Dear President Obama
Dear Secretary Clinton
As a Venezuelan citizen I am allowing to write you this short memo before you set foot in Trinidad for the upcoming summit of the Americas. I am not trying to warn you of a trap or anything of the sort: I think that both of you are quite clear on what is going on in Venezuela. I just wish to express as an individual citizen, and a dear friend of the United States, that I would be tickled pink if you made sure you do not fall into the trap that Lula, the Castros and Chavez are trying to set up.
See, one of their aim in effecting a "rapprochement" between the US of A and Cuba is to make it a package deal of sorts which includes Chavez, these days in dire need of some form of international recognition and legitimacy. I think that the reasons of Lula are purely emotional, but the ones of the Castros and Chavez are downright cynical. As such it is very easy for you to avoid falling into the trap they are setting for you. Accept to discuss chosen Cuban issues but ignore Venezuela all the time, that is all that you need to do. Be careful, Chavez will probably try to hug you or at least to be next to you in some picture so he can use it in Venezuela to pretend all is fine, until again he insults you and the US whenever he feels a need for it.
Trust me on that one, the less you talk to Chavez the better you will control him in the end. Let him make the first concession if he wants to prove that he is serious, for example asking for a new U.S. ambassador. The other guys such as Lula and the Castros are only opportunist that use Chavez to make themselves look better than what they really are. Worry not, today you are in the driving seat with Chavez as long as oil does not go above 60 dollars. Time is on your side, soon Chavez will come hat in hand. You have so much more important work to do than to bother with our local comedy act.
With this I wish you the best possible stay in Trinidad.
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PS to regular readers of this column: this is an issue important enough to distract me briefly from the other writing tasks at hand. Besides this memo almost wrote by itself.