Word from Caracas on Monday that the presidents of Venezuela and Cuba signed a $2 billion trade accord should remind U.S. businesses all next year of the folly of the inflexible and cantankerous Bush administration. The White House alienated so many countries around the world with its over-aggressive attitude that bilateral relationships may be years from resolution. Of course, U.S. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have less than a month remaining in their eight-year term. But the damage to international relationships will be felt for years. The enmity between Bush and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is the stuff of legend, and has contributed mightily to the decline of U.S. influence in South America. The deal between Cuba and Venezuela demonstrates clearly the cost of the self-absorbed Bush administration's whiff on an ideal opportunity to end the five-decade embargo of Cuba when Castro's brother, Fidel, gave up power in 2006. The United States could have captured a large portion of the $2 billion in trade and hurried the inevitable reconciliation with Cuba after a five-decade embargo that separated families and alienated millions in the southern United States. The deal between Cuba and Venezuela includes 163 joint projects, a six-fold increase from this year, according to Cable News Network (CNN) . The enmity between Bush and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has become the stuff of legend, and the United States is forced to tolerate Soviet warships visiting the Caribbean Sea because of it. Castro's first foreign state visit since being elected to Cuba's presidency in February also is scheduled to include participation in the Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development on Tuesday and Wednesday in Brazil.