LATIN AMERICA TAKES A HARD TURN TO THE LEFT
By Alan Caruba
The White House press briefing prior to the Summit was filled with phrases such as “a strategic partner” (Panama) and “a global democratic partner” (Brazil). Air Force One will get a workout as the President visits both countries after the Argentinean summit meeting. Behind the smiles and handshakes, however, there’s another story.
Since the 1950s, Fidel Castro has been running his own little Communist paradise in Cuba. Not far away in Venezuela, his biggest fan, Hugo Chavez, is busy imposing Communism there. Having come to power in a coup in 1999, he has been increasing the government’s control over the entire Venezuelan economy ever since. Since Venezuela is a provider of oil to the U.S.A. and since Chavez is using that money to stir up all kinds of trouble for us, we will, sooner rather than later, be unable to ignore him or the rest of the region.
Even at this early stage in the game, it’s beginning to look like we are going to have to eventually “liberate” Venezuela.
Chavez is no shrinking violet. He continually calls the U.S.A. “the imperialist power” and “the world’s most evil regime.” Chavez has become a little globetrotter, meeting with Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s former President, and Moammar Gaddafi, Libya’s dictator. He’s made an oil deal with China and has announced a major weapons purchase from Russia, Brazil, and Spain. Need it be said that, with the rise in the price of oil, he is swimming in money?
Major Juan Diaz Castillo, Chavez’s former Air Force Operations Chief who defected, revealed that Chavez has been busy donating money to al-Qa'ida, is protecting and helping train Colombian and Arab terrorists, and “is working to form a bloc of countries to fight the U.S.A.”
So Venezuela is a big problem, even if most of the population does not support Chavez, but, like Cubans, has little opportunity to overthrow their dictator.
Another admirer of Castro is the President of Brazil, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva. His other heroes include Saddam Hussein and Hugo Chavez. His government and military is chocked full of Communist Party officials and other Leftist radicals.
In a March, 2005, commentary, “Caudillos to Communism”, Gordon Frisch takes the reader on a travelogue that spells out the big trouble we face to the south of us. Frisch spent more than twenty years in oil and gas exploration, working in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America. For the last 17 years, he has edited a financial and geopolitical newsletter. Writing about Argentina, Frisch notes that “The Pew Research Center says that anti-Americanism is the highest in Argentina of any Latin American country at 73%.” Its President is Nestor Kirchner, who has plans for the “Cubanization” of Latin America, plans that mirror similar movements in Uruguay, Bolivia, and Peru.
Geopolitical experts, however, contend that Argentina, Brazil, and Chile will stay friendly to U.S. interests because their economies are better developed, are growing, and will benefit far more by trade with us than by going the route of Venezuela. Maybe.
In Ecuador, the President, Lucio Gutierrez, was a militant member of the Marxist Peronist Party. In Bolivia, Frisch puts his money on Evo Morales of the Leftist MAS (Movement Toward Socialism) Party to be the next President.
You could put the names of most Latin American nations into a hat and, no matter what you pulled out, you would find Leftists. Even Chile, a U.S. ally and widely considered to be the only free, democratic nation on the South American continent, has a new President, Ricardo Lagos, a militant Socialist who was that nation’s Ambassador to the former Soviet Union under the Marxist Allende government from 1970 to 1973.
The CIA helped get Chile’s President, Salvador Allende, overthrown. It is one of its best-known success stories and one can only hope that the CIA has a big room in its headquarters with maps of Latin American nations on the walls and plans to deal with the region's current crop of Communists.
Ronald Reagan did his best to thwart the control of Nicaragua by the Sandanistas, but they are now back in power.
Former President Jimmy Carter will be remembered for relinquishing U.S. control of the Panama Canal. Today in a nation of only two million people, 40,000 of them are legal Chinese residents and another 150,000 Chinese are not. When the U.S.A. withdrew from the Panama Canal Zone, Hutchison Whampoa, a Hong Kong-based front company for the People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party, leased and now controls port facilities at both ends of the Canal.
As Frisch puts it, “Panama is close to becoming a de facto Chinese puppet.” It was once our puppet, bought and paid for by Theodore Roosevelt and the U.S. funding that built the Canal. And it is a chokehold that can prevent the U.S. Navy from moving its ships from the Atlantic to the Pacific or vice versa. This holds true for all U.S. commercial traffic as well.
Little wonder that, in November, 2004, Chinese President Hu Jintao took a two-week tour of Latin America, making all kinds of deals throughout a region that is rich in natural resources and is home to many Communist parties, and a phalanx of narco-terrorist groups that make the Middle East look like a vacation spot.
Latin America, if it continues to pursue a Socialist/Communist future, could turn out to be the next destination for the U.S. military, after it gets through changing hearts and minds in the Middle East.
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Alan Caruba is a veteran business and science writer, a Public Relations Counselor, and Founder of the National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about media-driven scare campaigns. Caruba writes a weekly commentary, "Warning Signs," posted on the Internet website of the National Anxiety Center, which is located at www.anxietycenter.com.
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