Monthly Archives: April 2010

>Latin America File: Colombian fishermen: Nicaraguan Navy used subterfuge to intercept, board, and commandeer their boats in disputed waters

>- Startling October 2008 Article from Nicaragua Today Warns that Caracas and Managua Plan to Orchestrate Maritime Confrontation between Nicaragua and Colombia, Foment Regional War, Draw Russia into Fray

- Chavez Hints of War if Colombian Presidential Candidate Santos Elected, Denies Charges of Meddling and Personal Friendship with Santos’ Main Rival, Green Party Leader Mockus

At Once Upon a Time in the West we scour the news behind the headlines to expose Communist Bloc machinations, especially in the Western Hemisphere. Although apparently unconnected to other current events in Latin America, last Friday’s detention of 25 Colombian fishermen by the Nicaraguan Navy could be part of a plot, concocted by Russia and its Latin American proxies, to destabilize US allies in the region.

In follow-up news reports, the Colombian detainees contend that the Nicaraguan military used subterfuge to intercept, board, and commandeer their three boats–Laura Anny, Red Tail, and Daniela M.–in disputed waters around the Caribbean islands of San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina. A popular resort destination, the islands are administered by Colombia, but claimed by Nicaragua.

“Some guys arrived in go-fast boats without any kind of emblems; they turned off the GPS and forced me to move the boat to Nicaragua,” Laura Anny’s engineer, Ulises Serrano, told Bogota daily El Tiempo. “This was a kidnapping, because I was forced to move the boat by night to Nicaragua, against my will,” he elaborated. In an interview with La FM radio Laura Anny captain Antonio Burbano asserted: “They assaulted us because they didn’t ask permission to board. We even thought they were bandits because they arrived and they were boarding the boat.” The Laura Anny and its owner Alejandro Serrano are pictured above.

On Monday the Colombian Foreign Ministry delivered a note of protest to the Nicaraguan government in which it complained that the detention of Laura Anny “constitutes a flagrant violation of the regulations and principles of international law.” The Colombian government affirmed: “An analysis was made of the technical evidence that existed of the interception of the fishing boat, and the illegality of the detention was verified.” The Nicaraguan Navy retorted by maintaining that the Laura Anny and other ships were detained “for illegal fishing in Nicaraguan waters.”

The Honduran government, which is conservative like Colombia’s and with which Tegucigalpa signed a security pact earlier this year, has denounced Nicaragua’s seizure of the Colombian fishing boats. The Nicaraguan military also detained five fishermen from the Cayman Islands.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega first contested Colombian sovereignty over the islands in 1980, the year after his Soviet/Cuban-backed Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) overthrew the US-backed Somoza dynasty. The long-running maritime spat took a legal turn in 2001, when Managua, then under a pro-Washington administration, submitted a lawsuit to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In December 2007 the ICJ affirmed that Colombian sovereignty over San Andres and its companions was legitimately settled by a 1928 treaty signed by both countries.

Undaunted, Ortega, who re-assumed the presidency after a 16-year hiatus, insisted on pressing Nicaragua’s claim to the waters around the islands. In February 2008 Nicaragua sent a formal protest note to Colombia, asserting that a Colombian navy ship intimidated Nicaraguan fishermen in this disputed portion of the Caribbean Sea.

According to an October 22, 2008 article by journalist Robert Escobedo Caicedo, published by Nicaragua Today under the title “Venezuelan Interventions in Nicaragua,” Managua and Caracas are conspiring to provoke war with Colombia and, more ominously, draw Russia into the fray. Escobedo, moreover, contends that Russian special forces units known as the “Vympels” are again training in the sparsely settled jungles of Nicaragua’s Autonomous Region of the Northern Atlantic, as they did in the 1980s. We republished excerpts from Escobedo’s article in a November 2008 post and, for the reader’s reference, do so again below:

Daniel Ortega, during the Vice Prime Minister of Russia’s [Igor Sechin] recent visit to Nicaragua [September 17, 2008], insisted that he urgently needs to renew the obsolete armament of the Sandinista Popular Army [Nicaraguan National Army] and repair its air force, mainly equipped with [Soviet-era] Mi-17 and Mi-24 helicopter gunships. Under the pretext of extension for tourist needs, they [neo-Sandinista government] are reconditioning the airport at Punta Huete, on the other side of Lake Managua, and also improving the runways and equipping with modern control towers the airports at Bluefields and Port Heads, so that they can respond to the military requirements of the countries of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, Russia and Iran.

During the first Sandinista dictatorship (1979-1990) units of the old Red Army finished their training to fight the Afghan guerrillas, in Nicaragua’s Autonomous Region of the Northern Atlantic (RAAN). These elite units were known as “Vympels” and, according to specialized publications, used the Miskito Indians of the region as practice targets. These units are training again in the same region of Caribbean Nicaragua, doing so with the support of Sandinista People’s Army, which has declared that they are being prepared for the inevitable confrontation with Colombia.

