North America

Chavez positive on US ties under Obama

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he hopes to be able to work more closely with US government following years of strain in bilateral ties under George W. Bush.

“With Obama we can talk, we are almost from the same generation…. He’s intelligent, he has good intentions and we have to help him,” Chavez told reporters on Monday.

The outspoken Bush-critic chastised the former US president over his foreign policy, once calling him ‘the devil’.

But for Obama, the Venezuelan president said “one can’t deny that Obama is different (from Bush).” “I have no reason to call him the devil, and I hope that I am right.”

Chavez made the comments in Venice, Italy, where US director Oliver Stone was to debut “South of the Border”, which portrays Chavez as a leader who has championed the poor and who has been unfairly demonized by the US media.

The documentary argues that the economy has grown under Chavez and poverty has meaningfully decreased without the help of bailout loans from foreign lenders.

Asked about the first time shrink in Venezuela’s economy in more than five years, Chavez downplayed the fall and insisted there is no recession in the Latin American nation.

“There has been a slight slowdown in growth, but that is something logical because of the great worldwide recession in capitalism,” he said, assuring further decrease in unemployment and a sustained rise in production.

“Venezuela has been affected by the crisis, but has not and will not go into recession.”

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