Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Tinderbox to our South?

We really don't need South America to blow up in our faces right now.

Venezuela has replaced Cuba as the headquarters of the violent left. ... Chávez uses the river of petrodollars that is pouring into the country, as a result of rising fuel prices, to strengthen his army's offensive capability. Pending is the purchase of 50 MiG-29 warplanes from Russia, along with a large number of tanks, helicopters and armored vehicles.

The purpose of so much materiel is easy to guess: an eventual confrontation with Colombia, intended not only to liquidate Uribe's ''oligarchic and pro-United States'' government but also to initiate the reconstruction of the Greater Colombia (including Ecuador), the grand homeland sought unsuccessfully by Simón Bolívar in the first half of the 19th century.

But this dangerous imperial Bolivarian dream has another, even more-dangerous detour: a war against Chile, intended to destroy that bastion of "neoliberalism." Whether governed by the Christian Democrats or the Social Democrats (as it is led today by Ricardo Lagos), Chile is seen as a threat by the left because of its defense of free markets, democracy and free international commerce.

But Jimmy Carter said he was a good guy!