Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, said he has authorized Brazil's leader to raise the subject of Venezuela in talks with President Barack Obama this month. Despite the change of government, Washington/Caracas relations remain strained.
However Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has maintained friendly relations with US leaders (both Bush and Obama) and with populist Chavez.
Lula is scheduled to meet President Obama on March 17 in Washington and Chavez said that the Brazilian leader "has been calling me, worried by the US statements that have continued coming out, attacks against Venezuela". Chavez made the comments on state television Wednesday night.
Chavez has condemned recent US State Department reports alleging human rights problems in Venezuela and a lack of cooperation in counter-drug efforts. He has also advanced that Washington will have to show more respect if relations are to improve.
According to Chavez to the question from the Brazilian president "if I agree for him to talk about the subject of Venezuela", the Venezuelan leader replied: "talk about it".
Chavez clashed with former US President George W. Bush and expelled the US ambassador last September. President Bush officials often expressed concern about the health of democracy under Chavez, but last month he comfortably won a vote to eliminate term limits.
The Venezuelan president said he has written to his Brazilian counterpart saying the US should stop "attacking countries like Venezuela using lies and cynicism".