Obama reacted to Chavez's gift of the Spanish book, "The Open Veins of Latin America" by Eduardo Galeano, by saying he was "looking forward to listening," The Miami Herald said.
''I have a lot to learn and I'm very much looking forward to listening," Obama told Chavez.
The two presidents' interaction at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago began with a handshake and a brief comment from Chavez.
"I want to be your friend," Chavez was quoted as telling Obama by the Venezuelan government.
Meanwhile, an unidentified senior White House official told the Herald that Obama met with Caribbean leaders during the summit regarding improved international relations.
''Caribbean countries expressed a great interest in a stronger partnership with the United States on security issues, relating particularly to concerns on drug trafficking,'' the official said. ``The President noted... a strong willingness to partner with these countries to address this common concern.''