Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez bumped into Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Brazil this weekend at the inauguration of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, and the two shook hands and chatted. “She had a very spontaneous smile and I greeted her with the same effusiveness,” Chavez later explained. “It was a pleasant moment. We spoke about two or three specific things,” he said, without specifying which two or three things those were. Playing it cool, the U.S. State Department hasn’t said anything about the stop-and-chat. No big deal. It’s whatever. Let the other guy talk about it.
But perhaps the two leaders talked about last week’s incident in which the U.S. government revoked the visa of the Venezuelan ambassador to Washington. Or maybe they talked about the preceding incident: Venezuela’s recent decision not to accept the diplomatic credentials of Larry Palmer, the U.S. ambassadorial nominee for Venezuela, after Palmer expressed rightful concerns about freedom of expression in the South American country and noted that there are “clear ties” between the Venezuelan government and Colombian guerrillas. Or, you know, maybe they just said, “Rousseff will be wonderful. You and I should talk soon. Nice to see you.” World leaders: Forced to act cordial around people they feel iffy about when they run into them at their mutual friends’ events. Ugh, just like us.