Call it the first fruits of Barack Obama’s boast in the July 2007 YouTube debate. Obama will meet one-fifth of that obligation in April, when he will apparently meet with Venezuelan dictator-wannabe Hugo Chavez in Trinidad:
United States President, Barack Obama will have a face-to-face meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez in April in Port of Spain, when the two leaders will be among three dozen heads of government and state at the three day Summit of the Americas.
This information was confirmed by Summit Secretariat Communications Co-ordinator, Felipe Noguera.
Top of the agenda of the Summit will be burning energy issues in which both the United States and Venezuela have a keen interest.
The Trinidad Express reported that Noguera told newsmen that Secretariat Chairman, Ambassador Carlos Luis Alberto Rodriguez indicated that Venezuela and the USA were at loggerheads on energy issues to be highlighted in the Declaration of Port of Spain. The declaration — outlining policy goals in coming years for the 34 countries in the Americas in the fields of energy, education, environment and health — will be signed by the leaders during the April 17-19 summit.
Recall that Obama promised to meet with the leaders of five rogue nations “without preconditions” in the first year of his presidency. The question in the debate specifically mentioned Hugo Chavez, along with Kim Jong-Il, Bashar Assad, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and whichever Castro is still breathing. Later, Obama tried to back away from his pledge, saying that “preparations” would take place rather than “preconditions”, but could not articulate the difference between the two.
Now we stand at the event, and we have to wonder what “preparations” have taken place for this summit meeting. Has Chavez stopped funding FARC terrorists? Has Obama even demanded that publicly in these first two weeks in office? If he has, it’s escaped the attention of the press, and certainly Chavez hasn’t repudiated FARC since the discovery of his funding in the Colombian raid last fall.
I have contacted the White House for confirmation of this meeting and to get an answer as to whether “preparations” include a demand for Chavez to stop supporting terrorism in Latin America. I will keep you updated on their response.