Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is grateful that actor Sean Penn has defended him against his critics within the U.S. media. In an appearance on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" last week, Penn slammed Chavez critics who refer to the socialist leader as a dictator.
The Oscar-winning celebrity noted that Chavez has won repeated elections and suggested that media critics who call him a dictator should be jailed.
He says that "there should be a bar for which one goes to prison for these kinds of biases."
Penn has visited Chavez several times and frequently defends the president's leftist political policies.
Chavez welcomed Penn's comments Wednesday and thanked the actor for standing up to his detractors.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.