About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Saab in Venezuela - Saab GUNS, that is.

Jane's Intelligence Weekly reports today that Venezuela is expanding its ability to buy weapons from the Russians. This comes on the heels of the discovery of Swedish guns in FARC camps in Colombia that were purchased initially (allegedly) by Venezuela. (see the UPI report here).

The Russia deal has the Colombian's spooked. An increase in weapons to the FARC at a time when the Colombian right-wing has them on the run signals to the world that the imminent death of the FARC has been greatly over-stated.

US guns and Russian guns battling it out in a Latin American nation as neighboring exporters of revolution or democracy fuel the fire: I think we've danced this dance before, and all we end up with at the end of the day are a lot of dead Latin Americans. Several months ago I made a comment on a blog to which the administrator snarkily (is that a word) replied that "all the historical factors" regarding Venezuela are different and that we will repeat no history there. Really? A mono-commodity populist exporting revolution as part of a proxy battle for global resources not part of a repeated past? Things may not repeat themselves, but I agree with Mr. Twain: We have some serious rhyming going on.


Justin Delacour said...

But why would you be so eager to believe U.S.-Colombian propaganda on this matter?

The truth of the matter is that Chavez knows that support for the FARC gets him nowhere. The FARC has no prospects of winning, and support for them would just bring Chavez a lot of problems.

It's one thing if some corrupt officers in Venezuela sold some old weapons to the FARC. (Remember that Montesinos did that too). It's quite another thing for the Venezuelan government to adopt a policy of supporting the FARC. That's just not in the cards, and you ought to know better.

JHD said...

tsk tsk Corruption in the Venezuelan armed forces? But why would you be so eager to believe right-wing Venezuelan propaganda on this? Surely there is no corruption in the revolution!

Justin Delacour said...

Surely there is no corruption in the revolution!

Uh, no, I'm a realist and I've always been a realist. Of course there is corruption within the Venezuelan state, just as there is corruption within all states. To acknowledge that is wholly distinct from making wild claims that a "mono-commodity populist" has a policy of arming the FARC. A scholar has a responsibility to think before he writes and to not rely upon propaganda and innuendo as his sources of information.

Justin Delacour said...

Af for my on own thoughts on Colombia's old laptop tale, here they are.

JHD said...

Suuuure. Because Chavez has NEVER said that he felt the FARC was a "Bolivarian Project" that he respects. He's never said they are a legitimate fighting force. He's never said they deserve to be considered a legitimate part of Colombia and that the rejection of the FARC was no more than a US conspiracy. Of course FARC has never returned the affection declaring that they would fight in Venezuela to help prop up Chavez in case of a coup. He hasn't stonewalled the Swedes for days (the notoriously right-leaning Swedes apparently being a tool and pawn of the Colombian PL). He didn't even pull another one of his drama queen performances and yank his ambassador from Colombia ramping up the tension between the two nations - again. No, all of those declarations were mere propaganda of a vast right wing conspiracy as Uribe shoved his hand up Hugo's arse and made his mouth move while he talked on from the side.

In the realm of speculation, Chavez would never be involved in pumping a little life into the FARC to take some of the bounce out of the PL victory dance on FARC's grave as we come up to 2010 and the next presidential election or to even keep them alive long enough so he can "broker" a peace before the Colombians toss FARC to the curb once and for all. And never, ever, has a Latin American nation engaged in quiet and unofficial support of revolutions in their neighbor's back yard to prevent them from full stabilization and later posing a challenge to their regional dominance.

Then again, Chavez had a little whip-lash moment and he called the FARC "behind the times" and asked them to lay down arms. This guy goes back and forth more than a second-rate grad student searching for a diss topic. Chavez has been all over on this topic, and speculation based on his own on-again-off-again behavior is well within reasonable limits.

And who in Sam Hill said anything about the FARC laptop farce? A scholar has a responsibility to read before he writes and to not rely upon stale stories and pet projects in an attempt to self-promote.

As for the comment on corruption... pull the stick out. It was a light-hearted poke at the Movimiento Santo Bolivariano ... lighten up a little. I guess we'll just call it training to be one of those guys Jaime is talking about on Cyber Hacienda. It's not like you have nothing better to do than visit this blog half-a-dozen times tonight to see if I replied.