”increasing pressure by conservatives on [sic] the United States to sanction Venezuela, especially because of its ties with Iran. Under Bush, the Conservatives were tolerant with the administration's policy. Under Obama, this tolerance is waning. "
Chavez has been best buds with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a very long time, this is not something new, so why Obama chose this moment to blast him is somewhat suspect, albeit justified.
Predictably, Chavez (who believes it has everything to do with next year's elections), blasted back at Obama calling him "a clown" and an "embarrassment", and essentially told him to butt out. On state TV Chavez told Obama to
“Focus on governing your country, which you've turned into a disaster
"Mr. Obama decided to attack us. Now you want to win votes by attacking Venezuela. Don't be irresponsible. You are a clown, a clown. Leave us in peace … Go after your votes by fulfilling that which you promised your people.”
“Go and ask the black communities of your country what you are for them: the greatest frustration. Go and ask the poor people of your country what you mean for them, a great frustration."
As much truth as there might be in Chavez's words, can you say 'pot- kettle-black. Chavez is one of the world's greatest buffoons, an even greater embarrassment, and has managed to turn his country into a major disaster.
In an interview with the Venezuelan newspaper, El Universal, Obama said,
“It seems to me that the ties between Venezuela's government and Iran and Cuba have not served the interests of Venezuela and its people.”
He also expressed his concerns about the threat to democracy in Venezuela. Those threats have been around way before Obama took office, so why the concern now is rather odd.
Of course there's also speculation that Chavez, who is also up for re-election in 2012, and isn't about to lose that one, was trying to get some election leverage out of his rebuke. Corrales said that while
"Obama's motives for doing the interview were less predictable [snip] Chávez response was predictable. ”Chávez seizes every opportunity he can find to have a fight with the U.S and his response to this interview follows that line faithfully."
It will be interesting to see if either of their tactics will work in getting them reelected.
I hope not.