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Hillary Clinton and Hugo Chavez: the face of Obama's engagement

January 3, 2011 |  5:36 pm

Democrat US Secretary of state Hillary Clinton shares a happy moment with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez 1-1-11 at the inauguration of Brazil's first female president Dilma Rousseff adrianomachadoafpgty

A fundamental tenet of President Obama's change to believe in is diplomatic engagement with countries that are less than friendly toward los estados unidos.

The friendly outreach hasn't produced much but embarrassing rebuffs from Iran, which continues down its dangerous path toward nuclear armament. Without receiving anything in return, Obama used a recess appointment last week to return an American ambassador to Syria, which assassinated Lebanon's president, arms militant groups there and continues to meddle in that country's affairs.

Now comes Venezuela's obstreperous President Hugo Chavez. Some will remember his United Nations speech a few years ago the day after President George W. Bush spoke. Chavez said that the sulfurous stench of Bush still hung over the podium, called him "the devil" and said he "came here, talking as if he owned the world."

Obama has since had a couple of pleasant encounters with Chavez at diplomatic affairs. Now, it's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's turn (see photo above). Hay buenos amigos.

The pair had met before to no beneficial end. But just days after each country booted the other's ambassador, Clinton and Chavez obviously shared another warm moment over the weekend in Brazil at the inauguration of that country's first female president, Dilma Rousseff. We'll see what this produces.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Adriano Machado / AFP / Getty Images

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