International,  Obama

Chavez vs. Obama: round one

Now that his favorite enemy, George “El Diablo” Bush, is on the way out, Hugo Chavez is already going after his successor.

Somehow I don’t think it’s going to work as well for him this time.

In an interview shown in the past week on the Spanish-language network Univision, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said that Venezuela’s firebrand president, Hugo Chávez, has hindered progress in Latin America, and he expressed concern that Chávez’s leftist government has assisted Colombia’s biggest guerrilla movement, a group the United States considers a terrorist organization. Chávez responded this weekend by saying that Obama had “the same stench” as President Bush, a frequent target of Chávez’s remarks.
Obama said his administration is open to starting talks with Chávez to improve relations, which have frayed badly since the Bush administration celebrated Chávez’s brief overthrow at the hands of rebellious military officers in 2002. But in the 13-minute interview aired by Univision, Obama said Chávez had “been a force that has interrupted progress in the region.”

Obama made similar criticisms of Chavez during his campaign for president.

“He said I’m an obstacle for progress in Latin America,” Chávez said in a speech to supporters in Caracas. “Therefore, it must be removed, this obstacle, right?”

The Venezuelan leader said that Obama is following orders from dark forces inside “the empire,” as he refers to the United States. “If he doesn’t obey the orders of the empire, they’ll kill him,” Chávez said, without offering details or proof.

Is this destined to be the “anti-imperialist” Left’s mantra about Obama: that he is not actually in control, but simply the tool of those with the real power?