Sean Penn, Mario Conchite Alonso

Eric Ryan/Getty Images; David Livingston/Getty Images

If Maria Conchita Alonso isn't careful, Sean Penn will be sending her to jail along with all those free-speaking journalists.

Born in Cuba, but raised in Venezuela, the actress has penned an open letter to Hugo Chavez's self-appointed BFF, countering his claims that the de facto dictator is the best thing to happen to South America since…well, judging by his gushing effusiveness, ever.

Alonso's opinion of the self-installed leader, however, aligns a little more closely with the rest of the world, and she schools the actor-turned-sometime revolutionary on how it really is:

"Dear Sean," she begins. "WHY?"

"Even though I have great respect for your artistic talent, I was appalled by a recent television interview where you vigorously showed support for the regime of Hugo Chavez. Therefore, I've decided to set the record straight for you regarding the Chavez regime, supporting my case based not only on my political ideologies, but on proven facts you choose to ignore. Otherwise, I believe your position would be different."

Alonso went on to challenge Penn on all manner of issues, including the supposed transparency of the country's elections, violations by Chavez of Venezuela's constitution, his 92 percent control of media communications, his reputed antisemitism, the country's growing poverty rate, and various other instances of corruption.

"Being born in Cuba, a country where freedom of speech is nonexistent, it's startling to observe how Venezuela, where I was happily raised, is fast becoming Cuba's mirror image: Dismantling of fundamental democratic rights deserved by its people and citizens of the world."

She goes on to call Chavez "a man whose self-proclaiming ego is blinded by power," and answers Penn's claims that he's a generous guy by admitting that he gives away "millions of dollars," albeit "to other countries in order to build a false sense of philanthropy."

The word "touché" comes to mind.

"WHY do you validate a government that has converted Venezuela into the second most dangerous country in the world, where impunity is above 90% and its people live in a constant state of stress and fear of getting killed?" she asked.

"Sean, you have the right to say what you want, but as far as I know, your statements are contradictory to Freedom of Speech…My intention isn't to convince you, but to let you know what is truly happening in this beautiful country of noble people, Venezuela. I would encourage you to investigate in depth the 'inside story' and realize for yourself the dark side behind the person you choose to idolize.

"Agreed, Chavez did win his first elections, but like Hitler, he betrayed what the country gave him: The vote of confidence."

Turns out, only one pen is mighty. And it ain't Sean.


Alonso's not the only star bringing attention to her native land. Check out our gallery of Charlize Theron's South African homecoming!

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