Lula is going to meet with Obama on March 17, and now Hugo Chávez says he asked for (and received) Chávez's approval to raise the issue of U.S.-Venezuelan relations.
"We don't need any intermediary to speak with any government on the planet, but since it's Lula and in good faith, I told him yes, that I gave him the green light," Chavez said Thursday in a televised speech, addressing troops.
Chavez added, however, that "I've told him I don't have much hope of that government changing."
Silva's office confirmed the two spoke by phone Wednesday and agreed the Brazilian leader could bring up Venezuela with Obama.
This situation could work well for all three leaders.
Lula wins because he puts himself in a position to be Obama's Latin America go-to guy.
Obama wins because he gets a chance to have a high-level discussion about Venezuela early on without the political flak he would get by meeting Chávez face to face. Come to think of it, he also wins if he lets Lula become his Latin America go-to guy.
Chávez wins because he has made a public show of good faith by initiating some type of dialogue with the U.S., even if through a third party.