|''We ask only for respect ... nothing else,'' says President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.|
Chávez: Obama ignorant on Latin America
CARACAS - President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela yesterday called President Obama "ignorant," saying he has a lot to learn about Latin America.
The Venezuelan leader said he had been ready to name a new ambassador in Washington when Obama took office, but put that on hold after the new US president accused him of "exporting terrorism" and being an obstacle to progress in the region.
"At least one could say, 'poor ignorant person,' " Chávez said on his weekly television and radio program, adding that Obama "should read a little bit so that he learns about . . . the reality of Latin America."
Chávez and Obama both plan to attend a summit of leaders from across the Americas next month in Trinidad and Tobago. There, Chávez said he will make a case for Cuba to be included in regional talks, saying "we can no longer continue to accept the impositions of the US empire."
"We ask only for respect for Venezuela, nothing else," Chávez said. "If Obama respects us, we'll respect him."
Chávez said he showed some of the US administration's critical remarks about him to US Representative William Delahunt when the Massachusetts Democrat visited Caracas last week.
"They keep pointing to me as the bad boy, as the one who attacks," Chávez said.
"Who started the attack first? Obama."
The US Embassy in Caracas did not immediately return a call seeking comment yesterday.