Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (R) hugs US congressman William Delahunt after meeting 18 January, 2008 at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas.

According to an official communiqué issued by the Venezuelan government, Senator [sic] William Delahunt, a “friend of Venezuela,” according to Foreign Minister Nicholas Maduro, found time this week to slip away from Congress and spend two and half hours in closed-door conversations in Caracas with Venezuela’s controversial President Hugo Chávez, the fiercely anti-American architect of “Socialism of the 21st century.

Congressman [not Senator] Delahunt (D-MA) stands among the more vocal defenders of President Chávez in the House of Representatives. For some time he has acted as a go-between for Chávez and Washington. Mr. Delahunt also remains dedicated to perpetuating the allegation that the Bush Administration was deeply complicit in the April 2002 civilian coup that nearly toppled Hugo Chávez.

Chávez, who rose to national notoriety as an instigator of a failed military coup in 1992, uses the memory of those April events as a red flag to rally anti-American nationalism and justify his extended and controversial grip on executive power.

While in Caracas, Congressman Delahunt [described in the local press as an influence on President Obama] tamely murmured that it was time to put “the disagreeable past in the background.

The nature of the Chávez -Delahunt conversations remain shrouded in mystery. Perhaps the Congressman got down to brass tacks and expressed concern about Chávez’s expulsion of the U.S. Ambassador, Venezuela’s support for the Colombian FARC, the increasing quantity of cocaine transiting Venezuela, the extensive Iranian presence there, or the recent up-tick in anti-Semitism in Venezuela. Maybe he asked for clarification of what President Chávez meant when he said of next month’s Summit of the Americas in Trinidad-Tobago, “we are preparing for this summit, getting our artillery ready … I reckon the canons will heard from here.

Or perhaps President Chávez given the way things in Washington are going these days, offered the Congressman a few choice tips on how to nationalize an economy or how to align the U.S. with “Latin American socialism.

Whatever the nature of these conversations, the Congressman departed in an upbeat mood, “feeling better about the possibilities between the United States and Venezuela” and confident Presidents Chávez and Obama want a ”good” relationship between their nations.

All very well! The devil, however, as they often say may be in the details. And, by the way, don’t look for the details of the talks on the Congressman’s website.