In the recent spat between Ecuador Colombia and Venezuela, Hugo Chavez during an appearance on his Alo Presidente show bombastically ordered his minister of defense to deploy troops, planes and tanks to the border with Colombia. With all of his fiery speeches, his bombastic proclamations there is only one thing that is certain. Hugo Chavez would never attack Colombia.
Forgetting the fact that the Colombian army is larger, US equipped and has combat experience, the real reason that Hugo Chavez would never attack is that he knows that his regime would come to an end.
First of all he would have to justify the deaths of Venezuelans in support of the most reviled narco guerrillas in the world. On the 4th of February of this year millions of Colombians marched in protest against the FARC guerrillas. Thousands also marched in Paris, New York, Sidney and in other major cities.
Not even his buddy Fidel endorsed his call to consider FARC a belligerent organization rather than a terrorist one.
In a recent article in the March/April edition of Foreign Affairs, Francisco Rodriguez, who was the head economist for the Venezuelan National Assembly, states that the Revolution in Venezuela is "Empty." (Title of the article is Venezuela's Empty Revolution)
In the article he states that in Venezuela today, there is a shortage of the most basic foodstuffs (black beans, rice, meat, milk, plantains, bread). He states that even though oil had quadrupled since 1999 that the poverty figures in Venezuela are worse than when he took over the reins of government.
The percentage of underweight births has risen. The percentage of people who have access to running water have dropped. The number of people who have dirt floors have risen 300% since Chavez came to power. Infant mortality rates have dropped the same amount as it did in the previous nine years before Chavez. (3.4%). At the same time Argentina, Chile and Mexico have seen that same rate drop over 5% in the last 6 years.
Of 210,000 literacy trainers that Chavez has supposedly hired there is no record in the public employee data system of those people haviing been hired or paid.
After he fired 17,000 striking PDVSA workers (PDVSA is the national oil company) he hired political hacks to run the company. With the biggest oil boom in history Chavez has squandered billions of dollars as according to OPEC Venezuela is only producing 3.3 million barrels a day which is only 75% of his qouta.
In November of last year the Central Bank reported that inflation was running at an annual rate of 67.7% a fact that was witheld until after the constitutional vote. With the poverty, lack of basic foodstuffs, Chavez continues to mingle in the affairs of other nations. Computers taken from the raid in Ecuador show that Chavez gave the FARC guerrillas over 300 million dollars.
In Florida recently a man was convicted who had in a suitcase over $800,000 destined to influence the elections in Argentina. In the upcoming elections in El Salvador Chavez has promised cheap petroleum in the event of a win by the far left FMNL party which has dranw the ire if President Tony Saca.
In Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba Chavez doles out hundreds of millions of petrodollars in the form of below market sales of petroleum to these nations. Just recently he gave a new refinery to Fidel Castro.
Chavez is losing political support from the very same people that he has always claimed to represent and care about, the poor. They see themselves getting poorer and poorer. They see that basic services are not provided. They see oil at over $100 a barrel and they see their children getting sick due to lack of clean water.
No Colombia has nothing to fear from Venezuela and Chavez. It is Hugo Chavez that has a lot to fear from Venezuelans.
Albert Marrero Salas:
Alberto Marrero Salas. Partner. Nacara 2000 Immigration Law. My thanks to LatinoLA for its presentation of all viewpoints. Gracias, Abelardo.