Madam Secretary

Chávez reaches out to Hillary

Chávez reaches out to Hillary

Hillary Clinton with Hugo Chávez, April 18, 2009

At this weekend’s Summit of the Americas, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez reached out to Secretary Clinton to talk about posting ambassadors in Caracas and Washington. (And based on the April 18 photo above, it looks like Clinton in return did a bit of reaching out, too, in the literal sense.)

An Obama administration official told CNN, “We don’t know yet if Chávez is serious. … We’re not rushing into this.”

Clinton might agree about the rushing part. When she was running for the presidential nomination in 2007, she told CNN, “I don’t want to see the power and prestige of the United States president put at risk by rushing into meetings with the likes of Chávez and Castro and Ahmadinejad.”

Remember, Chávez is the man who last month called President Obama an “ignoramus” and said “he should read and study a little to understand reality.” (I suppose that’s why Chávez gave Obama a copy of Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent.)

Still, it looks like Clinton’s State Department is happy about the tiny baby step taken in the U.S.-Venezuela relationship. The department’s spokesman Robert Wood said, “This is a positive development that will help advance U.S. interests, and the State Department will now work to further this shared goal.”

Photo: PRESIDENCIA/AFP/Getty Images