DIPLOMACY

U.S., Venezuela Kiss and Make Up

Is Venezuela's firebrand president, Hugo Chavez, finally getting on President Obama's good side? In an effort to restore their tattered relationship, the U.S. and Venezuela have agreed to restore full diplomatic relations, the State Department reports, formalizing pledges that Obama and Chavez made at the Summit of the Americas in April to reinstall September’s expelled ambassadors. The move reflects Obama's push for better Latin American relations, to alleviate suspicions and work cooperatively with nations in the area, and Chavez's push to improve his image abroad. U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy and his Venezuelan counterpart, Bernardo Alvarez, soon will resume their former posts in Caracas and Washington, respectively. The restoration came a day after the State Department said it was sending an ambassador back to Syria, a post that had been recalled in 2005 after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.