Monday, June 9, 2008

Obama/Richardson negotiate with Chavez

I chuckle when I remember how—when I first considered starting a blog—I worried I wouldn’t have much to talk about. A week into this and I have to be very selective about the topics I want to tackle. There just isn’t enough time.

I’ve been really concerned for a long time about the influence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in American politics. I have good reason to be concerned.

Chavez announced, early in his Presidential career, that one of his top objectives is to get a “Bolivarian” president elected to the Whitehouse. For those who don’t know, Simon Bolivar was the great liberator of Venezuela, and Chavez has hijacked his venerable memory and uses him as his principle mascot. Thus, Chavez’s neo-Marxist movement is called the “Bolivarian Revolution”. A “Bolivarian”, thanks to the Chavista perversion of the name, is a person who sympathizes with leftist (communist/socialist) ideologies. So Chavez was essentially announcing his intention of helping install a socialist government in the USA.

Golly, gee, I must be an alarmist. Right? We, the GREAT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, have nothing to worry about from tiny little countries like Venezuela (or Iran, or Iraq…isn’t that what Obama said?).

When I hear this statement, I shudder. It is the height of arrogance to look down at nations like Venezuela or Iran and say, “that’s a tiny little nation, what can they do?”

Look at the level of disruption caused by a tiny little nation called Viet Nam back in the ‘60s. Look at how much negative and long-lasting influence a tiny and poor nation called Cuba has had in our hemisphere. Look at how the influence and strategic assistance of Fidel Castro helped launch the career of Chavez. Look how the meddling and interference of Chavez has implanted socialist governments in Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Panama, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and how they are trying to do the same in Mexico, Chile, and Peru.

The fact is; Chavez has immense financial resources at his disposal. And, contrary to the ranting and raving of leftists, the United States did not use its incredible power and wealth to bully and buy out the governments of small nations in the Americas—or to be more accurate, not to the full extent that is often purported. The USA does have and use influence, but a number of US laws prevented directly influencing the politics within our neighbors. That is to say, the activities of US citizens is curtailed so that they cannot bribe, blackmail, or otherwise directly “purchase the favors” of foreign governments.

I’m not saying that there are no corrupt individuals out there, but as a matter of policy and official behavior, it is a no-no.

Chavez, on the other hand, has directly influenced elections in multiple countries (see the list above). The most notorious cases involve money funneled directly into Ecuador, Bolivia, and Argentina, in order to finance the campaigns of Chavez’s socialist friends. In Ecuador, I have good reason to believe that Chavez bribed the military to overthrow the government of Lucio Gutierrez (I’ll post a detailed story about why I believe this to be true), and in Argentina, an alert (and rather beautiful) Airport security guard captured a suitcase with money smuggled by Venezuelan agents into Argentina with the purpost of secretly financing the presidential campaign of Kristina Fernandez de Kircher.

So as I watch Obama’s election campaign and see how he has miraculously collected hundreds of millions of dollars, out-raising even the famous Clintons by a factor of ten to one, I can’t help but wonder: where is all that money coming from?

Now I hear that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (who is a rumored possible Vice Presidential candidate for Obama) has gone (quietly) to Venezuela to talk to Chavez about releasing the US hostages...and Chavez then makes this demand.

According to a respected Venezuelan journalist, Nelson Bocaranda Sardi, June 6 2008 (I’ve included the Spanish text of his article below), Richardson and Chavez discussed in detail how to leverage Chavez’s influence with the FARC in order to obtain the strategic release of three American contractors that have been held by the FARC for a number of years. They hope that the FARC will be willing to show a “good will gesture” for Obama during the election year, and release the hostages in an arrangement that simulates the infamous arrangements between former President Reagan and the Iranian revolutionaries who had taken American hostages at the Embassy, in what is commonly called the October Surprise Theory.

Let’s be clear: this sort of “good will” gesture is never done out of good will alone. Reagan was alleged to have agreed to give Iran weapons and to unfreeze their assets.

So, you have to wonder what sort of quid pro quo is being promised by Obama and Richardson. Could it have something to do with pulling support away from Colombian President Uribe? Or might it suggest that they would take pressure off Chavez?

Without any doubt, there is a lot of politics going on here, and you can bet that Obama/Richardson are promising to support and defend Chavez if he helps them with a November surprise to release the hostages.

Nelson Bocaranda Sardi, RUNRUNES

REHENES GRINGOS: La visita del gobernador de Nuevo México -ex precandidato del partido demócrata, ex secretario de Energía en el gobierno de Bill Clinton y quien apoya prominentemente al ya candidato Barack Obama- al presidente Chávez para conversar sobre la suerte de los tres contratistas estadounidenses secuestrados por las FARC desde hace unos años y que tuvo ribetes novelescos. Por un lado el gobernador, amigo de Alí Rodríguez cuando éste era ministro de petróleo, trajo un guante de beisbol firmado por algún integrante del equipo de Colorado y en su conversación en español abordó temas de mutuo interés. Chávez le pidió que le informara en detalle del proceso electoral norteamericano y le asegurara que el Partido Republicano no tenía posibilidades de ganar en noviembre. El caso de los rehenes fue abordado y el venezolano le explicó su problema con Uribe y el tema del intercambio humanitario. Chávez le confirmó que él siempre había estado buscando la liberación de esos contratistas. Allí se asomó la posibilidad (todo esto antes de los últimos acontecimientos negativos para los guerrilleros) de que la guerrilla tenga un gesto de buena voluntadpara con el candidato demócrata -bien cuando sea nombrado en la convención de Denver o si llegara a ser electo Presidente- liberando a los tres ciudadanos gringos. Nada de hacerle un favor a Bush por parte de ellos. Se copiarían la situación vivida por Jimmy Carter con los rehenes estadounidenses en Irán que no fueron liberados sino al minuto después de juramentado Ronald Reagan como presidente. Richardson está buscando ser designado secretario de Estado en un eventual gobierno de Obama. Lo que quedó claro para el gobernador es que el presidente venezolano, dentro de su permanente doble lenguaje, sí está interesado en solucionar ese caso. Para las FARC estos tres secuestrados han sido un perfecto paraguas protector para evitar incursiones del Ejército colombiano que los ha tenido cercados en dos oportunidades, pero por no arriesgar las vidas del trío se han replegado. Sigue insistiendo...

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