Hugo Chavez is using PDVSA to refine, distribute, and commercialize petroleum for the purpose of supporting the FSLN. As a result, he has turned the Sandinista leaders into millionaires and filled their coffers with huge amounts of money. This allows the Sandinistas to bribe deputies of [Nicaragua’s] National Assembly and support an intensive and expensive favorable political propaganda for the aims of Daniel Ortega. They have also bribed the magistrates of the Supreme Electoral Council, where the president of the same, Roberto Rivas, is a personage with no intellectual or moral qualifications.

In the following paragraph, Escobedo contends that the communist leaders of Venezuela and Nicaragua plan to provoke Colombia by orchestrating a confrontation between the Nicaraguan Navy and “ships flying the Colombian flag in the Caribbean Sea.”

The current president of Venezuela, the enemy of the President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, has designed the mechanisms of a military provocation, in collaboration with the Sandinista Popular Army, between Nicaragua and ships flying the Colombian flag in the Caribbean Sea. The regime of Daniel Ortega will then immediately request the military support of the countries subjugated by Hugo Chavez through the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas. This explosive situation coincides with the elections of United States President and those of municipal authorities in Nicaragua.

“Upon formalizing the ‘casus belli,’” concludes Escobedo, “Caracas and Managua will ask for aid from Russia, which under the Putin-Medvedev government is thirsty for adventures and new satellites in the Americas.” Although the Red Axis’ alleged plot did not come to pass 18 months ago, a similar scenario appears to unfolding even now.

Is it merely coincidence that Colombians are marching toward a presidential election on May 30 that pits Uribe’s anointed successor, Juan Manuel Santos, against Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus, who has surged ahead of Santos in public opinion polls?

Is it merely coincidence that, as Uribe’s former defense minister, Santos blessed the military operation that destroyed a FARC camp on Ecuadorean soil in March 2008? Is it merely coincidence that Chavez and his red buddies have hinted about the risk of war with Colombia if Santos is elected?

Is it merely coincidence that Mockus–who is of Lithuanian descent and a former mayor of Bogota–downgraded his April 26 faux pas about “admiring” Chavez to “respecting” the Venezuelan dictator as “democratically elected”? For his part, Chavez insists that he is neither personally acquainted with center-leftist Mockus nor the man’s policies.

Whoever wins the election, will Colombia’s new president fall for this and other Red Axis ruses? Will more provocations follow? Time, of course, will tell, but by then it will be too late for the USA to formulate an effective counter-strategy against Communist Bloc advances.

>Red Dawn Alert: Cuba’s top general arrives in Beijing, follows Moscow visit 2 wks ago; Pentagon: Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Qods Force in Venezuela

>On April 24, General Alvaro Lopez Miera, chief of the general staff of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba (FAR), arrived in Beijing to promote closer cooperation between the militaries of Communist Cuba and Communist China. Lopez will conclude his “goodwill visit” on April 29. Earlier he met Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie (pictured above) and chief of the General Staff of People’s Liberation Army (PLA), General Chen Bingde.

While in Beijing Lopez also met with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is touted as President Hu Jintao’s successor in 2012. “To further develop China-Cuba friendly cooperation not only complies with the fundamental interests of the two countries, but also is of great significance for maintaining world peace and stability and boosting common development,” noted Xi during the meeting. For his part, Lopez expressed his admiration for the People’s Republic of China’s rapid economic and social development in recent years, hoping military ties would further boost cooperation between the two countries.

Apart from Cuba, which received at least three secret arms shipments from Red China in 2001, the PRC does not have an extensive track record of selling arms in Latin America. The main reason for this situation is that during the First Cold War (1945-1991) anti-communist military regimes dominated the region. The political climate in the Western Hemisphere has shifted left since then as Latin America’s revolutionaries dumped their machine guns, donned suit jackets, and burrowed into the political system. Hence, writes Cynthia Watson:

According to a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) National Defense University graduate writing in Military Review, Bolivia, Peru, and Uruguay are all rumored to have purchased aircraft from China such as the 2007 sale of M60s to La Paz as a result of a $35 million line of credit from Beijing [7]. Uruguay has also been interested in J7 aircraft, potentially to wipe out Uruguay’s debt to China. The author also proposes that arms sales ties between China and Brazil, Peru, and Cuba are important aspects of Beijing’s involvement in arming this area of the world.

Venezuela’s acquisition this year of Hongdu JL-8 light attack/trainer jets is a significant step in facilitating Red China’s penetration of the region. While alluding to what is probably a fake “ideological division” between the communist leadership of Mainland China and Cuba, Watson suggests that Beijing will not promote its strategic partnership with Havana at the expense of economic relations with Washington:

Cuba would appear a logical destination for Chinese arms except that the ideological links between these two states have historically proven exceptionally tense rather than easy. Few areas of Latin America draw such a rapid response from Washington, as does Cuba, illustrated by decades of U.S. suspicion over Soviet activities there. Cuba does not have much money to buy arms and Beijing appears reluctant to offer anything to upset Washington with whom China has much more important relations than any that would come from selling arms to Cuba.

