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Aló Presidente (English: Hello President) is a talk show hosted by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez which is broadcast on Venezuelan state television and radio stations every Sunday at 11:00 AM.

It features Chávez addressing topics of the day and touring locations where government social welfare programs are active. There is no official end time — the show continues until Chávez is ready to stop, and often lasts about five hours. The first broadcast was made on May 23, 1999 (about three months after Chávez took office) on radio. Since then, over 330 shows have aired.

Format

Government ministers are required to attend the program. They may be questioned by the president about anything, and sometimes policy — even military plans — are made on the show. During the March 2, 2008 airing, Chávez ordered a top general to send ten battalions of troops to the border with Colombiamarker in response to a bombing by Colombian forces inside Ecuador which killed Raúl Reyes, a top member of FARC and a "personal friend" of Chávez. (The battalions were not deployed; see also 2008 Andean diplomatic crisismarker.)

The president counts former Cubanmarker leader Fidel Castro among his heroes, and nearly every week asks "How are you, Fidel?" For unknown reasons, the greeting is normally in English. Chávez has also frequently used the program to criticize former president George W. Bush, whom he has called a "madman and a drunk", and the United Statesmarker, which he often refers to as "the empire."

Responses

Aló Presidente has "spawned similar programmes by leaders in other countries, most notably Boliviamarker and Ecuadormarker", led by Presidents Evo Morales and Rafael Correa respectively.

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