September 29th, 2011
02:30 PM ET

Chavez: I asked Ahmadinejad for hikers' release, at actor's behest

[Updated at 3:53 p.m. ET] Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Thursday he called and sent a letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asking for the release of detained American hikers at the behest of actor Sean Penn.

Americans Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were released from an Iranian prison last week, after 781 days in captivity.

Chavez said he considers Penn a friend, and after the two spoke about the hikers, he agreed to add his voice directly with the Iranian president.

"If this call and message helped a little, I am glad. Even if it didn't," he said.

Fattal, Bauer and Bauer's now-fiancee, Sarah Shourd, were arrested in July 2009, with Iran saying they strayed across the unmarked border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran. Shourd was released in 2010.

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Filed under: Iran • Venezuela
soundoff (362 Responses)
  1. beachrat

    Well, if that is true, good for Hugo Chavez, and Sean Penn.
    Peace

    September 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth shall set you free!

      It is ridiculous that someone was blackmailed into paying bail for these two dummy's?They call it bail but really it is a ransom .First of all they should have left them there.They had no business hiking in the area.Anybody with any sense would know better.
      Our country has to go to bat back and forth negotiating for what there stupidity?Then Penn another halfwit breaking bread with Chavez thinking he is the great negotiator.Two bumbling idiots!

      September 29, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Sean Penn. Just add Jimmy Carter to the list of names, and it would be just perfect.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      You're forgetting Jesse Jackson

      September 29, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      Bit I LIKE Jimmy Carter. The others, not so much.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Insight

      What about Ghadaffi?

      September 29, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakobi.

      Let's not forget idiots like Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, etc.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    So how did the conversation go, exactly?

    Penn: Hugo, can you ask our buddy to release those hikers?
    Chavez: Sure Sean. I'll ask how much the ransom is. Should I tell him that you would be willing to pay it?
    Penn: Good God, no. Let someone else pay it.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • doug

      Hey, Bimbo. Call Penn what you want but a greedy tightwad he is not. Do me a favor and google "Sean Penn Haiti" and see what you find. Don't be an idiot, k?

      September 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fernace

    That's nice of them, but it obviously didn't work! A for effort though! I suppose we can deduce that Mahmoud is not on Hugos short-list of friends! That should take care of the "con.spi.racy theorists" on the "Iranians Are Coming" thread!!

    September 29, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fed

    Wow! Hugo Chavez made a donation to Mahmoud´s charity in Sean Penn´s name: two innocent hikers. That´s what I call caring. Weep....

    September 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fed

    oh... when God said "Assh*oles, to the other shore" these three were already on the other shore all dry and waiting for dinner.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. saywhat

    What matters is that the 'hikers' are back home and more sense to them and others like minded.
    Those who made efforts to get them released are to be appreciated.

    Our policies are fast turning a world once used to welcoming Americans any & everywhere, hostile. And this hapless nation is straddled with politicos & aspiring leaders who are devoid of any sense of where they are leading us or want to lead us.

    Our only hope are the young in this country with, hopefully, a fresh & realistic look at where we stand & the world out side our borders without the disease of deeply ingrained prejudices, biases & hate. That is if our education system survives the repeated blows from our policy makers engaged only in protecting the interests of those behind foreign lobbies & special interest. And is able to produce leaders.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • victim of democrat hypocrisy

      What matters is Shane Bauer's ignorant comments about "political prisoners" in the U.S.

      And I have news for ya–When the Shah was ousted in 1979 (on Jimmy Carter's watch), Americans weren't treated very nice in Iran anymore. But then, you probably only pay attention to what you see on The Daily Show.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Michael J.

    Hugo Chavez is a moron.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DaveNYUSA

    I guess when even the paparazzi ignores you, you need to stay in the news somehow!

    September 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. essen

    OK, that's two more reasons why they should have kept those idiot hikers in Iran.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. XxMacleodxX

    who says coke buddies can't help out

    September 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. GoVols

    Why all the hate? even if you're not a fan of Penn etc the fact that he cared enough to use his influence on Chavez should be commended. Did you even attempt to do anything in your pathetic lives to secure the release of those two Americans?
    IIf Navy SEALs had broken into Iran and rescued the 2 hikers they would be all be hailed heroes and folks here will be polishing their knobs... how is what Penn or Chavez did any different?

    September 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • XxMacleodxX

      on right does not make up for a life time of wrong....

      September 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • XxMacleodxX

      and we paid for the release....not penn..not chavez...the American people paid

      September 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • victim of democrat hypocrisy

      Did those stupid hikers do anything for me the last time I got a traffic ticket?

      September 29, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. svann

    Uhoh. Now the haters will want to give the hikers back.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • apostate

      i would have swapped Penn for the hikers, maybe not.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dave

    @#$%, Chavez, @#$% Sean Penn and @#$% Ahmadinejass!

    September 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. southern_gent_from_mississippi

    Our country ALSO detains people for entering the country illegally. Should other countries ignore their borders as WE DONT or should these rules only be enforced against those of mexican heritage?

    September 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • victim of democrat hypocrisy

      We don't try illegal aliens as spies and sentence them to 20 years; we deport them.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      Victim, one might also add, the US doesn't go a few miles into Mexican or Canadian territory to kidnap hikers and hold them ransom for $500 K each.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
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