The Associated Press reports that Venezuela leader Hugo Chavez yesterday “urged Venezuela’s allies to form an “anti-imperialist” military alliance to defend Latin America from possible attacks by the United States … warning that Washington poses a threat to regional security, Chavez called on Nicaragua, Bolivia and communist-led Cuba to “put together a common defense strategy and create our armed force” – a military coalition united against U.S. dominance in the region.” Chavez added that “Washington is trying to sabotage to isolate his government.”
This is not the first and surely will not be the last time that Venezuela tests U.S. resolve and leadership in the region. Whether his announcement in 2006 that Venezuela planned to construct Russian Kalashnikov weapons factories or purchasing them in bulk, his announcement in 2007 of the purchase of a fleet of Russian military submarines, his support of terrorist groups such as the FARC-People’s Army, and other regional adventurism too numerous to mention, Venezuela is on a mission to make the most of high crude oil prices to advance a certain to fail political and economic model for the Americas, the Bolivarian Axis.
Venezuela’s recent announcement should not be news, but yet another distraction in a more politically tangled web. Two weeks ago I wrote that Venezuela had demonstrated a callous disregard for the lives of innocent civilians turn pawns of regional Cuba/Venezuela politics and its support of the FARC-People’s Army terrorist group. In light of these and other activity in the region by Cuba and its patron Venezuela, the U.S. should seriously consider designating Venezuela a terrorist haven pursuant to U.S. law.
At this juncture, nothing beneficial can come from engagement with Venezuela. One of our sole democratic allies in the region, Colombia, is under constant verbal and political attack by Bolivarian Axis countries. Colombia is a problem for the Chavez/Castro Bolivarian Axis – it is in the way. Venezuela’s solution to this problem is to work with the FARC-People’s Army throughout southern Colombia to clear a path to neighboring Ecuador where all of the oil reserves are located. As with the Bolivarian vision, this strategy shall too fail but at what cost to regional stability?
Venezuela is just one country out of the more than 34 members of the Organization of American States (OAS). The region should close ranks on Cuban/Venezuelan adventurism and since the OAS has failed to create conditions to do that, it is incumbent on the U.S. to lead the way. When the U.S. Congress approves a Colombia FTA, the Bush Administration should also designate Venezuela a terror sanctuary. Designating Venezuela a terror sanctuary would be an appropriate response in light of its leaders acts and deeds.