Obama Won't Slam Chavez

Following the same strategy that he took to Europe, President Obama is doing his best to project just one word to Latin Americans: respect. In an interview with CNN en Espanol ahead of his trip to Mexico and to the Latin American Summit in Trinidad and Tobago, Obama declined to berate South American leaders like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Bolivia's Evo Morales who have been consolidating their holds on power. "I think it's important for the United States not to tell other countries how to structure their democratic practices and what should be contained in their constitutions," Obama told CNN. He also said that he would approach negotiations with countries as a discussion among equals. "My relationship with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is one of two leaders who both have big countries, that we are trying to solve problems and create opportunities for our people, and we should be partners," Obama said of talks with Brazil. "There's no senior partner or junior partner."