In the stunning news section, Chavez announced in the wee hours that he is sending back his ambassador to Colombia!!!!!!
1) I would have never guessed that Uribe's tour would have been that successful, in particular the Brazilia stop and 2) that finally someone had gone up to Chavez and told him that Venezuela could certainly cut off economic links to Colombia but not that fast in order to avoid serious food shortfalls.
So what about my preceding post, "Colombia cornered?"?
I must start confessing one thing: on occasion I use the "delayed" posting feature of blogger. That is, I finish writing a given post that has no urgency at, say 10 PM, and schedule it to post next morning, in particular if I have been posting a lot (as this past week) and I plan to take a day off my computer such as today when I have a lot of things to do.
To make things worse last night we had two power outages in San Felipe that lasted a total of two hours. By the time I could get back on my computer I was tired, did a final overlook at the post, scheduled it for 8 AM and went to bed, without checking any late news. I mean, please, it was Friday night and I had polished off a bottle of delightful Etchart Torrontes by candlelight while chatting over the phone with friends to wait out the power outage... Heck, even my blackberry web access went dead so I could not twit to see who else in Venezuela had a power outage!! Not to mention that Chavez announcement came around midnight.
But if you read the post you will realize that it is still 95% valid, that the geopolitical position has not changed and that what has happened is that Uribe's reception at Brasilia was heard loud and clear.
Chavez realized that Uribe's tour was not going his way. So he needed a quick gimmick to turn once again the tables. He used a recent visit by Colombia's ex-president Samper (not a moral reference by the way as he is someone who has a major grudge against the US) and some event organized by Piedad Cordoba trying to refurbish her tarnished image in Colombia where many consider her a traitor. He used the podium to call for "bases of peace", whatever that means, and sent back his ambassador to work on this new peace plan. As a cope out this one will go in the books.
The only real question that remains is about the nature of Lula's announcement that the UNASUR summit will discuss the US bases in Colombia. The Mercopress release is quite interesting.
The creation of a Council to combat narcotics-traffic will enable the region to discuss how to counter the drugs trade “precisely when this issue and matters of regional defence have emerged in the regional debate”, said Marcelo Baumbach, spokesperson for the Brazilian presidency.Seems to me that Uribe did achieve something during his whirlwind tour. And this is why Chavez improvised something last night: he does NOT want UNASUR to discuss FARC and narco control because he risks too much to become the center of the discussion.
Update: according to an article in Latin American Herald there might be a very simple reason for sending back the ambassador: if Colombia stops sending gas to old Maracaibo wells Venezuelan production could crash....