This probably won’t quell any criticism, but Sean Penn told reporters in Venezuela that his meeting with President Hugo Chavez and tour of the countryside is as a freelance journalist.
“I’m going to write. I’m here as a journalist,” Penn told The Associated Press. “So I’m not going to give quotes to anyone. But I’m having a great trip, very interesting.
“I’m just here to take it in like everybody else.”
Chavez, however, has played up the visit and praised Penn as an opponent of the war in Iraq and for his call to impeach President Bush. Chavez has won support from Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte., both of whom have visited the country since he assumed power.
Maria Conchita Alonso, who grew up in Venezuela, has been outspoken in her opposition to Chavez and critical of Hollywood types who’ve been there. Alonso said that she hopes that Penn “comes to his senses and realizes that he’s being used.”