Look at him go! Hugging every world leader hostile to the U.S. - like he was running for Secretary General of the UN!
What is going on here? First of all, wasn't President Bush explicit in his preference for Chavez's foe to win instead of Chavez? Yes. So Econo-Girl's theory that a sitting U.S. President should never, ever endorse a candidate openly is once again vindicated. People are less likely to vote 'the American way' just to prove their independence. Take that, you bossy Americans.
On another level, Chavez is loosening the power grip the U.S. has over his country. He is shaking hands with countries who can be customers for his oil. Chavez is raising the profile of his nation and creating a power base in opposite to that of the U.S. He wears matching shirts with Castro, for God's sake.
What can we make of all this? In the intermediate term, oil is going to be used as a national security weapon by the larger oil-producing states (Russia, Venezuela) to the detriment of the United States. After all, there are only so many countries we can blow up.
The one clear answer is to reduce our dependence on oil. Go green. It's how we will reclaim our power and reduce these freaks to the footnotes in history that they deserve to be.