Despite a simmering diplomatic row, President Hugo Chavez and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were seen having a brief, friendly chat at the inauguration of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.
The encounter Saturday came only three days after the United States revoked the visa of Venezuela’s ambassador in Washington, in reprisal for Chavez’s rejection of the US president’s appointed ambassador to Caracas.
A Brazilian official who witnessed the encounter told AFP, “It looked like a social conversation, both were smiling,” and Chavez later confirmed the amiable tenor of their conversation in an interview with Venezuelan state television.
“Mrs Clinton, the secretary of state, appeared. She was smiling, very pleased, and so was I,” said Chavez. “We greeted each other and spoke about a few things,” he said.
“It was a pleasant moment, but we took advantage of it and spoke of two or three timely things,” he said without elaborating.
At one point, Chavez extended his hand to Clinton, who shook it, smiling. They chatted for a few minutes before moving on to formally greeting Rousseff.
Birds of a feather…