We think Watson’s analysis is rather naïve, especially in light of the plan, detailed by Soviet Bloc defectors nearly 30 years ago, for communism’s conquest of the world via strategic deception and the bolstering of communist economies via state-controlled “market socialism” (as in Red China) or FSB/KGB “capitalism” (as in “post”-Soviet Russia).

Watson’s analysis is also rather naïve in view of the hostile espionage conducted by Red China and Cuba against the USA. The trial of accused spies Walter and Gwendolyn Myers, who passed state secrets to Havana for three decades until their arrest in 2009, is a case in point. US federal prosecutors say the Myerses agreed to serve as clandestine agents for Cuba in 1979, after a Cuban contact urged Walter to seek a job with top-secret security clearance at the State Department or the Central Intelligence Agency. Walter chose the former route.

While the PRC is proceeding cautiously into America’s “backyard,” the neo-Soviet state is not hiding its mil-mil ties with Latin America’s Red Axis, especially in Venezuela, which is by far the region’s most reliable purchase of Russian armament, even to the point of hosting Russian military engineers, who are overseeing the construction of two plants to produce Kalashnikov automatic rifles and their clips.

Earlier this month Cuba’s top general showed up in Moscow, reciprocating visits to Havana in the last 18 months by Russia’s political-military elite, including: President Dmitry Medvedev; General Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces; General Alexander Maslov, chief of Russia’s air defense forces; and Vice-Admiral Vladimir I. Koraliov, deputy commander of the Russian Navy’s most powerful fleet, the Northern, based out of Murmansk.

Last September, when he visited a number of military installations in Cuba, Makarov promised to modernize Cuba’s Soviet-built military equipment and offer modern training for the island’s soldiers. “During the Soviet era we delivered a large number of military equipment to Cuba, and after all these years most of this weaponry has become obsolete and needs repairs,” Makarov explained blandly. “We inspected the condition of this equipment, and outlined the measures to be taken to maintain the defense capability of this country…I think a lot of work needs to be done in this respect, and I hope we will be able to accomplish this task.”

Presently, known military relations between Red China and Cuba are largely limited to educational exchange opportunities for officers of the PLA and FAR. Will Red Chinese-Cuban military exercises in the Caribbean Basin emerge from these meetings in the near future? What about Russian-Cuban exercises? The Russian military conducted joint drills with Hugo Chavez’s military in 2008, Moscow has announced its intention to do the same with Nicaragua, while Caracas and Managua are slated to begin joint drills in Nicaragua next month. The last reflects a dream articulated by Chavez and Daniel Ortega to create an “anti-imperialist army” under the auspices of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.

In Eurasia the Shanghai Cooperation Organization offers Moscow and Beijing a venue to hold joint military exercises, unheard of during the Cold War, while the Not-So-Former Soviet republics prepare to confront NATO under the aegis of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Clearly, the Communist Bloc still considers military coordination among member states crucial to defeating the “bourgeois” regimes.

In a related story, General Douglas Fraser, head of the US Southern Command who recently described Venezuela’s “socialist regime” as a threat to regional allies like Colombia, is downplaying a Pentagon report, dispatched to Congress earlier this month, that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps’ elite Qods force had a growing presence in Latin America, particularly Venezuela. The initial report linked the Qods to the bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina in 1994. Ironically, Fraser agrees with Chavez who, while openly consorting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, trashed the Pentagon report.

“We see a growing Iranian interest and engagement with Venezuela. … It’s a diplomatic, it’s a commercial presence. I haven’t seen evidence of a military presence,” Fraser huffed. The US government has accused the Qods force of backing militants in Iraq, Lebanon (Hezbollah), and the Gaza Strip (Hamas). Fraser, however, admitted that Southern Command is concerned about the activities in the Western Hemisphere of Iranian-backed terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas. “Primarily all that we see right now is focused on supporting logistics support, financial support for parent organizations within the Mideast,” he elaborated.

Actually, depending on which branch of dot.gov is in the glare of media spotlights, Washington tends to send mixed signals about the threat posed by the Caracas-Tehran Axis or, for that matter, the Managua-Tehran Axis. In March 2007, two months after Ortega re-assumed the presidency of Nicaragua at a ceremony attended by Ahmadinejad, uniformed Iranian soldiers were reportedly spotted at Monkey Point, a port on the country’s sparsely populated Caribbean coast. The Iranians’ presence irked the locale’s Creole residents.

Since then, Iran, Venezuela, and Russia have made various promises to throw money at Nicaragua’s meagre infrastructure, including expanding the ports at Monkey Point and Corinto, on the Pacific Coast, building a “dry canal” corridor of pipelines, rails, and highways across the country, as well as digging a ship canal that would rival Panama’s.

>USSR2 File: Lukashenko: Belarusian KGB arranged Bakiev’s exile; fists, eggs, smoke bombs fly in Ukrainian Rada as Russian base deal passes

>In the “post”-Soviet space this week more communist-scripted drama unfolded, the interconnectedness of which will probably not register on the radar screens of Western political “experts.”

