White House defends Obama's gesture with Chavez | world | Hindustan Times
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White House defends Obama's gesture with Chavez

President Barack Obama's friendly gesture with his Venezuelan counterpart during the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago is in tune with what he promised during his campaign that there needs to be a change in the way the foreign policy is being conducted, a senior White House official said.

world Updated: Apr 21, 2009 11:46 IST

President Barack Obama's friendly gesture with his Venezuelan counterpart during the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago is in tune with what he promised during his campaign that there needs to be a change in the way the foreign policy is being conducted, a senior White House official said.

A number of political commentators and Republican leaders in particular have been fuming at Obama for his apparent friendly posture with the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who has been known for his anti-American views.

Obama was apparently seen laughing and joking with Chavez, who is considered one of the most anti-US presidents. "This isn't about what any person has to gain. This is about what a country has to gain," the White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, told reporters when asked about the growing criticism against Obama on this issue.

"Obama's efforts are in tune with what he promised during his campaign that there needs to be a change in the way the foreign policy is being conducted," he said.

"Look at what we got just simply out of this weekend. Two years ago, Hugo Chavez kicked our ambassador out of Caracas; wanted nothing to do with being a responsible part of a community of nations. Now, the Venezuelans have, as I understand it, put names forward to put an ambassador back in place here," Gibbs said.