U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was photographed chatting politely with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Saturday at the inauguration of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff despite a diplomatic dogfight that took place between the two nations just three days earlier.
Palmer, whose appointment has yet to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, criticized the Chavez government during confirmation hearings in August.
On Tuesday, The State Department immediately responded by revoking the visa of Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuela's ambassador in Washington. Alvarez was not present at the time; he was in Venezuela on vacation.
Unfazed, Chavez raised the diplomatic ante by reiterating his rejection of Obama's chosen ambassador. He also suggested the White House consider breaking off diplomatic relations if it did not want to replace Palmer.
Nevertheless, Clinton and Chavez appeared to both be smiling and exchanging pleasantries as photographers snapped pictures of the two for at least five minutes.
Although no one quoted the pair, a Brazilian official who was present told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity, “They talked and smiled at least for five minutes. It looked like a social conversation; both were smiling.”
Chavez reportedly was the first to extend his hand to Clinton, who took it with a smile as they mingled with heads of state waiting to congratulate Rousseff.