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New video shows less friendly encounter between Obama and Chavez

April 20, 2009 |  2:38 pm

US Democratic president Barack Obama chats with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas 4-17-09

Venezuelan television has broadcast new video of another conversation between President Obama and Venezuela's bombastic leader Hugo  Chavez.

Critics of the new U.S. administration have begun gaining some online ground this week suggesting that a naive Obama was being too chummy with dictators in his early foreign policy initiatives with Cuba and forays abroad.

The widely displayed photo above from last week of an apparently quite pleasant conversation between Obama and Chavez with huge smiles fueled such criticism. Obama himself has dismissed such talk, calling it merely a polite encounter with the leader of a country that owns Citgo and has 1/600th the military budget of the United States.

Now, thanks to Jake Tapper's blog entry over at ABC this afternoon, we've got fresh Venezuelan news videotape from the same Americas summit  through a door showing the two leaders conversing through a female interpreter.

No smiles in this exchange. In fact, Obama at first appears eager to walk away and is held back by Chavez. The American president then dominates the ongoing discussion and is seen gesturing with his right hand and pointing his finger several times at Chavez's chest.

No word yet from the White House on the contents of this little-known exchange. But it appears to shed a different light on the encounter. Watch the video below closely.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Alfonso Ocando / EPA

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