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. Maurice

    Hey if Sean Penn has the verbal power to affect reality in such a way that results in the release of wrongfully imprisoned American citizens, then power to him. IN SEAN WE TRUST!

    September 30, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
    • nicetwomeetu

      totally agree, people have been doubting the power of hollywood celebrities for too long, but if you think about it the are more qualified than any of the current politicians to help people, sean penn is a great example. he is way more intelligent and goodlucking than bush or obama, and he can actually get chavez on the phone! LOL, i bet chavez didn't give him a book about how he hates hollywood! LOL!

      September 30, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. mark bewsh

    Sean is what we call a humanist, there are many of us in this world. Sean is also famous thus when he makes comments or wades into the fray with an opinion chances are the media will be all over it. For those of you intent for some on making negative comments regarding people that contribute both time and money to help the less fortunate are suffering in the mind. You need to make more deposits at the KARMA bank and unplug the playstation!

    September 30, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremiah

      My friend, I am a selfless humanist. I do not seek the limelight in return for my actions. Mr. Penn on the other hand is not this great person you make him out to be. He supposedly helped in Hati. How was he able to get his money and supplies through Hati's corrupt customs system when NO other charity was able to do so with out heavy financial losses? If you want to see a selfless Hollywood celebrity look no further than Brad Pitt. He is still working with rebuilding New Orleans when Hollywood and the rest of America has forgotten about them. Why does Penn ignore Americans in their time of need and purposely seek out none American tragedy? Mr. Penn is no humanist he is an opportunist as is Mr. Chavez. It's funny how the comment about the phone call didn't come to light until after the two hikers came out of captivity criticizing US foreign policy. Hugo is all over that free publicity.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. LittleLordHoseaComethUntoU2Say

    Looks like I have stumbled on the biggest bunch of hillbillies slowbots ever. I'll bet none of you finished school let alone have any resemblance of a higher education ...and if you do then you deserve a return of your money.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremiah

      Pretty strong comment coming from someone who most likely never completed grade school themselves.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
    • ThinkLessDoMore

      Your two for two wrong J-man, maybe your crystal ball needs polishing. All Intellect fails in the presence of something never experienced. I'm not very common, but I am human. Riddle me this: Why do you purport to know Penn's motivations so personally?

      September 30, 2011 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    I wish we could have sent them Penn and told them to keep the stupid hikers also. And Chavez isn't dead yet? 🙁

    September 30, 2011 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
    • ThinkLessDoMore

      You fabricate your own version of truth ...NOT MINE.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  5. ThinkLessDoMore

    I like Penn more and more all the time, good for you sir ...if you ever want (i'm sure you don't) to run for office'll have my vote. Above and beyond...outstanding!

    September 30, 2011 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremiah

      Another sheeple falling for any thing because you are not willing or strong enough to stand for anything.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
    • ThinkLessDoMore

      People tend to use a quotes when logic fails. We disagree and that's fine, move along there's nothing YOU can learn here. Your perfect just the way you are.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. Arrrrgh

    Chavez takes guidance from Sean Penn? What kind of bizzaro world does he live in?

    September 30, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. r smith


    September 30, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. ThinkLessDoMore

    Its not bizzaro, its an undermining of power applied by outside sources to make the current american leadership look bad (too late for that). it was pure genius on Penns part regardless of the "common" american sniffling and hurt feelings.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. BobcatUSN

    What a great actor who uses his stardom and foolish thinking he can use it to influence international affairs. Talking to Chavez to influence the Devil in Tehran to free American hostages is like being in bed with the Devils brother. Maybe Penn is in belief that he is as powerful as the other members of the Evil Dictator Guild. Way to go Sean!

    September 30, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kaveman

    Anyone who believes Sean Penn just did some nice deed must have been hiding under a rock for the past decade. This guy is a traitor to the USA. This guy befriends the greatest enemies of the USA. He associates with people who call for our destruction. He is friends with Hugo Chavez, the guy who just gave Russia permission to plant warheads on their soil, pointed towards the USA. The same guy who agreed to be a refueling point for Iranian warships headed to the USA. It repulses me when completely naive people of our country praise Sean Penn. He is an ENEMY of the USA, not a friend.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
    • me again

      Yes What nerve!! Imagine going to the scene of Hurricane Katrina to personally assist in aid efforts even long after the storm. Imagine going for months at a time to help the people of Haiti deal with a devastating earthquake. What a selfish liberal. NOOOOOOOTTTTTT!!!!!!

      September 30, 2011 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
    • o'possum

      Kaveman, the man is a humanitarian! not a traitor. You should spend some time reading up on some of these issues, you will be presently surprised when you begin to understand the underlying reasons...of course all of this only applies if you are willing to listen...

      September 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kaveman


      October 1, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
    • CM

      Anyone afraid of Iranian warships should be stripped of their voting rights. Iran's Navy being a threat to the US is a joke.

      October 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Papa Pete

      Well, at least your name is appropriate, even with the KKK spelling.

      October 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • EB

      Mental masturbation is all I see here. Until someone has something intelligent to say, please just stop talking. Yes, Sean Penn is a Communist by all rights and ok, he helped with the clean up, but who cares.......?

      October 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Canastakid

    Two young men are free and back with family....I do not care who did what or talked to whoever...I do not care if Chavez is a dangerous leader of a country...I do not care if Penn is a liberal....Two young kids are free....all that matters, period.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. trupti

    Hugo Chavez is not an enemy of the American people in general. He hated the previous administration, that doesn't make him anti-american. He hates the massive gap between the rich and the poor that exists in his country; trust me I have been to venezuela, and I have seen how the majority lives in squalor while the rich live in mega mansions.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. NORMAJEAN123

    I agree with Canastakid. They are free that is all that matters.

    September 30, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. Phil McKann

    Sean Penn is clearly delusional if he believes that he had anything to do with it. Please get him some psychiatric help... in Cuba.

    September 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kicklibsout

    This is a total fabrication by a delusional communist (Chavez). Shawn Penn (Hollyweird delusional, too stupid to be a communist) is a complete and utter fool, idiot, traitor, etc. Nothing more needs to be said.

    September 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
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