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Chavez Hopes for Better Relationship With US

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (L) in Caracas (file - January 17, 2012).

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says that he hopes for a better relationship with the United States if U.S. President Barack Obama is reelected.

During a news conference at the presidential palace in Caracas late Friday, Mr. Chavez said he hoped that if Mr. Obama is re-elected, the two leaders could shake hands and have "a great relationship."

The Venezuelan president also referred to an interview Mr. Obama gave to to the Spanish language television network Univision this week.

"Obama said he would give more importance to Latin America. He has not done this. I think it is one of the big mistakes he has committed," Chavez said. "He speaks about mistakes in his interview. One of the big mistakes that government has committed is to not communicate with Latin America and to delegate that communication to non-diplomatic entities like the U.S. Southern Command. The roles that should be assumed by him or by his secretary of state are filled by war mongers, by the CIA."

Mr. Chavez also denied reports published in a Spanish newspaper that said he was dying. He told reporters he was as strong as as ever, and the Spanish media simply wishes he would die.

Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Chavez is running for re-election this year, in his case, to a third term. Relations between the U.S. and Venezuela have been tense since President Chavez was first elected in 1998.