According to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, deposed Kyrgyz counterpart Kurmanbek Bakiev has found refuge in Minsk. There Bakiev enjoys Lukashenko’s “personal protection.” On April 19, the Belarusian president candidly related that the Belarusian KGB arranged Bakiev’s flight from Kazakhstan, where the ousted leader fled from his homeland on April 15 and tendered a written resignation, to Belarus. Comrade Alex expounded:

If the Kyrgyz president and his family need help in this challenging period Belarus is ready to provide assistance. We are ready to see him here. I expect the reaction of the mass media. However, I would like to ask three rhetorical questions. First, what serious problems can we have in this case? Second, is not Belarus able to handle this situation? We are not going to collapse because of deteriorating relations with Kyrgyzstan. Third, if Kurmanbek Salievich is in Belarus, this will be positive news for the interim government.

As it turns out, Kyrgyzstan’s pro-Moscow interim government is not at all disturbed by Bakiev’s presence in Minsk nor Lukashenko’s offer to send humanitarian aid to Bishkek. Kyrgyz government spokesentity Edil Baisalov enthused: “We view Belarus as a very friendly state. We urge the people of Belarus and the leadership to ensure the personal security of Kurmanbek Bakiev until he is brought to trial.” Kyrgyzstan’s interim government intends to try Bakiev for “mass murder” and does not expect its extradition request to negatively impact Kyrgyzstan-Belarus relations. Bakiev insists he has no plans to return to Kyrgyzstan as president.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s slavishly pro-Moscow president, Viktor Yanukovich, is defending his decision to grant a 25-year lease extension to the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet, based at Sevastopol, on the Crimean Peninsula. The current lease will expire in 2017. In a quid pro quo, Russia will reduce the price Ukraine pays for Gazprom’s main energy product by 30 percent. The deal was announced on April 21, after talks between Yanukovich and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

Ukrainian nationalists regard Russia’s Black Sea Fleet as a hostile presence on their territory. On Tuesday, chaos erupted in the Ukrainian parliament when the base deal passed by a slim margin, under the leadership of Yanukovich’s Party of Regions and its allies in the Communist Party of Ukraine. Incensed opposition politicians swung fists and hurled eggs and stink bombs at the speakers’ podium. In Russia’s Duma the base deal passed unanimously, supported even by the “opposition” Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

In summary, everyone involved in these productions are “ex”-cadres of the supposedly defunct Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and every production yields a win-win situation for Russia. Analysts in the employ of NATO governments, however, have already demonstrated their strategic stupidity by completely ignoring the Kremlin’s obvious stake in the April 10 demise of Warsaw’s anti-communist president and generals in a Polish Air Force jet over Russian territory. For what it’s worth, Romanian Global News contends that the Russians used “electromagnetic weapons,” housed at a military base near Smolensk, to knock Kaczysnki’s plane from the sky.

>End Times File: Early-tribulation Magog invasion of Israel approaching as Syria, Turkey conduct second joint military exercise in a year

>It has been several months since we posted an End Times File. However, the Israeli media reports that Syria, one of Israel’s mortal enemies along with Iran (Persia in Ezekiel’s prophecy), and Turkey (Togarmah), an errant NATO country that has hooked up with “post”-communist Russia (Magog) since the Cold War, are holding their second joint military exercise in a year.

“Syria is tightening its military alliance with Turkey as it reinforces its recent threat to send Israel back to ‘the Stone Age’ if it attacks Hizbullah,” says Arutz Sheva, “Syrian President Bashar Assad told a Kuwaiti newspaper on Saturday it has ‘surprises’ in store for Israel.” The new Syrian-Turkish alliance hopes to woo Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan, which is technically at peace with Israel, into its fold. Syria also has a defense pact with Iran, hosts a Russian naval base and, according to some sources, plans to buy Iskander mid-range missiles from Moscow. The Russian Navy’s facility at Tartus is slated for completion in 2011.

The full news article from Arutz Sheva follows, revealing among other things that “Syria has been arming Hizbullah with long-range Scud missiles”:

Turkish military officials said that its soldiers began joint military exercises with Syria on Monday, the second time in a year. The army maneuvers are another sign of closer ties between Damascus and Ankara, which was considered to be a friend of Israel until last year, when it fell in line with most of the Arab world’s anti-Israel campaign.

Turkey also has established closer ties with Iran, and an Iranian-Turkish-Syrian-Lebanese axis would pose a monolithic threat to Israel from the north.

Syrian sources told the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai that if Israel were to attack the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist army, Syria would impose a naval blockade on Israel, using ground-to-sea missiles.

The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad also has the capability to fire 60 ballistic missiles and 600 tactical missiles in one day, the sources told the newspaper. They added that if Hizbullah is attacked, Syria would fight alongside the Lebanese army, which has shown signs of being part and parcel of Hizbullah’s forces.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday tried to defuse the hostile atmosphere, stating that Israel has no intentions of staging an attack.

Diplomatic tensions flared up two weeks ago after it was revealed that Syria has been arming Hizbullah with long-range Scud missiles. The report was first carried by Al-Rai and may have been leaked by the United States in order to create pressure for United Nations Interim Forces (UNIFIL) to beef up their patrols in Lebanon.

