Lost among all the buzz surrounding the widely publicized handshakes between President Obama and President Chávez in Trinidad and Tobago is yet another conciliatory gesture the U.S. President made this weekend—this time toward Bolivia.
President Evo Morales, who was recently a victim of an alleged assassination plot that left three dead in Santa Cruz last week—including two non-Bolivian conspirators—had publicly raised suspicions that the plot was related to a coup attempt last year, in which he cast blame on the U.S. government. On Saturday, Morales reportedly approached Obama and asked him to publicly repudiate the attempt on his life.
At one of Obama’s final news conferences on Sunday, he specifically mentioned Bolivia in a statement opposing any violent overthrows of democratically elected governments in the hemisphere. The U.S. relationship with Bolivia has been icy in recent years. It appears, however, that behind the shadow of the Obama-Chávez handshakes, there may be room for renewed dialogue between the new administration and leftist governments in the region that had vocally opposed the Bush administration. Morales, who is speaking at a public forum in Harlem (New York City) tomorrow, will have the opportunity to follow suit on Obama’s gesture over the weekend—whether he decides to actually do so, however, is another question altogether.