Obama damaging chances of dialogue with Cuba, Venezuela: Chavez

July 18th, 2008 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Barack Obama

Caracas, July 18 (IANS) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said US presidential hopeful Barack Obama is damaging by his hostile rhetoric possible dialogue with Venezuela and Cuba that he promised to open, should he win. “(Obama) says he would like to talk with the governments of Cuba and Venezuela if he becomes president, but the way he’s going he’s dynamiting any possibility,” Chavez was quoted by EFE news agency as saying.

The Venezuelan president’s comment came during a meeting Wednesday with a delegation of the country’s ruling party in the capital in the run up to the regional elections.

Obama had reportedly accused Chavez of destroying Latin America.

During an interview with EFE this past weekend, Obama said that Chavez was “a destructive force in the region.”

He accused Chavez of “undemocratic” policies and his anti-American statements, but said a dialogue with Venezuela was still possible.

Obama told the news agency that, if he made it to the White House in the November election, he would seek closer ties with Latin America but would also use “the carrot and the stick” in defending US interests in the region.

Chavez, a socialist who regularly attacks US foreign policy, is accused by his domestic opponents of seeking to install a Cuba-style communist state in Venezuela.

During the primaries, Obama had been criticised for saying he would be willing to meet the leaders of countries such as Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea without pre-conditions.

His more critical comments about Venezuela came in the context of his attempt to appeal to centrist voters ahead of the November general election.

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