President Barack Obama has done something his predecessor had refused to do in recent years, shake Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' hand. The two leaders met outside the main hall on Friday evening at the Summit of the Americas in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad before leaders were ushered in for remarks. The Venezuelan government released a photo of the two men grasping hands and smiling. According to Venezuelan officials, Chavez told President Obama, "Eight years ago I greeted President Bush with this same hand. I'd like to be your friend."
Relations between the United States and Venezuela have deteriorated during the last administration. U.S. officials believe Chavez stands in the way of freedom for his countrymen and others in Latin America while Chavez believes the U.S. should respect his country's sovereignty.
President Chavez in a speech before the United Nations once referred to President George W. Bush while he was in office as "diablo" or the devil.