Working to provoke discussion and provide up-to-date information and analysis on US-Venezuelan relations, politics, policies, and culture.

The world of statesmanship can now be divided into at least two camps: the kind of diplomacy that speaks to to nations and movements we disagree with, and the kind of diplomacy that doesn't. President George Bush and the Wall Street Journal belong to the second camp, and we need look only as far as Iraq and North Korea to see where such diplomacy leads. The Bush administration and the Journal don't much like the distribution of lower cost heating oil to poor people in America either. So neither the President nor the editorial page of the Journal have much time for President Chavez and Venezuela. We believe that the first kind of diplomacy needs to be reinvigorated; after all, diplomacy was invented to settle disputes not ignore them, not hope they'll go away, not for the purpose of disparaging or attacking governments like that in Venezuela, even when we have political concerns about how they are conducting their domestic or international political affairs.

We believe in engagement, and we believe in democracy.

On Sunday, the people of Venezuela will go to the polls to decide who their next president should be, an election that will be monited by institutions like The Carter Center and the OAS. If they can abide by the results, so should we. And if the poor here in America are lucky, their access to less expensive heating oil will continue unabated, no matter who wins Venezuela's election. They don't seem to be getting such a deal from the oil companies here or even their own government.


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