Chilean president praises Chavez, rejects “leftist wave”
Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, whose term expires March 11, had kind words for controversial Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez at an economic forum in Santiago.
Dismissing fears expressed in Washington D.C. of a “leftist wave” sweeping Latin America as a “rather superficial analysis”, he reproached critics for demonizing the Venezuelan leader.
“Hugo is a force of nature unleashed, he is a man of great charisma and I believe that his efforts to defeat poverty have led him to take a path of great participation….I think he has had the good luck of very high oil prices, which has allowed him to do what he does”, Lagos said.
Brazil president wants Bush, Chavez chat
BRASILIA, Brazil - Brazil's president says he'd like to get President Bush and ardent U.S. critic Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to sit down together and talk out their differences.
"I told President Bush that, before my term of office ends, I want to see him and Chavez seated at the same table," Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told The Economist in an interview published Friday on the British magazine's Web site.
Relations between Venezuela, the world's fifth largest oil exporter, and the U.S. have gradually deteriorated, leading to the recent expulsion of diplomats from each country and threats by Caracas to cut oil shipments to the U.S.
For his part, the left-leaning Silva was at first was distrusted by Washington. But he surprised many by curbing spending, bringing down inflation, and enacting programs to distribute food and boost education among the poor.