President Hugo Chavez is a very scared revolutionary.
Fear is driving the president’s latest histrionics against Colombia, the United States, and Germany.
Fright is behind the president’s wild claims that the US is promoting an international conspiracy to steal the states of Zulia, Merida, Tachira, Trujillo and Barinas from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Chavez roars loudest when his fears are greatest.
US Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield says the 15 May release by Interpol of its forensic investigation of over 11,000 documents extracted from several laptops, pen drives and external hard drives seized by Colombian security forces in the bombed-out camp of dead FARC chieftain Raul Reyes “will be a very interesting moment.”
That’s an understatement.
Chavez can deny the authenticity of the thousands of documents captured from the FARC until his face turns as red as his Bolivarian beret.
Chavez can threaten, bluster, intimidate and insult his enemies including “Meester DAN-ger” until he exhausts his dictionary of vulgarities.
But the bottom line is: Gotcha!!!
Interpol will confirm the authenticity of 11,000 smoking guns which prove beyond even the remotest shadow of a reasonable doubt that Venezuela’s President, Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias, is an international criminal.
Interpol’s report will confirm President Chavez is deeply and personally involved with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) – a communist narco-terrorist group that traffics cocaine and heroin internationally, murders and kidnaps innocent civilians including Venezuelan citizens inside Venezuela, and is seeking by force of arms to illegally overthrow Colombia’s freely elected democratic government.
Some of the evidence against Chavez is already a matter of public record. For example:
· Chavez personally took part in covering up the FARC’s massacre of Venezuelan civilians in 2004. The FARC was prepared to admit its “error” and apologize formally, but Chavez insisted instead on blaming Colombian paramilitaries. Covering up evidence of a homicide is a crime in Venezuela.
· Chavez and his personal liaison to the FARC, current Interior and Justice Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, offered the FARC between $250 million and $300 million in direct cash contributions which Rodriguez Chacin described as “a loan” in one of his many meetings with Reyes.
· Chavez, Rodriguez Chacin, the head of armed forces military intelligence (DIM), and senior political police (Disip) officials close to Rodriguez Chacin offered the FARC material assistance in smuggling illegal weapons into Colombia, including RPG’s, portable surface-to-air missiles, and other heavy infantry weapons.
· Chavez and his middlemen with the FARC offered to hide weapons smuggled into Colombia by the FARC inside containers of weapons imported from Belarus and Russia via the port of Maracaibo.
· Chavez and Rodriguez Chacin invited the FARC to provide guerrilla warfare training to Venezuelan military personnel and civilian military reservists.
And this is just the smallest tip of the geopolitical iceberg Chavez will smash into before this week is over.
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa will not be spared either.
Interpol’s report is expected to confirm that Correa offered to cooperate directly with the FARC to destabilize Colombia’s democratic government, and turn Ecuador’s northern provinces into a new FARC stronghold.
Ecuador’s generals are not a castrated bunch like Venezuela’s Bolivarian generals – at least not yet. If Interpol’s report is sufficiently damning, Correa and several of his Cabinet ministers may find themselves out of a job and behind bars very quickly.
Or perhaps Correa and his criminal cronies could be forced to seek political asylum in Bolivarian Venezuela or Sandinista Nicaragua. But Cuba certainly will not accept them. Fidel and Raul Castro will keep their distance from Correa and from Chavez too.
The Cuban regime is not stupid, but many experienced Cuban revolutionaries probably think Chavez and Correa were about as smart as a sack of potatoes in their dealings with the FARC.
Reyes wrote down absolutely everything he was told by the emissaries sent by Chavez and Correa. And every dirty, treacherous, criminal detail of the FARC’s relationship with Chavez and Correa will be a matter of public record in a few hours more.
Interpol’s forensic report and separate intelligence analyses done by the Colombian and US governments, also likely will expose the FARC’s corrupt political network throughout Latin America.
Don’t be surprised if certain elements within the governments of Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, among others, are revealed as active collaborators with the FARC.
Hopefully, President George W. Bush will have the courage to add Venezuela and Ecuador to the US government’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Hopefully, President Bush will impose very tough sanctions against the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador.
Arguments that the US must tread carefully in dealing with Chavez because US influence in Latin America could suffer if Bush moves unilaterally are geopolitical red herrings.
US influence in Latin America is already at its lowest levels since before the end of the Cold War.
US efforts to pursue multilateral approaches to the regional threat Chavez represents have gone nowhere in the past, and will go nowhere in the future regardless of what the Interpol report reveals about Chavez’s happy engagement with the FARC.
Brazil certainly won’t do anything. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva thinks Chavez is Venezuela’s “best president” in the past 100 years.
Argentina’s government won’t do anything. The Governments of Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay will not follow the US lead.
Nicaragua’s government barks at the command of Chavez. The Caribbean states still want the cheap oil supplies they expect never to repay in the future.
And Colombia’s government will tread softly too, especially if no other governments in the region side with the US in trying to contain Chavez.
This means it’s up to lame duck Bush, the least popular US president in memory.
The Venezuelan-American Chamber of Commerce in Caracas has joined the push to prevent sanctions from being slapped against Venezuela.
Bilateral US-Venezuela trade topped $50 billion in 2007 and is expected to go even higher in 2008, VenAmCham said in recent days.
Trade between Venezuela and the US is robust, reflecting the historic good relations between the US and Venezuelan business sectors, adds VenAmCham.
If the US imposes sanctions against Venezuela, bilateral trade relations could suffer huge disruptions. Chavez could retaliate by nationalizing US-owned non-oil assets in Venezuela.
But so what? Does anyone seriously believe Chavez will not eventually nationalize every significant foreign-owned asset in Venezuela?
Chavez has threatened dire retaliation if Bush sanctions Venezuela. Oil exports to the US would be suspended immediately, Chavez thunders. But so what?
The US can survive nicely without Venezuelan crude, but Venezuela’s government will not do well if the US suspends oil purchases from Venezuela.
A US government study commissioned last year by Senator Richard Lugar of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee concluded the US could quickly recover from a complete suspension of oil imports from Venezuela.
However, this study also concluded Venezuela would be screwed because it would have difficulty finding new buyers for crude oil which can only be refined in the US. China does not have the deep conversion refining capacity, and neither do Iran, Belarus, Russia, Vietnam, India, Brazil or Argentina.
Hopefully President Bush will have the stones to list Venezuela’s Bolivarian government as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Of course, Chavez dearly hopes Bush doesn’t have the courage to act decisively against a criminal Bolivarian regime that cooperates and supports international narco-terrorists.
And Chavez may be right in betting that Bush is gutless.
But we hope Chavez is mistaken.