Opinion: Czech President Vaclav Klaus steals expensive pen from poor, quake-stricken Chile


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Wow! Be careful. If you have this guy over for dinner, don’t use the good silver.

Watch his right hand in this hilarious video.

He’s Vaclav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic. He’s actually in front of a large news conference in Chile with that country’s leader, Sebastian Pinera. Remember, Pinera and his wife hosted President Obama and his family during their recent South American tour?

In this video, despite Klaus’ grumpy looks, the two men are celebrating the signing of a new transport agreement by their respective foreign ministers. It’s pretty amazing. While Pinera goes on in Spanish about their bilateral friendship, Klaus takes the ceremonial pen from the box.

He admires it. Turns it over. Slips it into his hand. Drops his hands beneath the table. Switches the pen to his left hand and drops the pen into his pocket. Before putting both hands back on the table as blithely and innocently as you please. Then, he resumes intently listening to the translation through his earpiece.


Who could possibly notice this gambit except perhaps a couple of hundred people and dozens of rolling cameras staring at the diplomatic duo on the platform?

Back home Klaus’ aides are explaining to an inquiring nation today that keeping such ceremonial pens is a Czech tradition. True enough, President Klaus does not attempt to wipe any fingerprints off the box.

But if it’s an accepted tradition, why did the Czech president act so surreptitiously, like a shoplifter, complete with eye fakes?

Why not upon leaving just take the whole pen and box? Instead of carefully closing the box, without looking, to hide its glaring new emptiness?

What do you think? Is this presidential pol a pen pilferer? Does this mean war?

-- Andrew Malcolm

Speaking of light fingers, use yours to click here and follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We’re also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.