Much as I despise Hugo Chavez, he’s taken on a decidedly different approach since the US elections. Two weeks ago, this is the man who blamed everything bad on the “Yanqis.” Today, he’s interested in diplomatic solutions.
Last weekend, US State Department officials expelled 12 Venezuelan diplomats after failing to follow the protocol for relocating the Houston consulate. Personally, this seems like a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense, but I guess that in geopolitical affairs, anything can be strategic. And, in view of strained relations between Venezuela and the US, one would reasonably expect this to be a serious issue.
To give some perspective, this is a situation that has been a technicality since at least early October. No one paid it much mind until the State Department told the Venezuelan diplomats to go home. Since Houston is the Home of Big Oil, and Chavez hates the US anyway, you’d expect quite a diatribe from Venezuela. On the contrary, Chavez fired the Consul for not following the rules. A Venezuelan got sacked for not following US rules?
I still personally hate Hugo and won’t buy Citgo products because it’s Venezuelan owned. But the man’s shown he’s not stupid. He’s hedging his bets to see what happens with the new administration. Maybe the Russians aren’t such great friends after all and the Cold War wasn’t so far off the mark.