Syria categorically denied the charges, and the United States officially said it is investigating the report.

The Hebrew prophet Ezekiel, in chapters 38 and 39 of the Old Testament book, describes an early-tribulation invasion of Israel, after the Jews return to their homeland at the end of the church age. The invasion force is led by Russia, along with its allies Iran and the Arab states, but will be supernaturally destroyed by God. The destruction of Damascus, an unfulfilled prophecy from Isaiah chapter 17 possibly brought about by an Israeli attack or counter-attack, will likely provoke this confrontation with Israel’s enemies.

The alliance described by Ezekiel was not possible before the end of the Cold War, because the Islamic revolution that allied Iran with the Soviet Union/Russia had yet to take place, and the current pro-Islamic, anti-Israel regime in Turkey had yet to take power.

>Latin America File: Chavez admits Cubans training Venezuelan army, denies “Cubanization” charge; Mexico cartels shoot up security chief’s convoy

>- Maritime Spat between Managua and Bogota Escalates as Nicaraguan Navy Seizes Colombian Fishermen; Ortega Provided Haven for FARC Guerrillas in 2008

- Drug Cartels’ Military-Calibre Ambush against Michoacan’s Public Safety Secretary Sends Signal to Michoacan-Born Calderon: No Government Official in Mexico Is Safe

During his weekly televised rant, Alo Presidente, Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez admitted that Cubans are training his armed forces. “They’re telling us how to store compasses, how to repair radios inside tanks and how to stockpile ammunition,” he explained flippantly, but dismissed charges, broached most lately by retired Brigadier General Antonio Rivero, that his government is a puppet regime under the control of Havana. “What Cubanization?” Chavez protested, “The Cubans are helping us here.” Referring to Rivero, he had nothing but contempt: “He was already among bad company.”

Venezuela’s beleaguered opposition has long accused Chavez of inviting Cuban advisors to hold key positions in the military and other state institutions. Rivero’s high rank and detailed descriptions of Cuban involvement have added new credibility to fears of Venezuela’s Cubanization. Last Thursday Rivero announced on Caracas’ opposition-run Globovision that he had resigned from the army after 25 years of service, mainly because of “the presence and meddling of Cuban soldiers” in the armed forces. The former Chavez ally alleged that he witnessed Cubans training Venezuelan troops during his last assignment as an infantry commander.

In a move obviously designed to secure the military’s loyalty, on the same TV program Chavez announced a hefty pay raise for soldiers of every rank. “Boys, we’re going to increase salaries by 40 percent for all the ranks,” he enthused. Not so coincidentally, the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) faces congressional elections in September, even as the country grapples with 26 percent inflation, drought, food and water distribution problems, and rolling electrical blackouts. In 2005 Chavez declared his commitment to uniting Venezuela and Cuba in a communist federation, called “Venecuba” by Cuban President Raul Castro.

Pictured above: Chavez and Castro in Caracas, on April 19, 2010.

Meanwhile, the Chavezista regime continues to purge dissidents from the judiciary with the arrest and incarceration of Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni, who was charged with corruption and abuse of authority after she conditionally freed Eligio Cedeño. The latter, a banker, was accused by Miraflores Palace of evading currency controls. “I never thought–never–that the violations would get to this point,” remarked Afiuni, who is being held in a cellblock filled with women charged with drug trafficking and murder, some of whom she sentenced.

Another judge who irritated Chavez was Juan Carlos Apitz. In 2003 Apitz was on a five-member court that ruled that doctors from Cuba, Venezuela’s closest strategic partner as reported above, could not work in Venezuela unless they revalidated their qualifications. At the time Cuba was deploying thousands of doctors to Venezuela in exchange for cheap oil. Chavez branded the ruling “unconstitutional” and dispatched 46 DISIP agents to raid Apitz’s offices. Apitz and two other judges who sided with him were banished from the judiciary, while the two judges whose minority opinion supported the government’s policy were promoted to the Supreme Court. Since December 2009 DISIP has been known as the Bolivarian Intelligence Service, with a hat tip toward Chavez’s communist “Bolivarian Revolution.”

Over the weekend Chavez also threatened to nationalize the country’s gold mining concessions, putatively to end the “capitalist mafias” that exploit Venezuela’s workers. “If we are going to exploit gold, we would have to nationalize all that, recover and end the concessions,” Chavez demanded. The Chavezista regime has nationalized parts of the banking, oil, cement, metals, and utilities industries as the PSUV extends the role of the state in the economy to create what Chavez calls “21st century socialism” (which looks suspiciously like 20th century socialism). “There is no adverse impact on [global] production as Venezuela is only a minor producer of the metal and whatever shortfall that takes place will be made up by an increase in output from other producing countries,” explained Reena Walia Nair, defusing investor concerns. Nair is senior research analyst at Angel Commodities Broking Pvt. in Mumbai, India.

After a week of violent unrest, which targeted the homes and meeting places of Nicaragua’s opposition politicians, lawmakers have meekly returned to the National Assembly to approve a bill that will permit the government of President Daniel Ortega to borrow US$48 million from foreign lenders. Edwin Castro, leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front’s legislative faction, triumphed: “This is a victory for the people.” For their part, opposition leaders insisted that they voted for the law out of conviction, not fear of government reprisals.

