“President Chavez has said: ‘If you find a FARC camp in Venezuela, give me the coordinates and we will respond immediately.’ When we have given him the information, he has responded …”Colombian President Santos
This is either clever brinksmanship by the Colombian government or a naive policy that will result in many disappointments shortly. I tend to think the latter. Without a doubt
Placating a tin horn dictator is not a good thing. Hugo Chavez is a dangerous political figure who projects as a fool. An acolyte of the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, Chavez uses his perch to project Cuban-style socialism in Venezuela and the Andean region. A peace deal in with the FARC? It will be a peace deal in name only.
The Venezuelan opposition needs all the help it can muster from regional powers and powers, especially from liberty lovers in Colombia. Bolstering Chavez’s image as a legitimate leader does not help advance the cause of liberty in Caracas, it sets it back. Maybe Santos is nothing more than a socialist in democratic garb? Time will tell.
The Colombian government and certain “expert advisors” in Washington, D.C. believe playing nice with Chavez will keep him at bay and advance the cause of stability in the region. They are wrong. Chavez is a facilitator of terror as are those who surround him.
Under Chavez’s hardline rule, Venezuela has become a safe haven for those wishing ill on the United States. His support is not limited to the terrorist group FARC. Chavez is a close ally of state sponsors of terror Iran and Cuba, as well as groups and individuals that use terrorism to advance an anti-U.S. agenda.
Chavez, like Castro and other tin horn dictators, is a liar and will turn on Colombia when it suits them. And maybe they are undermining the Colombian system right under their noses. The double talk and deception from Chavez would not be the first time Andean nations turn on each other. This has happened many times before. It may be happening again.
Venezuela should have been added to our state sponsor of terror list many years ago. It may irritate Venezuelan ex-pats — a curious group that also opposes tough economic sanctions against the Chave regime.
Using Colombia as a proxy to contain Venezuelan adventurism will fail and does not advance regional stability, it exacerbates it. Before the Colombians regret this new-found kumbaya, someone in the U.S. Congress should remind Santos that, as an ally of the U.S. (and recipient of U.S. taxpayer dollars) Colombia should focus on encouraging freedom and liberty, not mollifying a Castro clone.
Colombia should serve as a beacon of liberty for the Andean region; a reminder to regional bad actors in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia that, sooner or later, their socialist experiments will fail. As they must. Liberty always triumphs. Santos should clear up his muddled focus and remember who has helped Colombia the past few decades: U.S. taxpayers.