There is a lesson here for the new Obama administration. It should not engage Chávez in public quarreling and certainly should not work privately against him inside Venezuela. Both approaches are a fool’s errands, ones that leftover Cold War warriors foisted on George W. Bush during his first term. The clever Chávez verbally made Bush into a laughingstock south of the border and badly damaged hemispheric trust in the United States when the Bush administration seemed to endorse a 2002 coup against Chávez that failed.
Obama should merely ignore Chávez and let Venezuelans take care of him.