The crisis, following three years of increasingly repressive activity by the ruling FSLN, prompted Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary-general of the Organization of American States, to express “deep concerns” over the state of democracy in Nicaragua. With typical communist contempt, long-time Soviet ally Ortega retorted by telling Insulza “not to meddle.”

Since 1979 the FSLN has controlled Nicaragua’s army, police, and judiciary. This was so even during the 16 years between 1990 and 2006 when Ortega was absent from the presidency. Since a hotly contested 2008 election, the Sandinistas have also controlled most municipal governments. In February 2010 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Managua, pledging that the two countries will on an unspecified date carry out joint military exercises, a prospect that would have greatly incensed the Reagan White House during the 1980s. But that was a different era. Now, 20 years later, alleged Soviet mole Barack Hussein Obama is Commander in Chief and has committed the USA to complete nuclear disarmament in the face of Russia’s remilitarization.

In a related story, the Colombian media reports that last Friday the Nicaraguan Navy intercepted three fishing boats, together crewed by 28 Colombians. The Nicaraguans towed the boats to the Caribbean port of Bluefields, where Colombian embassy staff acknowledged that their countrymen were in good health. The Colombians will be deported to their homeland.

On Saturday Captain Roger Gonzalez Diaz, commander of Nicaragua’s Soviet-built fleet, asserted that the Colombian fishing boats were found in Nicaraguan “territorial waters,” about 135 miles off its Caribbean coast near the border with Honduras. For his part, Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva insisted that the International Court of Justice has not assigned the disputed waters to Nicaragua, Honduras, or Colombia. International law expert Cesar Torres del Rio described the apprehensions as “totally arbitrary.” He pointed out that Colombia has the right to file a protest note to the Nicaragua government, protesting the violation of its sovereignty and the detention of its citizens.

The maritime dispute between Nicaragua and Colombia predates Ortega’s resumption of the presidency in January 2007. However, along with Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez, he is a veteran leader of the Western Hemisphere’s Red Axis, which means he can easily exploit this issue to portray US ally Colombia as a menace to Latin American “solidarity.” In 2008 relations between Managua and Bogota became chilly after Ortega granted asylum to three guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and a young female FARC “groupie” from Mexico, the only survivors of the Colombian military’s raid on a guerrilla camp in Ecuador on March 1 of that year. At the time Comrade Ortega referred to Colombia’s Marxist rebels as “brothers.”

Finally, on Saturday another orgy of drug-related violence exploded in two Mexican states, Michoacan, home of the La Familia cartel and birthplace of President Felipe Calderon, and Ciudad Juarez, home of the Juarez cartel. In Michoacan 20 narco-insurgents, armed with assault rifles and a grenade launcher, ambushed the convoy of the state’s public safety secretary, Minerva Bautista, killing four people and wounding 10. One of the gunmen utilized a sniper rifle to fire armor-piercing bullets at Bautista’s vehicle. “In the ambush, they used concentrated fire from these types of weapons, forcing her [Ms Bautista] and her escort to crash into a trailer truck that they had pulled across the road,” Michoacan’s Attorney General Jesus Montejano told the national Milenio TV station. Bautista was among the injured, but is now recovering.

This well-coordinated, military-calibre attack on Michoacan’s security chief is, in our assessment, a clear signal from the drug cartels to President Calderon, who hails from Michoacan, that no government official is safe in Mexico. It comes a day after seven people, including six police officers, died in a shoot-out with suspected gang hitmen in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. Since 2006 Calderon has poured tens of thousands of armed police and troops into Mexico’s northern states to exterminate the powerful cartels, which are armed in part by the Russian Mafia (KGB).

In a possibly related story, this past Friday a Mexican diplomat in El Salvador and his wife were killed in a drive-by shooting carried out by motorbike-borne assassins. The diplomat, First Secretary Guillermo Medina Alfaro, has worked with Interpol, which is leading the investigation into his murder. Salvadoran police say the motive behind the attack is unknown but Alfaro’s association with Interpol would certainly place him on the hit lists of international criminal syndicates.

>Red Dawn Alert: Venezuelan general resigns: Military under Cuba’s control; Sandinistas storm Supreme Court, blockade National Assembly, opposition HQ

>Increasingly, we’re [Cuba and Venezuela] the same thing.
- Cuban President Raul Castro, statement made in Caracas on April 21, 2010

Ah yes, communism is still dead, we are told by the sages of academia and the talking heads of the MSM . . . even as 65,000 Cuban agents assume day-to-day control over just about every important component of the Venezuelan government, including its armed forces. As we blogged several days ago, recent developments in Latin America are highlighting the reality of the Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis and the military threat it poses to the USA’s allies in the region, such as Honduras and Colombia. This communist troika is a military threat to the USA, too, in as much as the neo-Soviet state has broadcast its intentions to either redeploy, in the case of Cuba and Nicaragua, or deploy, in the case of Venezuela, its assets in these countries.

