reconquista, the beginning of the end of their old worlds. They ought to create a solidarity of popular memory that unites their intertwined experiences of dispossession that began in that year, to counter the deleterious impacts of small-minded secular nationalism which dashed the half-hearted attempts at regional integration both in the Middle East and Latin America in the past.