Courtesy Reuters

In her recently released book, Friendly fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century, Latin America scholar Julia Sweig writes, "When U.S. elites -- in government, media, and the private sector -- get their information mainly from their counterparts in other societies, the United States becomes disconnected from the conditions, feelings, preferences, and experiences of those living on the margins of what Americans have incorrectly assumed to be a universal phenomenon of political, social, and economic progress promised by democracy and globalization."

As Venezuela's ambassador to the United States, I have spent a large part of my

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