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The death of Hugo Chavez could breathe new life into the United States’ relationship with Latin America.

Congressmember Gregory Meeks attended the former Venezuelan president’s funeral to mourn with a nation — and also work with leaders from around the world.

“I hope that we got the door open for better communication,” said Meeks, who said he hopes to improve trade relations. “It was an honor to represent [the U.S.].”

The representative also hopes that the U.S. can secure Latin American cooperation with drug enforcement, airport security and trading for oil, among other things, and he knows that Venezuela represents a powerful sector of Latin America.

While in Venezuela, Meeks met with leaders from the Caribbean, South America and Central America, as well as other delegations from around the world. He also spoke with opposition parties, and with the then-Vice President Nicolas Maduro.

“We had a chance to converse, and hopefully improve our relations,” he said.

Maduro thanked President Barack Obama for sending Meeks on behalf of the U.S., and recognized the fact that he went with intentions to strengthen international relations.

“All in all it was a successful trip, in which we know that Chavez was controversial, but I think the message was relayed and we hope to [move forward],” Meeks said.

 

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