A new approach to Chávez

Regarding the article “Venezuela ready to talk, but it’s not that simple” (Jan. 7): President-elect Barack Obama would be well advised to reassess America’s current relations with Hugo Chávez, even if the result is little more than a limited relationship between two sparring partners.

As the article suggests, an Obama presidency provides U.S. policy makers with a potential platform to improve relations among the U.S. and several of its foes. Chávez is seen by some of the less-tutored Washington policy makers as taking on Fidel Castro’s mantle, while many Latin Americans see him as the symbolic voice for those who Washington has all too often ignored. Obama may be open to a more responsive U.S. policy toward Cuba, where a five-decade long embargo has failed.

There is no reason to believe that a similarly sterile Venezuela policy will fare any better. Obama can disagree with Venezuela – and Cuba – while also treating them as legitimate partners for business.

Source: A new approach to Chávez; Prosecuting public officials; The will of the people (this link may be broken)