The long awaited meeting between The One and The Other One from Venezuela has finally occurred. Obama was able to shake hands in what appeared to be a pat to the back kind of greeting of old friends with big smiles.
Fox News reports:
President Obama shook hands with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez on Friday at the opening of the Summit of the Americas being held this weekend in Trinidad and Tobago.
Photos released by the Venezuelan government show Obama clasping Chavez’s hand and smiling broadly, and Venezuela quoted Chavez as saying, “I’d like to be your friend,” while noting that he shook President Bush’s eight years ago.
Obama reportedly expressed thanks, though this couldn’t immediately be confirmed with the Obama administration.
Earlier Friday, Dan Restrepo, the president’s top Western Hemisphere adviser on the National Security Council, had told FOX News Obama might cross paths with Chavez.
“A chance encounter if it occurs,” Restrepo said, in describing such a meeting. “Let’s put the animosities behind us. Let’s not have old arguments.
“Let’s not have tired ideological arguments. Let’s get down to figuring out how we can advance things that are in our national interest. Things that matter to the United States that should matter to Venezuela. Putting the arguments and ideologies of the past aside and working on pragmatic solutions to real problems that face our countries today,” he said.
Chavez, the Venezuelan president, has been an outspoken critic of the United States, and in particular former President George W. Bush. Since Obama’s election, Chavez has varied from insult to optimism in his assessment of the new U.S. president.
Flashback to Hugo Chavez’s greatest hits in 2006:
Oh happy day indeed! Perhaps The One can bring make Chavez his South American relations Czar.
In store for the next 4 years will be President Obama shaking hands with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, you can rest assured.