Barack Obama, on May 22:
I would be willing to initiate such talks with leaders of countries adversarial to the United States. There would be a lot of preparation. The first steps would not be to pre-judge all the items on the list. . .
One of the obvious high priorities in my talks with President Hugo Chavez would be the fermentation of anti-American sentiment in Latin America, his support of FARC in Colombia and other issues he would want to talk about. It is important to understand that ignoring these countries has not led to improved behavior on their part and it has not served our national security interests.
[Obama] promised to punish any South American government that gives support to the Colombian rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, an indirect reference to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
“We will shine a light on any support for the FARC that comes from neighboring governments,” he said. “This behavior must be exposed to international condemnation, regional isolation, and — if need be — strong sanctions. It must not stand.”
So Obama will simultaneously isolate Chavez, and also meet with him on topics of his choosing. Neat trick.