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Will Chavez embroil Venezuela in a war in the Caribbean?

By Kenneth Rijock

11.03.06 | Last week’s saber rattling by Hugo Chavez, a blunt threat to remove the Dutch from the Netherlands Antilles islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, clearly demonstrates the existence of a misguided national policy that can only result in an armed conflict in the Caribbean. The fabricated territorial and maritime claims against the Netherlands by the current Venezuelan government are certainly a recipe for disaster. But by also seeking to expel what he refers to as the other “colonial powers” of France, the United Kingdom and the United States from their possessions in the Western Hemisphere, he risks armed confrontation with the NATO countries.

We should not be surprised, as Chavez has always viewed the NATO military installations as threats to Venezuela. While he knows he could no more win a conventional war against any European country than Argentina could prevail over the UK in the Falklands (Malvinas), offensive weapons, such as missiles obtained from North Korea and Iran, when coupled with small, albeit effective, tactical nuclear devices, could result in permanent ecological damages to the Caribbean. There would be no winner of such a conflict.

When documentary and photographic evidence of the presence of ballistic missiles inside Venezuela, and of Chavez’ serious efforts to develop or buy nuclear weapons, emerges, those who doubt the validity of such serious allegations will ruefully have to admit to the existence of a clear and present danger to peace. Those who scoff at the truth of this information, and seek to draw a parallel to the bogus claims of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq by President Bush, miss the point. Chavez must divert attention from Venezuela’s failing economy, and its corrupt Bolivarian elite, who are stealing the country blind. He must do something, or fall from power, either through the electoral process, or a popular uprising.

Dictators in political trouble frequently have enmeshed their nations in foreign military adventures to distract the people from domestic problems. The worry is that Chavez and Castro will amass sufficient weaponry to actually initiate military action in 2006. This is not idle speculation; both regimes have been actively acquiring military technology of late. One also must bear in mind the alliance of the Chavez regime with radical, fanatical terrorist organisations who could assist in this madness.

Factor in the recent rantings of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro Ruz, and the consensus of veteran Cuban watchers that Castro wants to leave his mark on the region for posterity, and we have the potential for an unthinkable war, Cuba and Venezuela, with covert logistical support from Iran, North Korea and possibly Syria, against one or more of the “imperialist powers.”

With Chavez losing his grip on Venezuela, he may follow his patron, Fidel, down the road to ruin for his country. We cannot let that happen; the truth about offensive weapons inside Venezuela must be told in a clear and convincing manner. Only then can the folly of military misadventure be avoided.

More than a hundred years ago, Chile, Peru and Bolivia fought the War of the Pacific, and bruised feelings from the war still remain in those countries. Do we really want to see a catastrophic conflict brought solely for the purposes of keeping the Chavez regime in power? The outcome would be a nightmare.

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