On Thursday Venezuelan Brigadier General Antonio Rivero announced at a televised press conference that two weeks prior he had retired from his post in protest against the “presence and the meddling of the Cuban military” in the armed forces. Rivero alleges that Cuban military officers have been appointed to critical areas of the Venezuelan army, such as military intelligence, military engineering, weaponry, and communications. There have also been situations where Venezuelan military officers have taken order from their Cuban counterparts. Rivero related that in his infantry division Cuban soldiers and personnel were providing their Venezuelan counterparts with sniper training and teaching military doctrine at the command level. Cubans, moreover, are now placed “at a high level in vital areas of national security.”

The retired general criticized the recently sworn-in units of the Bolivarian Militia, created as a new arm of the national armed forces, asserting that the creation of such a military branch is unconstitutional. Rivero also denounced the “politicization” of the military, including the slogan soldiers are required to repeat when saluting: “Socialist homeland or death!” There was no immediate reaction to these comments from Chavez’s government.

Earlier this month, opposition politician Julio Borges demanded that President Chavez provide information about Cubans working for the government. “Never before in our history,” Borges complained, “have we allowed citizens of another country to assume key posts associated with national security.” Borges asserted that Cuban advisers are now working at “high levels” in ports administration, telecommunications, immigration, policing, power generation, and oil production.

Chavez’s Venezuela has become Cuba’s chief post-Cold War benefactor, sending the island about 100,000 barrels of oil per day on preferential terms, in exchange for the services of thousands of Cuban doctors, whose work in free clinics has boosted Chavez’s political support. During a speech to Cubans in one medical mission last week, Chavez gushed: “Cubans, I tell you speaking from the heart, I feel like I’m from Cuba now. I feel like I’m one more Cuban.” During a meeting in Caracas this week, neither Chavez nor Cuban President Raul Castro publicly acknowledged the presence of Cuban personnel in the Venezuelan government. Before returning to Havana on Wednesday, however, Castro declared of the two countries: “Increasingly, we’re the same thing.”

Incidentally, Castro and his vice president, “Commander of the Revolution” Ramiro Valdez, also attended this past Monday’s military parade in Caracas, which commemorated the 200th anniversary of Venezuela’s independence from Spain. Troops from various Communist Bloc countries, including Belarus, Libya, and Algeria, participated in the march-past. Afterward, the Cuban dictator showed up at a summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, which promotes integration among eight of Latin America’s communist and social democratic regimes.

Meanwhile, reports Al Jazeera, the political deadlock and street violence between pro- and anti-government forces in Nicaragua have finally attracted the attention of international organizations. Three years of increasingly repressive behaviour by President Daniel Ortega, who is re-consolidating his Cold War-era dictatorship, prompted Jose Miguel Insulza, a Chilean socialist who moonlights as secretary-general of the Organization of American States, to express “deep concern.” Insulza urged Ortega and his opponents, consisting of center-rightists and dissident Sandinistas, to “resolve political differences, particularly those between state representatives, through dialogue.”

Not surprisingly, Cuba’s state media is ludicrously alleging that Nicaragua’s opposition forces are backed by Washington and will shortly stage a Honduran-style coup against the neo-Sandinista regime. This is nothing more than communist propaganda. Indeed, Havana is purposely overlooking the fact, admitted even by Comandante Ortega, that the Nicaraguan military and police are solidly controlled by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). This has been the case since the 1979 revolution. A coup in Managua is very unlikely.

Ortega also enjoys the financial and moral support of Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez who, not so coincidentally, flew into Managua on Wednesday, April 14, for a six-hour strategy session. The following morning Comrade Hugo continued on to Havana. We have no specific intelligence proving that the two communist leaders discussed the “threat” posed by Ortega’s domestic opposition. However, on Friday, April 16, unrest exploded again in the streets of Managua, as FSLN cadres stormed the Supreme Court building to prevent the ouster of two Sandinista judges, whose terms expired five days before.

Ortega is desperate to legitimize his re-election bid in 2011, a move banned by the country’s constitution but dubiously sanctioned in November by the same judges. In January, the Nicaraguan president, citing a stalemate in the National Assembly, issued a decree extending the terms of 25 top civil servants, including judges Armengol Cuadra and Rafael Solís, who can be expected to support his schemes. On Tuesday Ortega, perhaps emboldened by last week’s pep talk with Chavez, dispatched his mortar-toting thugs (pictured above) to blockade the National Assembly building and Managua’s Holiday Inn Select, where the main opposition groups, led by the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, were holed up. Time’s Tim Rogers describes the government-sponsored attack on the opposition’s makeshift HQ:

On Tuesday, a mob of several hundred Sandinista thugs, armed with hand-held mortars, fired homemade fragmentation bombs at Managua’s Holiday Inn Select hotel. Inside the building, opposition lawmakers—whose various parties form the majority in the legislature but are rarely in agreement—were discussing how to counter Ortega’s attempt to re-elect his cronies, and eventually himself.

