Mon, Mar 23, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Obama ignorant about Latin America, Chavez says

AP , CARACAS

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said that US President Barack Obama doesn’t seem to know much about what’s going on in Latin America.

Chavez made the remark in clips of an interview with Al-Jazeera shown late on Friday, also saying Brazil’s president came away from his recent talks with Obama not entirely pleased.

“What I read between the lines,” Chavez said, is that “Obama has for now — and that can be overcome — a great lack of knowledge about what’s really going on here” in Latin America.

The US embassy’s spokeswoman in Caracas, Robin Holzhauer, denied that claim.

“The US government has been actively engaged with Latin America for a long time and that trend is continuing under Obama,” she said.

BUSH LEGACY

The Venezuelan leader also said he believes Obama “is still reading the same garbage the advisers pass on to him.”

He told the pan-Arab TV channel that Obama seems to be taking advice from many of the same officials who worked under former US president George W. Bush.

MIXED SIGNALS

Despite tensions with the US, Chavez has at times expressed hope of better relations with Obama.

Chavez said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva “didn’t leave very pleased with Obama’s response” during their March 14 meeting in Washington.

Chavez had given Lula a green light to discuss Venezuela with Obama.

In Brazil, the presidential press office said it would not immediately comment on Chavez’s remarks.

Venezuela’s president is due to attend a summit in Trinidad next month, where Obama will also be among the leaders.

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