Hill, Chavez Play Nice At Inauguration
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Venezuelan flying monkey Hugo Chavez were all smiles at the inauguration of Brazil President Dilma Rousseff on Saturday, playing off growing tensions between the two countries that have left each of them without diplomats.
“The encounter Saturday came only three days after the United States revoked the visa of Venezuela’s ambassador in Washington, in reprisal for Chavez’s rejection of the US president’s appointed ambassador to Caracas,” notes AFP.
Chavez has rejected Larry Palmer as the Obama administration’s diplomat to Caracas, and dared Washington to break off diplomatic relations if it did not like his decision. Washington has revoked the visa of Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez, who was back home on vacation, in response.
In a Senate confirmation hearing, Palmer said he had issues with Venezuelean attitudes towards the freedom of speech, reports CNN. Palmer also said there are “clear ties” between the Venezuelan government and Marxist guerrillas in Columbia.
While milling about with the presidents of Chile and Colombia and the prime minister of Portugal, Clinton came upon Chavez. The two cordially talked, although nobody has told reporters what their conversation was about.
Chavez then extended his hand to Clinton, and she accepted it. The two continued talking for several minutes, until moving on to formally congratulate Rousseff on becoming Brazil’s first female president.
“Mrs. Clinton, the secretary of state, appeared. She was smiling, very pleased, and so was I,” Chavez told reporters with state-run TVT later. “We greeted each other and spoke about a few things,” he said.
“It was a pleasant moment, but we took advantage of it and spoke of two or three timely things,” he said without elaborating further.
American conservatives have condemned Clinton for shaking hands with the Socialist dictator. “This is the product of appeasement, not strength,” wrote the editors of Investors.com in an op-ed. Many are saying the Obama administration is looking weak by not taking a hard stance against America’s enemies.