Venezuela’s Dirty War

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On Monday this week, Colombia reported that it found AT-4 shoulder-fired grenades in the hand of the rebel/terrorist group FARC(Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia). Colombian Vice President had this to say:

This is not the first time that this happened,” Santos said. “In several operations in which we have recovered weapons from the FARC, we have found powerful munitions and powerful equipment, including anti-tank weapons, from a European country that sold them to Venezuela and that turned up in the hands of the FARC.”

FARC, whatever they began as, is now a drug-trafficking quasi revolutionary group. Their tactics include bombing targets both civilian and military as well as kidnapping and murdering politicians and other important members of Colombian society. If a local indigenous group opposes FARC, they are most likely kicked out of their land or worse, killed. From a basic understanding of my time in Colombia, no one except for the most extreme has any desire for FARC to succeed. What Colombians want–indeed what most people want–is to carry out their lives in peace.

Uribe, the President of Colombia, has succeeded–with U.S. funding– in pacifying the FARC in many regions of the Country. Now comes along Chavez. So Venezuela bought these anti-tank missiles from an arms company in Sweden. The Swedish company most likely did not sell it directly to FARC. How did those missiles get into FARC hands in Colombia? I think some deductive logic would trace it to Venezuela. Unless, of course, a FARC operative snuck into a Venezuelan Military compound and stole the missiles, then promptly went back the 100s of miles to Colombia. More fairly, as one analyst put it, the perpetrator could have been a corrupt military official, acting outside of official auspices. Chavez and his gov’t would have us believe that Colombia, at the behest of the big, bad, imperialist United States, is making the whole thing up. It’s possible, but if one looks at Venezuela’s response to Colombia, it makes the latter’s allegations even more credible.

When asked about the allegations of Colombia, Venezuelan Minister of the Interior and Justice Tareck El Aissami respnded: It’s laughable, it sounds like a cheap film made by the American Government.” And now, Venezuela has frozen diplomatic relations with Colombia. Chavez said: “Leave only the lowest functionaries there” and threatened to take over Colombian companies operating in Venezuela if Colombia offends Venezuela one more time, according to CNN.

Look Chavez: Colombia found weapons in the hands of the FARC that were originally in Venezuela’s possession. It’s not an outrageous statement. It’s a fact that the weapons were found. Whether you, Chavez, were personally responsible for sending the weapons is not certain. And Chavez, you can’t blame every single problem with Colombia on the United States being friendly with them. Colombia, a sovereign nation, has decided not to follow your new great socialistic path. Of course, since Castro is your godfather, you would probably not hesitate to invade Colombia and forcefully plant your brand of no results, the corrupt get corrupter, the poor get poorer, socialism.

There is a stark divide amongst Latin American countries when it comes to ideology. One Bloc–Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Cuba–are unabashedly socialists and do not like the United States. The other Bloc–Mexico, Colombia, and Peru–are pro-market, pro-U.S. This is a gross oversimplification, because as you might wonder: what about Brazil, Argentina, Chile…? The latter countries are not clearly on one side or the other. But you get the idea. Chavez is trying to get as much clout behind his movement against the United States. I’m drifting here, sorry. Back to the point, Chavez needs to allow other sovereign nations to decide on their own.

Colombia can benefit(and has) from a healthy relationship with the United States. Since 2002, the security situation there has improved dramatically. I remember speaking to a middle-aged, educated, Colombian man in Taganga who said this was the first time since he can remember it being safe to drive across the country.
Next, I may do some analysis on the Honduran Coup.
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