Vice President Dan Quayle embarked on a second day of high-level meetings Thursday as he sandwiched get-acquainted sessions with heads of state around the inaugural ceremony for Venezuela's new president.
Quayle met this morning with Spain's prime minister, Felipe Gonzalez, and then with Brazilian President Jose Sarney.The meeting with Sarney centered almost entirely on the Latin debt crisis and the meeting with Gonzalez on a range of U.S.-European political and security issues, said Quayle's press secretary, David Beckwith.
There was no opportunity to question the vice president before he headed over to the morning's inauguration of Carlos Andres Perez following the meetings in a hotel suite.
U.S. Ambassador Otto Reich said Quayle seems to be developing a good rapport and handling himself confidently in the meetings. He said the foreign leaders mostly want to ask questions about the Bush administration policies on the Third World debt situation and Central American conflicts.
"They like him. There is very good rapport. They think he's very open, obviously very interested in listening," Reich said.
Quayle has explained that the new administration's policies are still developing, the ambassador said. "He's explaining . . . that the administration is less than two weeks old."
While Quayle held bilateral meetings upstairs in the Caracas Hilton Hotel, Cuba's President Fidel Castro met briefly with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in the downstairs lobby.
Quayle and the U.S. delegation are trying to learn more about a peace proposal that Ortega brought with him to Caracas, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Quayle will not meet with Ortega, Reich said, but the Nicaraguan shared his proposal in a meeting Wednesday with former President Carter and Perez. Carter declined to discuss details.
Reich said Quayle had no plans to meet with Carter, although the two did speak briefly Wednesday night at a reception held at the ambassador's residence.
Beginning his three-day Latin American trip Wednesday, Quayle warned that the United States will not look kindly on formation of a "debtors' cartel" to deal with the region's creditors, who hold $440 billion in debts.
Quayle continued his effort Thursday to meet as many heads of state as possible while he was here for the Perez swearing-in.