Obama Loses Photo Op War To Chavez (and the Saudi King, and….): Call Oprah!

If photo opportunities don’t matter, why do politiciand travel half the world to get them?  Why did Barack Obama go to Mexico and Trinidad?  Why did the White House exclude the sign of Christ from Georgetown on Tuesday?  Why is Obama going to Notre Dame?

But be careful: Obama isn’t the only master of the photo op, don’t ya know….

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gives U.S. President Barack ... 
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gives U.S. President Barack Obama a copy of “Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina” by author Eduardo Galiano during a meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad April 18, 2009. Photo by Kevin Lamarque, Reuters.
The book Obama accepted is “Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent”
Lefties can buy the book and keep up with Barack’s reading here:

Oprah will want to plug this book and have both Obama and Chavez there!
 Obama, Media Focused On Making Nice While World On The Brink?

“I am Ashamed To Be Here While Cuba is Excluded”

 Obama At Summit of The Americas: The Neighbors Are Restless

Obama, Pelosi, Democrats Woo Spanish Speaking Voters



Asked about Obama’s meeting so many dictators, Washington Examiner Political Editor Chris Stirewalt said, “It’s a big risk for President Obama.”

Israel today condemned the Swiss president for a planned meeting with Iran’s President Ahmadinejad….
Israel Condemns Meeting With Iran’s Ahmadinejad


Asked about the Obama-Chavez encounters, the Obama spokesperson said, “Chavez is always wanting to make a splash.”

Then why did you allow him to do that?


Obama also met Daniel Ortega of Niceragua, who promptly tore into the United States over Cuba and the G-20 nations for dragging down the world’s economy.

“It is not fair. It is not ethical. It is not equitable,” Ortega said of the way the G-20s actions have impacted Central American countries. And he called for “a G-192” of all members of the United Nations “to find a new solution to the crisis.”


From Jake Tapper at ABC

Obama politely posed for a photograph with Chavez, shook his hand, and accepted the gift.

The book, first published in Spanish in 1971, offers a critique of the consequences of 500 years of European and U.S. colonization of Latin America.

“The division of labor among nations is that some specialize in winning and others in losing,” the book begins. “Our part of the world, known today as Latin America, was precocious: it has specialized in losing ever since those remote times when Renaissance Europeans ventured across the ocean and buried their teeth in the throats of the Indian civilizations. Centuries passed, and Latin America perfected its role.”

Galeano writes that while the era of “lodes of gold” and “mountains of silver” has passed, “our region still works as a menial laborer. It continues to exist at the service of others’ needs, as a source of oil and iron, of copper and meat, of fruit and coffee, the raw materials and foods destined for rich countries which profit more from consuming them than Latin America does from producing them.”

At another point in the book, Galeano writes: “Our defeat was always implicit in the victory of others; our wealth has always generated our poverty by nourishing the prosperity of others.”

The book also criticizes the U.S. for “spreading and imposing family planning. … In Latin America it is more hygienic and effective to kill future guerillas in the womb that in the mountains or the streets.”

Hugo Chavez

Banned in Uruguay and Chile when it was first published, “Open Veins of Latin America” is considered a classic in Latin America.

In Isabel Allende’s foreword to later versions of the book, the Chilean-American writer says that Galeano “has more first-hand knowledge of Latin America than anybody else I can think of, and uses it to tell the world of the dreams and disillusions, the hopes and the failures of its people. … Galeano denounces exploitation with uncompromising ferocity, yet this book is almost poetic in its description of solidarity and human capacity for survival in the midst of the worst kind of despoliation.”

The copy of the book Chavez gave Obama appears to be in Spanish, a language Obama does not speak.

At the start of the first plenary session at the Summit of the Americas later this morning, President Obama was asked what he thought of Chavez’s gift.

“You know, I thought it was one of Chavez’s books,” Obama answered. “I was going to give him one of mine.”





From Fox News

Apparently a handshake and a smile wasn’t enough for Hugo Chavez. The Venezuelan strongman followed up a brief encounter Friday with President Obama by apparently trying Saturday at a regional summit to recruit Obama into his book club.

