Hugo's Excellent Adventure
President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is currently on a world tour that is likely to widen the rift with the United States - but may win him further support for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
He arrived in Belarus on Sunday, from where he will continue to Russia, Qatar, Iran, Vietnam and Mali.
Mr Chavez is due to return to Venezuela on 2 August after nearly two weeks on the road.
What will interest diplomats at the US state department most is President Chavez's visits to Moscow and Tehran.
How Nuts Is He?
Even Chavistas are asking what the hell is going on in his head? Putin will sell him weapons and try to do some big dollar deals. Chavez might get some deals done, and find a kindred soul in the crackpot President of Iran, and exchange conspiracy theories. But the mullahs who really rule Iran, are not going to take this clown with his crazy schemes seriously. Iranian, and other Islamic Middle Easterners tend to be wary of loud-mouth Latin Americans - despite any kinship they might feel (or maybe because of it!).
Some think that Hugo might go visit Syria, which with this media-whore is a possibility. Algunos malpensados are already saying that maybe he might want to take a detour to Lebanon, and stand in the middle of South Beirut dressed up as a rocket launcher.