The Washington Post editorial page regularly slams Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, so it was no surprise to see it do the same on April 30. Their real point, though, was to suggest that Barack Obama’s desire to change the tone of the U.S.-Venezuelan relationship wasn’t going to work:
The administration’s strategy–to open up a constructive dialogue with Venezuela and avoid being cast as Mr. Chavez’s Yanqui foil–is reasonable; it is also the same strategy as was tried, unsuccessfully, by the previous two administrations.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone believes that the Bush administration’s Venezuela policy amounted to “constructive dialogue.” The Bush administration–at the very least–seemed to approve of the April 2002 coup that briefly removed Chavez from power. And Bush policy after that disaster was hardly more “constructive.”
Even more curious is the Post‘s suggestionthat President Bill Clinton had similar trouble with Chavez.That sounds implausible; Chavez was elected in 1998 and took office the following year–leaving verylittle time for Clinton’s generous attempts at dialogueto be rebuffedby Chavez. Chavez, for his part, told Post co-owner Lally Weymouth that he “entertained the best of relations with the Clinton administration.” (See Extra!, 11-12/06.)
But when it’s Hugo Chavez they’re talking about, apparently, for the Post editorial page the facts don’t matter.