Chávez, Evo hail Obama’s victory, call for “new relations”

Hugo Chávez says he is ready to talk to Barack Obama despite the president-elect’s past criticism of the Venezuelan leader. “We are convinced that the hour has arrived to establish new relations between our countries and our regions, based on the principles of respect for sovereignty, equality and true cooperation,” the Venezuelan government statement read. Bolivian President Evo Morales likewise said, “I am sure that relations between the Bolivian government and the US government are going to improve.”

Obama’s win, however, promised to complicate relations with Colombia, which still awaits US Congressional approval of a free-trade agreement signed by the two governments in 2006. In a presidential debate with John McCain, Obama invoked the assassination of labor leaders in Colombia, and said: “For far too long, certainly during the course of the Bush administration with the support of Sen. McCain, the attitude has been that any trade agreement is a good trade agreement.” (Miami Herald, Nov. 6)

NOTE: The Miami Herald text actually read (emphasis added):

During a presidential debate, Obama criticized what he said were the unpunished assassinations of labor leaders in Colombia while talking about the trade agreement.

This is really unacceptable equivocation, given that the killings are well documented.

See our last posts on Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia and the FTA.