That's certainly a worthy goal -- and we have no objection to Mr. Obama's handshake with Mr. Chávez. The administration's strategy -- to open up a constructive dialogue with Venezuela and avoid being cast as Mr. Chávez's Yanqui foil -- is reasonable; it is also the same strategy as was tried, unsuccessfully, by the previous two administrations. What doesn't make sense is to deliberately ignore steps by Mr. Chávez to consolidate an autocracy. In so doing, the administration encourages Latin American governments that have shrunk from confronting the Venezuelan strongman to continue in their own silence. It sends pro-Chávez governments in countries such as Bolivia and Nicaragua the message that they can persecute their own domestic opponents with impunity. And it makes it more rather than less likely that Venezuela, with the help of Iran and Russia, will become a threat to the United States.As the Post writes, I had no problem with Obama's hand shake. But that should not mean acquiescence on something as patently autocratic and anti democratic as what Chavez is doing these days. I am going to allow myself to repeat once again a warning to President Obama and Secretary Clinton: Chavez is out to get you and he does not play by the rules. Ever. You are dealing with a thug. Deal with it!
Peru's democratic government is to be congratulated for its decision to offer Mr. Rosales asylum. It is shameful that the Obama administration won't say so.