Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has signaled that he would like
to "reset"relations with the US. (Photo: The Associated Press)
Caracas - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said he hopes to "reset" relations with the United States at an Americas summit this month after nearly a decade of tensions between Caracas and Washington.
The leftist Cuba ally has for months offered mixed signals about the arrival of U.S. President Barack Obama, sometimes praising his administration while at other times mocking him as the leader of "empire" or calling him an "ignoramus."
"Hopefully the Trinidad and Tobago summit will serve to reset relations between the United States and Venezuela, I'm willing to use the reset button," Chavez said, according to a statement issued on Saturday by the Communications Ministry.
Obama is scheduled to attend the April 17-19 summit, and Chavez is also expected to go.
The ministry said Chavez, who is visiting Iran, made the remark in a phone call from Tehran to a Venezuelan state television show on Friday night.
Though Venezuela provides around 10 percent of U.S. oil imports, the OPEC nation for years maintained a harsh war of words with the government of former U.S. President George W. Bush. Chavez famously called him "the devil" at a meeting of the United Nations.
He has applauded Obama's government for closing the much-criticized U.S. prison in Guantanamo and described Obama as an improvement over the Bush administration. But he continues to portray the United States as the enemy of his self-styled revolution.
Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; editing by Mohammad Zargham.