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Hugo Chávez embraces Iran and Syria, wins Russian support for nuclear program

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“Chávez is an extremely well-traveled Latin America president,” says Larry Birns, the director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington, but he adds that it might not work in his favor even though many say such trips help distract from problems at home. “When you have a deeply fractured society ... you spend as much time as possible at home.... He should be working to administer effectively his revolution.”

'The new world order'

In Damascus on Thursday, Chávez signed several economic agreements, including a deal to supply Syria with up to 1 million tons of diesel fuel annually. He said that he and Syrian President Bashar Assad are building ties "to accelerate the fall of [American] imperialist hegemony and the birth of the new world of equilibrium and peace."

The previous day in Tehran, Chávez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said they also were committed to forming a “new world order.” The two were also reported to have signed a series of deals to promote industrial cooperation. In Russia, Chávez secured a deal that will help the South American nation build its first nuclear power plant.

The US has largely dismissed this trip – even though the nuclear plant deal has raised some eyebrows in Washington.

Standing with Iran

"I should use the opportunity to condemn those military threats that are being made against Iran," Chávez said at a joint news conference with Mr. Ahmadinejad in Tehran on Wednesday, before flying to Damascus. "We know that they will never be able to restrict the Islamic revolution in whatever way.... We will always stand together, we will not only resist, we will also stand victorious beside one another."

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