Gadhafi Goes Window Shopping in Venezuela Resort

By: Fabiola Sanchez - AP Writer
By: Fabiola Sanchez - AP Writer

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi took a break from railing against colonialism at a summit in Venezuela to go window shopping, buy jewelry and mingle with stunned tourists at a Caribbean resort.

Wearing a brown, loose shirt and dark sunglasses, Gadhafi left most of his security guards behind at the Hilton Hotel on Margarita Island to duck into luxury stores and stroll by the pool as tourists gawked at the Islamic leader who has forged strong ties with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

"I felt very nervous, and excited, seeing him in front of me," said Mariela Cartaya, a 30-year-old tourist from Venezuela's mainland. "I never thought I'd see him so close."

Gadhafi allowed Cartaya and her son, Aron, to pose for a photograph alongside him inside one of the hotel's stores.

"He told me to give him a bit of space," Cartaya said. "He half hugged the child."

Gadhafi later strolled into the Queen Zebra, a store specializing in jewelry and African-inspired arts and crafts. He purchased a chain and ring made of gold and silver encrusted with precious stones from South Africa, store owner Mariza Serapioni said.

Gadhafi also took a tour of Margarita Island. He returned to the hotel with bags full of clothes and perfumes.

Chavez and Gadhafi led a weekend summit where South American and
African leaders pledged to deepen links between the continents.

It was Gadhafi's first visit to Latin America, and he used the summit to lash out at "imperialism," colonialism and the West's war on terrorism.


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