Latin America is buzzing about new reports that Hugo Chavez is gay. The claim was made in a Spanish newspaper editorial by a leading Spanish journalist named Luis María Ansón.

The piece, entitled “Chavez and Homosexuality,” was published by the respected El Mundo newspaper citing informed sources. You can read a full translation of the blockbuster piece.

This bit of rumor helps explain why naughty Hugo pictures are raging in popularity.

Now I can go into all of the disclaimers about how it doesn’t matter if Hugo Chavez is gay. We are, after all, a western civilization of enlightened tolerance, blah blah. Yada yada. End of cliche.

After all, as Luis María Ansón put it, “the problem of Chávez is not, in any case, his sexual condition but a political system that tries to impose and tries to root out any vestige of political freedom.”

Maybe.

On the other hand, it is fair to ask if Hugo’s sexual preferences might go a long way toward explaining his persecution of the Catholic church establishment in Venezuela. Although it may feel good to say that his sexuality should not matter to us, it is possible that it has mattered quite dramatically to those religious conservatives he is opposing in Venezuela.

And it is a rather interesting revelation, is it not?