In perusing the world, I ran across this and this.
This is exactly what I am talking about.
Chavez is a crypto-communist/neo-fascist thug who has suborned the democratic process in Venezuala in order to gain wealth and pursue his own agenda of political aggrandization and who wants to make things worse in his corner of the world in order to gain power. He vilifies the US and works closely with those who actively work against US interests in the region, and makes no secret of his desire to exert his influence in most of South America.
So who cooperates with him in order to further their own, domestic agenda?
Joseph P. Kennedy II. Democrat
William Delahunt, Democrat
Jose Serrano, Democrat
This is nothing less than political grandstanding, undermining US diplomacy.
And it sets terrible precedence. Not happy with US policy? Go out there and make your own.
No matter if it hurts the interests of the US, as long as it serves your own interests. Who cares about the long-term effects if you can use short-term benefits for your own personal political utility?
This is getting closer and closer to treason than I have ever seen before. There are laws against this.
Specifically the Logan Act, embodied in US Law under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procdure, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 45, paragraph 953:
The key word here: any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government ... to defeat the measures of the United States
This means that if you, as a private person, get in touch with a foreign government to try to subvert any sort of US government policy, you are breaking the law. If you get the OK of the US government to do so, then you are not.
Simple, plain, and yet neither Kennedy, Delahunt or Serrano will probably ever be charged with violating the Logan Act.
Why? Because the Logan Act has never been used, for one, although it is the law of the land, and second, no sitting Congressman can be charged with the Logan Act, since it is indeed the right of Congresscritters to have contacts with foreign governments without having to get State Department approval.
But the above links don't show talking: Kennedy, Delahunt and Serrano are actively involved not in talks, but in aiding a foreign government to suborn the policies of the United States.
And that is new.
Some might say: so what? What's the point?
The point is that by allowing private diplomacy of this kind, it encourages other countries to suborn US policy. By thinking they are able to do so, such countries will make serious mistakes in their own policy (convinced, for instance, that "their" people in the US will prevent the US government to act) that may well lead to war.
By accepting subsidized heating oil, Kennedy, Delahunt and Serrano will gain short-term political advantage in their districts. But by doing so in the manner that they have, they will have made the likelihood that Chavez and his people will make the wrong decisions more likely, worsening the political environment in South America.
And by doing so, if this worsening results in violence (either via war, terrorism or externally instigated revolutions), then Kennedy, Delahunt and Serrano will have sacrificed long-term US interestes in political stability and peaceful change for bloody violence in order to get nice polling numbers.
Postscript, added later the same day:
Delahunt has been at this for a while, since 2002:
...he inaugurated a series of unofficial talks aimed at ending the acrimony between the Venezuelan government and the political opposition.
The idea, Delahunt said, was to get conflicting parties into a private, secluded place where they would talk to one another personally and participate in recreational activities together.
The group, which called itself ''Grupo de Boston," met in 2002 and 2003 on Cape Cod. Participants often engaged in heated political talks in the mornings (one session needed an intervention to stop a fistfight).
They also went whale-watching and played intramural baseball in the afternoons, with mixed teams and a bipartisan group of legislators as umpires.
Bottles of Scotch were in the guest rooms, and all had been consumed by the end of the session, a Delahunt spokesman said.
The Grupo de Boston members continue to meet informally in Venezuela, and Álvarez said the initiative has eased tensions.
The issue is a tad clouded because Citgo, providing the oil, is of course a US company, but wholely owned by the Venezualan government; however, the deal was worked out directly by Delahunt, who is now apparently running his own private diplomatic missions without the sanction of the State Department. And acting as an apologist for Chavez and Castro.