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Some of the crappiest reporting I've seen in a while:

CARACAS (Reuters) – Capitalism may be to blame for the lack of life on the planet Mars, Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday.  "I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and finished off the planet," Chavez said in speech to mark World Water Day.

It's a joke, folks.  A bit of analysis inside the cut.  As if analysis should really be necessary.

Chávez has a fairly working-class Latin American sense of humor.  This stuff about "maybe capitalism killed the Martians" is supposed to be humorous, precisely because of it being fantastic and, um, otherworldly.  You're supposed to picture imaginary Martians being wiped out by desertification caused by excessive resource explotation, and take their imaginary

You don't have to agree with Chávez or even like him, but come on, get the damn context right.  It's not even a big leap for an English speaker to understand this.  Just take the Reuters translation and change it to more informal English.  Throw in the word "dude" somewhere, it helps:

"Dude, I've always said, heard that, you know, maybe there had been civilization on Mars.  But if there way, they must've had capitalism over there too, and it totally wiped them out.  I mean, that'd totally do it, wouldn't it?  Dude."

As an aside, I've found more than one version of the quote in Spanish-language media.  I kinda fear that at least one of these is translated back to Spanish from the English wire reports:

“No sería extraño que en Marte haya habido civilización, pero a lo mejor llegó allá el capitalismo, llegó el imperialismo y acabó con ese planeta”

"Yo siempre he dicho que no sería extraño que hubiese habido civilización en Marte, pero tal vez el capitalismo y el imperialismo llegaron y terminó el planeta".

"En Marte siempre he dicho, oído, que no sería extraño si supiéramos que hubo civilización alguna en Marte, pero tal vez el capitalismo llegó ahí, el imperialismo llegó y terminó con el planeta."

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