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Letter to Mack & Ros-Lehtinen: Hugo Chavez supports terrorism, not Venezuela

By Alek Boyd

02.04.08 | The other day I received an email from somebody from Connie Mack's office, which contained the Congressional Resolution calling for Venezuela to be named State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST): "Citing Venezuela’s continued support of and ties to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), an internationally-recognized terrorist organization, Congressman Connie Mack (FL-14) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18) introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives today that calls on the Administration to add Venezuela to the state sponsors of terrorism list." Said resolution is meant to have been supported by Reps. Michael McCaul (TX-10), Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03), Mike Pence (IN-06), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21) and Mary Bono Mack (CA-45).

With all due respect to House representatives involved in this, I think this has to go down in history as one of the stupidest moves against Hugo Chavez ever performed. And it shows incredible ignorance and extreme clumsiness on behalf of these representatives. For adding Venezuela to the list of SST will do for Chavez what the embargo has done for his Cuban master: read provide the perfect argument for Chavez to blame the USA for every single one of his failures. That there's no milk? "That's because of them!" he'll say. That freedoms will be severely restricted? "We can't allow for mischief against Venezuela!" he'll state, adding that any position that could be construed as contrary to Venezuelan sovereignty must be crushed. A replica of Cuba's "conducta impropia" or "peligrosidad social." That such obvious result has escaped Ros-Lehtinen and her friends speaks volumes about pragmatism, common sense and general intellect of some US Congressmen and Congresswomen, not to mention an evident utter disconnection to Latin America's reality.

Besides, one thing is Venezuela and another is Hugo Chavez's administration, if it can be called as such. Criminal organization, led by a galloping military megalomaniac, defines more aptly the group of thugs currently in power in our beleaguered country. INTERPOL will soon publish its findings regarding Chavez's involvement with FARC. This, beyond all the fuss and hype of late, is nothing new. For it should not be forgotten that Chavez demonstrated, beyond doubt, that he was in bed with FARC over the capture of Rodrigo Granda in 2004. Since as early as February 2001, Chavez has purposefully ignored specific denunciations about FARC presence in Venezuelan territory: INTERPOL will simply reconfirm that Raul Reyes' laptops data is genuine.

So if American Congressmen are serious about punishing Hugo Chavez, put him, and members of his regime, in the list of sponsors of terrorism, as the European Union has, sensibly, done with some individuals. If American Congressmen are serious about curtailing activities of those who aid and abet terrorists they could start freezing bank accounts, confiscating assets and denying visas to chavistas; they could start scrutinizing and monitoring very closely activities of propaganda offices and unregistered agents in Washington DC; they could work with INTERPOL and issue international arrest warrants, in order to restrict their movement; they should ask themselves the role of CITGO and the income it generates that ends up in Chavez's hands, which fuels his criminal enterprises and arms race. Mind you there are so many options: why picking on Venezuelans? Why do we have to pay the consequences of the actions of that deranged president of ours? Is it not sufficient punishment having to put up with him?

Hugo Chavez is the one supporting terrorism, for the majority of Venezuelans, presumably as every Latin American willing to live in peace, are squarely behind President Uribe's efforts to bring FARC narcoterrorists to justice once and for all.

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