President Barack Obama is vowing to listen and learn during a Summit of
the Americas, where he hopes to forge new partnerships among Western
Mr. Obama made the comments Saturday, the second day of the three-day summit in Trinidad and Tobago.
Just before a separate meeting with South American leaders, Mr. Obama told reporters he looked forward to productive meetings to determine how the region can work together more effectively.
Before cameras were ushered out of the room, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, an old U.S. adversary, walked over to President Obama, handed him a book and shook his hand. Reporters in the room say the book was entitled "The Open Veins of Latin America," and is about Latin America's exploitation by foreign powers.
On Friday, Mr. Chavez and Mr. Obama shook hands and Mr. Chavez is reported to have told the U.S. president "I want to be your friend."
President Obama on Friday called for a new beginning in relations
between the United States and Cuba -- a country not represented at the
summit. Cuban President Raul Castro has said Havana is prepared to
discuss any issue with Washington.
The United States has lifted restrictions on travel and money transfers by Cuban-Americans to the island, but not the trade embargo.
The head of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, says he will ask his group to re-admit Cuba at the next OAS General Assembly meeting this June in Honduras. Cuba was suspended from the OAS in 1962 after the organization said Cuba's Communist government was incompatible with the OAS charter.
Besides Cuba, Mr. Obama announced a U.S. initiative to boost lending and spur economic growth and recovery in the Americas. He also proposed a hemispheric partnership to tackle energy and climate challenges.