August 1, 2006
Keeping a Close Eye on Hugo Chavez and Friends
Rage at seeing Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA) once again throwing blocks for his political ally Hugo Chavez on C-SPAN recently inspired Douglas MacKinnon to remind us just who we are dealing with in Venezuela's bellicose dictator.
Chavez is cut out of the same cloth as North Korea's Kim Jong Il and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which may explain why he has been holding friendly powwows with both of them. Many career diplomats consider him to be a greater threat to the USA's national security than any Middle Eastern terrorist group, al-Qaeda included. Chavez has just wrapped up a $3 billion weapons deal with Russia that includes 24 fighter jets, 53 attack helicopters, submarines, and 100,000 machine guns. Russians are building him a Kalashnikov factory in Venezuela so he can make more as needed.
In terms of conventional military, nothing Chavez buys from Russia is going to put Venezuela on a par with the United States. But the stronger he is, the more destabilization he'll be able to spread throughout Latin America.
More disturbing are his talks with Iran concerning the acquisition of nuclear technology. As much of a threat as a nuclear Iran will be to Israel, a nuclear Venezuela will be to the USA. The country is two and half hours away from Miami by jet — less by missile.
Chavez has made no secret of his eagerness to oppose the USA. As he utilizes Venezuela's oil wealth to acquire weaponry and grease friendships with rogue regimes, we'll need to keep a very close eye on him. As MacKinnon notes, we'll also need to "remember and identify his apologists here in the United States" — i.e., folks like Massachusetts' William Delahunt.
On a tip from Byron.
Posted by Van Helsing at August 1, 2006 8:25 AM