Venezuela “will not cross its arms while the empire and the oligarchy strike down the hope of a people,” President Hugo Chavez warns. Venezuela will intervene in Bolivia if President Evo Morales is ousted from power in a recall election ordered by the Bolivian Senate, he says. Chavez does not tolerate the intervention of countries in the sovereign affairs of other countries, but in the case of Bolivia “the rules of the game will break.”
However, Chavez is lying and he is bluffing.
Chavez lies when he claims Venezuela does not tolerate external interventions in the sovereign affairs of other countries. In recent years, Chavez has actively intruded in the sovereign affairs of practically every country in Latin America.
Chavez has been supporting the FARC in Colombia for years. His personal ties to the FARC go back to 1994, according to research done by the late political scientist Alberto Garrido. The laptop owned by slain FARC chieftain Raul Reyes has yielded thousands of documents confirming that Chavez has offered to finance and arm the FARC, and supports the FARC’s goal of seizing power in Colombia.
Venezuela’s president also has intruded permanently in the sovereign affairs of Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, and Mexico.
Paraguay’s intelligence services have seized manuals from local radical leftists with detailed Bolivarian instructions on how to infiltrate and destabilize its political and economic institutions.
In Peru Chavez has financed “Casas del Alba” which are being used to train and arm indigenous communist militants.
In El Salvador Chavez supplies cheap oil to municipalities ruled by members of the communist Farabundo Marti National Liberation front (FMNLN).
In Mexico Chavez has financed the creation of Bolivarian Circles and is funding radical communist groups that operate from within the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
However, Bolivia is the crown jewel, of sorts, in Chavez’s grand plan to spread his Bolivarian revolution throughout South America. And Evo Morales has been, quite literally, Chavez’s personal “pet” since the firebrand communist indigenous leader was elected president of Bolivia in 2005.
So Chavez is lying when he says Venezuela does not tolerate one country intruding into the affairs of other countries.
Chavez also is bluffing when he threatens to send armed troops to Bolivia.
There may be a handful of Venezuelan troops willing to deploy to Bolivia, but the vast majority of the armed forces (over 90%, at least) will not obey any presidential orders to invade another country. Anyway, President Morales lacks the constitutional authority to invite any foreign troops to occupy Bolivia.
Venezuela’s armed forces do not have the training, equipment or transport capability to deploy anywhere even in small numbers. When Chavez reacted to the death of FARC chieftain Reyes by deploying ten infantry battalions to the border with Colombia, many of these troops were sent in buses rented by the Defense Ministry. And they were sent to the border without munitions, radio communications systems, food supplies, tents and other basic military supplies.
There may be a few Bolivarian generals willing to lead a handful of Venezuelan troops to Bolivia aboard chartered commercial aircraft, but President Chavez certainly will not lead his troops into harm’s way.
The Venezuelan leader’s weak kidneys are legendary within the armed forces. Since his days as an adolescent cadet in Venezuela’s military academy, Chavez distinguished himself as a soldier who consistently avoided risking his physical integrity.
The president’s unarmed combat instructors from his years at the academy recall that Chavez always flinched and backed away from opponents during unarmed combat exercises.
Chavez was the principal planner and top leader of the failed military coup of February 4, 1992. But he was the only officer, among five colonels who commanded rebellious forces, who failed to achieve his assigned objectives, and negotiated his surrender without ever firing a shot.
And some of his companions in Miraflores Palace on April 11, 2002, including former Vice President and former Defense Minister Jose Vicente Rangel, have recalled in recorded conversations that Chavez was a very frightened man when he realized his grand plan to massacre hundreds of innocent civilians had failed.
Rangel did not realize he was being recorded in 2002 when he confided to a longtime associate that Chavez was the first to demand a negotiated surrender and safe passage out of Venezuela to Cuba. “You can’t make a revolution with a coward,” Rangel told his associate.
President Chavez blusters line an enraged pit bull, but he doesn’t have the stones to start a war in Bolivia. However, Chavez is certainly capable of ordering his armed thugs in Venezuela to intimidate and terrorize his opponents and the general populace.