Canada has historically played the role of "honest broker" on the world stage - especially as a counterpoint to what is often seen as an overly heavy-handed US government.
This past week, we've been witness to PMSH playing the same card in Latin America.
Under other circumstances, Harper might have something valid to play, but his track record of slavishly following Washington's edicts on all fronts calls into question his own relative neutrality. Canada's position as a "broker" between the world and Washington is based on the perception that Canada's leadership is not simply marching in step with Washington.
Harper has spent most of what capital Canada has built up by aligning closely with the US on most fronts - from military policy to foreign affairs and economics. (Not to mention amazingly secretive talks about deep integration)
So, when he touts Canada as "an option" for a model alternative to Venezuela, one can only muse that coming from a man who has stated his disdain for what differentiates Canada from the United States, most Latin politicians are going to be somewhat skeptical.
My suspicion is that the Bush II rethuglicans have figured out that they have little or not traction in the Latin Americas, and they gave orders to The Republican Party North to go forth and speak the gospel of "conservatism" to the Latin politicians who are drifting dangerously (to a right-wing government) left in their politics.