In front of photographers, Chavez gave Obama a copy of “The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent,” a book by Eduardo Galeano, which chronicles U.S. and European economic and political interference in the region.

Later, when a reporter asked Obama what he thought of the book, the president replied: “I thought it was one of Chavez’ books. I was going to give him one of mine.”

The exchange, on the first full day of meetings at Summit of the Americas on the two-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, followed a brief grip-and-grin encounter the previous evening, when Obama greeted Chavez in Spanish. Obama exchanged handshakes and pats on the back with Chavez, who once likened President George W. Bush to the devil. 

“I think it was a good moment,” Chavez said about their initial encounter. “I think President Obama is an intelligent man, compared to the previous U.S. president.”

Obama was taking part in a series of plenary sessions, group gatherings and one-on-one meetings that the White House hoped to squeeze into a busy schedule. He hoped to make time for individual sessions with leaders from Canada, Colombia, Peru, Haiti and Chile, aides reported.

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Bolivian President ... 
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Bolivian President Evo Morales during the opening ceremony of the 5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain April 17, 2009. REUTERS/Xinhua/David de la Paz

Obama was noncommittal about a possible meeting with Chavez, who criticized past U.S. policy at the summit, but expressed hope that relations between the nations would change.

“I think we’re making progress at the summit,” was all Obama would say.

At his first meeting with South American leaders, Obama waited several minutes while security officers and members of the media pushed noisily into the room. Somebody accidentally hit a light switch, prompting Obama to ask: “Who turned off the lights, guys?” 

He said he hoped events would go more smoothly during the meeting where he said he would talk to the leaders about energy, security and other topics. “I have a lot to learn and I’m very much looking forward to listening,” the president said.

In an opening speech to the 34-nation gathering on Friday, the president promised a new agenda for the Americas, as well as a new style.

“We have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms,” Obama said to loud applause. “But I pledge to you that we seek an equal partnership. There is no senior partner and junior partner in our relations.”

He also extended a hand to a leader Ronald Reagan spent years trying to drive from power: Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega. The Sandinista president stepped up and introduced himself, U.S. officials reported.

Yet soon after, Ortega, who was ousted in 1990 elections that ended Nicaragua’s civil war but who was returned to power by voters in 2006, delivered a blistering 50-minute speech that denounced capitalism and U.S. imperialism as the root of much hemispheric mischief. The address even recalled the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, though Ortega said the new U.S. president could not be held to account for that.

“I’m grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old,” Obama said, to laughter and applause from the other leaders.

But perhaps the biggest applause line was his call for a fresh start in relations between Washington and Havana.

“I know there’s a longer journey that must be traveled to overcome decades of mistrust, but there are critical steps we can take toward a new day,” he said.

In January, Chavez said Obama had the same “stench” as former President Bush after Obama criticized Chavez for backing the FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces of Columbia) guerillas in neighboring Columbia. Earlier this month during a trip to Iran, Chavez said he doubted relations would improve with the U.S. because Obama was still “president of an empire.”

“I hope President Obama is the last president of the Yankee Empire, and the first president of a truly democratic republic, the United States,” Chavez said, after declaring a visit to Tehran “is like arriving at one’s own home.”

And Chavez has threatened to veto a declaration on economic, security and environmental policies negotiated by the 34 nations attending the summit. The declaration is merely a statement of principles and has no enforcement mechanisms so the Venezuelan veto is essentially meaningless. Still, it caught U.S. officials by surprise since Chavez’s government had been party to months of talks leading up to the declaration’s drafting.

Ortega, a frequent echo chamber for Chavez’s pronouncements, announced here late Friday that Nicaragua would also veto the declaration.

President Barack Obama looks at the book titled 'The Open Veins ... 
President Barack Obama looks at the book titled ‘The Open Veins of Latin America’ by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, after Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez handed it to him during a UNASUR countries meeting at the Summit of the Americas on Saturday, April 18, 2009 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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