The war of words has heated up between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice following his admonition to America, where he advised "Go to hell, gringos! Go home!"

"We already are home," Rice said initially in a measured statement. "You're the ones that need to go home. You know what? You're a big bully. You always have to give your Presidential radio speech on Sunday morning when you know full well that our President gives his on Saturday. But that's the way bullies are - always trying to get in the last word."

Privately Rice pondered the deeper meaning of Chaves' missive, particularly the part in which he said "What does the empire want? Condoleezza said it. How are you? You've forgotten me, missy."

"The 'missy' part really bothered her," said one senior aide who spoke off the record. "At first it was reported that Chavez had called her 'my little girl', and she was like 'Okay, a bit overly familiar, but okay'. But then when she read the speech in the original Spanish, she was quick to pick up the fact that there was no 'mi pequeña muchacha' in sight, only 'missy'. Apparently the translator had been trying to spare her feelings."

Linguist Stanley Greened weighed in on the possible subtext. "'Missy' is not a Spanish word, it's an American word, used primarily by members of the upper class. Although it originally meant 'young girl', it has long been seen as a condescending and dismissive term, the sort of name that might be given to an insubordinate child. For example, 'you clean up this mess right now, little missy, or there shan't be cake for you tonight'. Harsh, isn't it? One can well understand how Ms Rice could get upset."

Speaking to reporters later today, Rice referred to Chavez as 'President Pene Perro', and intimated that she may yet toss her hat into the presidential ring "just to see that híbrido sweat."


©2007, Mark Hoback