At summit, Obama gets friendly with Chavez
By Mark S. Smith
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) — President Barack Obama extended a hand of friendship to America’s hemispheric neighbors on Saturday at a summit where he offered a new beginning for U.S.-Cuba relations and accepted a book about the exploitation of Latin America from Venezuela’s fiery, anti-American leader.
As the first full day of meetings began on the two-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, Obama exchanged handshakes and pats on the back with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who once likened President George W. Bush to the devil. In front of photographers, Chavez gave Obama a copy of “The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent,” a book by Eduardo Galeano, which chronicles U.S. and European economic and political interference in the region.
Later, when a reporter asked Obama what he thought of the book, the president replied: “I thought it was one of Chavez’ books. I was going to give him one of mine.”
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