Monday, August 13, 2012
As Venezuela Burns Chavez Meddles
in Argentina-British Affairs
Although the fight for the Falkland Islands/(Islas)
Malvinas continues ad nauseam, it is important to shine light to distinguish clearly those national leaders that simply support
one or the other's claims, and those that meddle with intensity for a hidden purpose or self-serving political agenda.
Such is the case of leftist President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who often
rattles his sword and threatens anyone that does not share his ideals and penchant for revolution. He has often demonstrated
that he is quick on the draw to make threats and then squanders millions on military weapons purchases from leftist and other
rogue international governments. These massive and less than transparent expenditures by Chavez have been at great detriment
to the Venezuelan homeland that suffers from food shortages and massive infrastructure decay.
His insults and attempts at strong-arming world democratic leaders are well known throughout the world. In the Americas
alone he has done it to the U.S., Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, and recently Paraguay. He threatens to mass troops to defend
his allies, such as Rafael Correa of Ecuador in turf disputes with Colombia involving the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia] guerrillas; as well as in support of the former and ousted President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya.
Chavez has made it no secret that he was an early supporter of Argentina's Cristina Fernandez
de Kirchner before she was elected to office. Furthermore, Chavez was accused of an early illegal contribution from Venezuela
to the presidential campaign of now President Fernandez de Kirchner.
Antonini Wilson, a Venezuelan businessman with U.S. citizenship, arrived in Buenos Aires on a chartered flight with Argentine
energy officials and executives of Venezuela's state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). And Argentine customs
agents caught him with a suitcase stuffed with $800,000 in cash that reportedly was from Chavez.
It is also no secret that Chavez, who "controls the hemisphere's largest oil reserves, lavishes billions
of dollars in foreign aid on allies to promote his anti-U.S. Bolivarian Revolution."
In a bizarre verbal attack in February 2010, on Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Chavez ranted with his usual
weakness and lack of public decorum; "Look, England, how long are you going to be in Las Malvinas? Queen of England,
I'm talking to you. The times for empires are over, haven't you noticed? Return the Malvinas to the Argentine people.
The English are still threatening Argentina. Things have changed. We are no longer in 1982. If conflict breaks out, be sure
Argentina will not be alone like it was back then."
the Falklands in 1982, claiming sovereignty as the "Malvinas." A British Naval task force traveled the 8,000 miles
to easily put an end to the invasion, an action that ultimately aided in toppling the Argentine military dictatorship and
a shift to democratic rule.
Hugo Chavez has been accused, and is believed
to have mismanaged, Venezuela's massive oil wealth, and he consistently refuses to explain how such an oil-rich country
has fallen financially and failed the people. The squandering and unaccountability of Venezuela's vast oil revenues remains
a mystery to the Venezuelan populace.
Yet now it appears that Chavez wants
to influence the management of possible oil reserves surrounding the Falkland/Malvinas islands.
Argentina's new "State-controlled" oil company, YPF, has a partner in Venezuelan oil giant PDVSA that
decided to explore the area surrounding the islands. PDVSA president Rafael Ramirez Carreño said, "We discussed
the need for oil and gas exploration in the territory and offshore areas adjacent, but we have to analyze the costs and time."
President Fernandez de Kirchner aggressively took the lead and moved further by sending a letter to 15 British and American
banks, "threatening them with legal action for advising companies exploring for oil around the islands."
Argentina recently began attempting to hamper oil exploration in the region, insisting last
week that "all vessels using its ports must now seek permission if they plan to enter or leave British-controlled waters."
Great Britain, sensing Argentina's renewed claims in governing the islands and Venezuela's
interference in the region, quickly demonstrated its readiness to face an armed conflict if it becomes necessary to protect
its sovereignty. Great Britain deployed military troops, and announced the "dispatching in the Islands a nuclear
submarine meant to guard the surrounding waters of the Falkland Islands."
And Chavez, once again, has joined the island-related disputed rhetoric in support of Argentina with an additional
threat. "In this case I speak only for Venezuela, but if the British Empire should militarily attack Argentina, Argentina
will not be alone on this occasion. Venezuela is not most powerful, but we will resist the imperialist aggression against
The region's future is blurred as Argentina
claims rights to the Malvinas Islands, "since it considers the fact that it inherited them once with the independence
gained from Spanish governance at the beginning of 1820's." This while Great Britain stands firm in its decisions
of claiming sovereignty of the islands since 1833, when it established its first British settlements in the area.
Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation
firm headquartered in northern Virginia. His website is located at http://www.cjiausa.org/.