In a written interview with Venezuela’s El Universal newspaper, Mr. Obama said the Venezuelan people would need to decide whether there are advantages to having ties with countries that violate human rights.
“Focus on governing your country, which you've turned into a disaster," Chávez said in a state TV interview in December 2011. He also called Obama a “clown” and an “embarrassment.”
But if Chávez were an American, he would have voted for Obama during his reelection.
Challenger Mitt Romney criticized Obama for underplaying Venezuela’s threat, but Chávez took Obama’s side, calling him “a good guy.” He urged Venezuelans to disregard Obama’s comments if the US president came out with stronger rhetoric against him.
“Obama is campaigning. He's a candidate," he said in July 2012. “I hope the real revolutionaries understand well. I think that Barack Obama – aside from 'the president' – is a good guy.”