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>CAUTION: Russia is Arming Venzuela

Don White

September 22, 2008
Washington–An AP headline and story today, taken alone, is innocuous enough. Writer Vladimir Isachenkov tells of how Russia is supplying arms to the militant Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a tit-for-tat show of strength countering America’s food and supply lifts to beleaguered Georgia.
But there is a problem. The amount of military trade with this small country is far beyond that needed to defend itself, so what’s up?

Only the threat of the U.S. intervention in South and Central America has checked Chavez’s imperialistic designs and confined him to his borders. But sources inside Venezuela tell us he has greater aspirations. With big brother Vlad Putin on his side, he could see his dreams come true–and his sights are set on at least out-maneuvering and influencing, if not immediately attacking, countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.

With Chavez-friendly Ecuador on one side of pro-American Columbia and his own country on the other, it would not be a difficult task to overcome Columbia even before the U.S. had time to react. If not Columbia first, it could attack Panama and take over the canal, allowing only tankers with Russian oil to pass.

We haven’t done anything to oust Russia from Georgia, and Chavez counting on that to be a signal that the U.S. is too preoccupied in Iraq and Afghanistan to pose a threat to his imperialistic moves.

Russia has been providing Chavez arms since 2005 with $4 billion in fighter jets, helicopters, and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles to mount a war of aggression.

In addition, Hugo Chavez will travel to Russia later this week to enter into discussions on many subjects: First, how to keep America at bay; second, which weak Latin American nation now friendly to the the U.S. could Chavez attack and occupy? And third, he needs Putin’s blessing to show him how he can use the oil card to change the balance of power in the Americas and further weaken America? Both he and Putin understand that oil is America’s achilles heel.

A Russian navy squadron set off for Venezuela Monday, an official said, in a deployment of Russian military power to the Western Hemisphere. If this doesn’t excite anyone else, he scares me. This move is unprecedented since the Cold War.

In his AP story today, Vladimir Isachenkov said the Kremlin recently has moved to intensify contacts with Venezuela, Cuba and other Latin American nations amid increasingly strained relations with Washington after last month’s war between Russia and Georgia. During the Cold War, Latin America became an ideological battleground between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Russian navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said the nuclear-powered Peter the Great cruiser accompanied by three other ships sailed from the Northern Fleet’s base of Severomorsk on Monday. The ships will cover about 15,000 nautical miles to conduct joint maneuvers with the Venezuelan navy, he told The Associated Press.

The deployment follows a week-long visit to Venezuela by a pair of Russian strategic bombers and comes as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez — an unbridled critic of U.S. foreign policy who has close ties with Moscow — plans to visit Moscow this week. It will be Chavez’s second trip to Russia in about two months.

The intensifying contacts with Venezuela appear to be a response to the U.S. dispatch of warships to deliver aid to Georgia which angered the Kremlin. But the Kremlin’s chain needs rattling.

So. . .they are upset because the world, led by America, is up in arms about their recent takeover of a sovereign nation? They shouldn’t be. If Russia expects to work well with the West it must never, never again attack and take over a sovereign nation. But we all know this is just the first step in an aggressive war plan Putin and Medvedev have put into action.

On August 13, 2008, just five days after the start of the Georgian War, I wrote a story about Putin in my blog Political Disconnect, satirizing his imperialistic ways. Part of the headline said: “I Can Haz Georgia?” Thereafter, he stayed in Georgia after attacking a much smaller, less well equipped nation and now, for all intents and purposes, he “Haz” Georgia as the West sits idly by doing almost nothing.

Chavez said in an interview with Russian television broadcast Sunday that Latin America needs a strong friendship with Russia to help reduce U.S. influence and keep peace in the region. “Keeping peace” is a code word for attack. That’s exactly what Putin said he was doing when he went into Georgia–keeping peace between South Ossetia, a province of Georgia, and Georgia. But what business does he have keeping peace in Georgia? Next, he will want to “keep peace” in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Baltic states, European Union, NATO, and the U.S., beware!

In separate comments on his Sunday TV and radio program, Chavez joked that he will be making his international tour to Russia and other countries this week aboard the “super-bombers that Medvedev loaned me,” a reference to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. “Gentlemen of the CIA, to be clear, I’m joking,” Chavez said with a laugh.

No he isn’t! Chavez has repeatedly warned that the U.S. Navy poses a threat to Venezuela.

Russia has signed weapons contracts worth more than $4 billion with Venezuela since 2005 to supply fighter jets, helicopters, and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles. Chavez’s government is in talks to buy Russian submarines, air defense systems and armored vehicles and more Sukhoi fighter jets.

Russian and Venezuelan leaders also have talked about boosting cooperation in the energy sphere to create what Chavez has called “a new strategic energy alliance.”

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who visited Venezuela last week, announced that five of Russia’s biggest oil companies are looking to form a consortium to increase Latin American operations and to build a $6.5 billion refinery to process Venezuela’s tar-like heavy crude. Such an investment could help Venezuela, the world’s ninth-biggest oil producer, wean itself from the U.S. refineries on which it depends to process much of its crude.

Sechin warned the United States that it should not view Latin America as its own backyard. “It would be wrong to talk about one nation having exclusive rights to this zone,” he said in an interview broadcast Sunday