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Brookings Institution

Obama charm offensive targets Venezuela after Iranians, Cubans

WASHINGTON The Obama administration's charm offensive with unfriendly states has rolled through Myanmar, Iran and Cuba. Next stop: Venezuela. Just months after the administration declared Venezuela a threat to U.S. national security, it is working to improve relations, driven by concern that upheaval there could destabilize the region. State Department officers have been meeting quietly with officials in the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro since April to develop what Secretary of State John Kerry has called "a normal relationship." The outreach is another test of President Barack Obama's 2009 inaugural pledge to "extend a hand" to repressive...