Friday, January 18, 2008

Chavez recklessly keeps stocking the fire

Apparently chavismo has decided that they have reached a point of no return and that to save Chavez face, or so they think, they must at least reach a break in diplomatic relations. Of course I still think that war is not seriously contemplated by anyone except perhaps Chavez under influence, but the dangerous games that the Chavez administration has been playing are going to force them to suspend relations with Colombia. How else can we explain the latest communique of the Venezuelan foreign desk? How more bananesque a text can one imagine coming from a country supposedly in the XXI century? I suspect that even in the good old days of Gomez (good old days for Chavez anyway since he is imitating the Gomez style more and more) such a communique would have been conceivable. Except that Gomez knew better than play foreign policy, very content to administer his big farm called Venezuela until his death.

Since we must start somewhere let's start with the length of the communique: Venezuela needed 743 words to insult, I mean, reply, to the previous Colombian communique which was only 287 words. Inasmuch as that Colombian communique was in all fairness a tad personal against Chavez (still, infinitely less personal than the repeated attacks of Chavez the previous days) it did not justify the spiteful text that Nicolas Maduro signed. Then again, what can you expect from a failed metro bus driver?

I am not going to bother translating it, it is embarrassing, and thus will limit myself to some highlights to give the tone.

The Colombian government attacks president Chavez because he is the only one who has met success in freeing hostage. Maduro apparently has not been informed that a few hours after the liberation of Gonzales and Rojas, the FARC took 6 new hostages. Quite a success, no? Note also that no opportunity is wasted to glorify the beloved Supremo.

The Colombian government is not committed with freeing hostages because it prefers to beg the interested imperial condescension of the US. Someone should tell Maduro that there are US citizen hostages and that surely enough lots of pressure have been exerted to have then freed. Not to mention the totally gratuitous implication about Colombia foreign policy, certainly not anymore vile toward the US than the Venezuelan one is towards Cuba.

The communique of the Colombian foreign office is riddled with cynicism and hypocrisy. Well, considering that it is barely a third of the Venezuelan one which is riddled with stupidity and ill intentions, the Colombians are either master narrators or Maduro did not get the point at all.

Dozens of intermediaries of high level, linked to president Uribe, are today behind bars for crimes of terrorism, paramilitarism and drug trafficking. Did it occur to Maduro that in Colombia maybe the judicial system works whereas in Venezuela you can steal, lie, cheat, fraud, kill all that you want and as long as you do not travel you will never go to jail?

I think I will stop here. The reader should have now a pretty good idea of what this whole charade is about. And if there is any doubt it is enough to see how fast the monochromatic National Assembly following the cue form their beloved Comandante quickly voted with minimum debate to give belligerent status to the FARC. Only PODEMOS balked, as they are slowly getting used to become the democratic opposition to an increasingly undemocratic chavismo.

I will leave this post with three tidbits.

The Venezuelan government is claiming that the FARC holds no Venezuelans, as a way to try to distract from the fact that around 100 Venezuelans are held hostages (and probably much more). Well, it was quickly denied by some Colombian officials that stated that at least 16 Venezuelans are held by the FARC, for pecuniary reasons.

The Colombian defense minister was non-plussed by the latest Maduro opus. He dismissed it as a Chavez "bravuconada" (somewhere between boast and thuggery?) . but that was not all: a few hours ago he demanded that Chavez submitted the evidence he had as to the Colombian government wanting to assassinate him. Neither him nor long time readers of this blog are holding their breath as to Chavez ever submitting such type of evidence.

Meanwhile we were reminded of the crude reality: Colombian exportations increased by 17.7% from last year. We are not talking here of oil which price is artificially high and which might be falling any time soon if a US recession is confirmed. We are talking actual manufactured goods in addition to raw materials. Radio Caracol specified that just for Venezuela the increase over one year was 80% though I find this hard to believe. However what I found easy to believe is that Venezuela now buys almost as much as half of what the US buys form Colombia and more than what the European Union as a whole buys! That is, per capita, Venezuela is the main client of Colombia, and food is the largest chunk of what we buy there....

-The end-

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