Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Obama Meets Chavez

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 20, 2009

And it is good.

How do I know? For one thing, several prominent Republicans are going into Full-On Hissy Kabuki Mode over it.

Meanwhile, back at the grown-ups’ table:

The overall “feeling” one gets from the Summit is that Latin American presidents are a bit taken aback – but pleasantly so – at what is a strange and new situation for them: a United States government that arrives at the meeting not to impose decrees or dictate other nation’s policies with blackmail tactics, but, rather, one that many have noted is really trying to listen and learn from its long neglected neighbors.

It’s a block association meeting, basically, one with a new community organizer in the neighborhood, and a very different approach to how things get done.

I can relate, as one who has been reporting on these regional meetings for a dozen years now. I’m almost too familiar with so many of the protagonists: Lula of Brazil, Chávez of Venezuela, Morales of Bolivia (who was a professor in the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, class of ’04), Ortega of Nicaragua (whose 1985 inauguration I attended in Managua), and others like the narco-presidents Uribe of Colombia and Calderon of Mexico who have been the subject of years of investigative reports from this corner. I reported all of their elections. And each of them – including Obama of the USA – look like they feel a little out of place, but in a good way; like, who thought that a Summit of the Americas might ever be this fun and fearless all at once?

What is happening in Port of Spain is almost unrecognizable. It’s going to take some getting used to. But I don’t think there is a single participant or careful observer from any country in the hemisphere that isn’t pinching himself right now wondering, “can this really be happening?”

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