The congressional session, which Ortega’s ruling party claims was illegal, was held inside the Holiday Inn so lawmakers could avoid the Sandinista mobs gathered outside the National Assembly. But when the Sandinistas discovered that the opposition had pulled a fast one by convening elsewhere, they marched to the Holiday Inn and unleashed their fury on the hotel. The group fired explosives off the front of the building, shattering windows, destroying part of the roof and terrifying guests. Riot police prevented the mob from storming the lobby, but made no arrests or attempts to stop the attack.

“Regardless of how it ends,” concludes Rogers, “the latest crisis has shown that Nicaragua’s rickety democracy, 20 years in the making, could come down like a Jenga tower.”

We suspect Moscow, Havana, and Caracas are waiting for Ortega to firmly re-establish his dictatorship before (re)deploying their operatives and military assets in Nicaragua and moving ahead with certain elements of their (revitalized) strategic partnerships with Managua. Published reports indicate that four of these elements include the rehabilitation of the never-used, Soviet-built military runway at Punta Huete, north of Lake Managua, the expansion of the port at Monkey Point on the Caribbean coast, the building of a canal and overland transportation corridor across Nicaragua, and the implementation of joint exercises between the Russian and Nicaraguan armed forces. This pattern of communist conquest is evident in Venezuela where Chavez has effectively cornered his opposition, prompting Russia, Red China, and Cuba to transform their South American ally into a reliable Soviet Bloc satellite.

>Red Terror File: Man who took video footage of burning wreckage of Polish president’s plane stabbed; killers pursue to hospital, stab until dead

>The Polish media reports that a man who took video footage of the burning wreckage of President Lech Kaczynski’s Polish Air Force plane near Smolensk has been brutally murdered.

The videographer uploaded his material, which allegedly contained sounds of gunshots at the crash site, to the Internet. Five days later, on April 15, “Andrij” was stabbed near Kiev, Ukraine, or Kijow, in the Polish language. In critical condition, he was taken to a Kiev hospital where his murderers pursued him, ripped out his life support system, and stabbed “Andrij” until dead. A translation of the Polish story follows:

“Author of the video seen by everyone by now has been stabbed near Kijow on 4.15 and transported in critical condition to the hospital in Kijow. On 4.16 three unidentified individuals unplugged him from life support system and stabbed him 3 more times. Andrij was pronounced dead that afternoon. Russian government claims it was a coincidence.

Looks like Vladimir Putin didn’t want any evidence of Kremlin complicity in the “decapitation” of Poland’s anti-communist government.

>Latin America File: Communist Bloc troops march through Venezuelan capital; Fidel Castro praises Chavez; Beijing-Caracas ventures top US$20 billion

>- Belarusian, Libyan, and Algerian Soldiers Participate in Caracas March-Past, Chavez Praise-Fest

- Rebuilding Communism in Nicaragua:

1) Sandinista Judges Refuse to Leave Supreme Court, FSLN Thugs Armed with Mortars Storm Court Building Last Friday, Threaten Liberal Judges

2) Judges Solis and Cuadra Lead Sandinista Cadres against Oppositionists Meeting at Managua Hotel on Tuesday (source)

Long live Venezuela, the socialist homeland!
– Venezuelan troops in Caracas march-past, April 19, 2010

Yup, communism’s dead, we are told. That’s why Venezuela has become the Communist Bloc’s most important satellite state in the Western Hemisphere, even nudging ahead of the entrenched communist regime in Havana. As of late 2009, for example, Venezuela’s Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez had purchased US$4.4 billion in combat planes, helicopters, diesel submarines, tanks, tactical missiles, and automatic rifles from Russia. Following Vladimir Putin’s trip to Caracas last month, the Russian prime minister intimated that the Chavezista regime may buy another US$5.5 billion in weapons systems from Moscow. Energy consortiums involving state-run entities from both countries, like PDVSA and Gazprom, also intend to exploit Venezuela’s natural gas and oil reserves.

In a sign that Chavez is also cozying up to the other half of the Moscow-Beijing Axis, the Venezuelan Air Force recently took delivery of a consignment of light attack/trainer aircraft built in the People’s Republic of China. On April 20 Red China and Venezuela announced that the two states had signed a deal that would jointly finance about US$20 billion of economic projects in the South American country, including the development of a block in the Orinoco crude belt. The Junin 4 block is expected to need a US$16 billion investment over three years. It will eventually produce more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Chavez was slated to host Chinese President Hu Jintao this past weekend, but the communist leader of the world’s most populous country scuttled his Latin American visit due to a devastating earthquake at home.

On Monday 6,600 Communist Bloc troops marched through the streets of Caracas in celebration of the 200th anniversary of a significant episode in the road to Venezuela’s independence from Spain. Venezuelan troops shouted “Long live Venezuela, the socialist homeland!” as they passed the presidential box. Behind them followed visiting brigades from “former” Soviet republic of Belarus and the socialist states of Algeria, Libya, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Uruguay, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Cuba, Dominica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. In addition to soldiers, 5,400 pro-Chavez political cadres, adorned with red T-shirts and red baseball caps, marched in the celebration.

Although initially reported in the Kremlin media some weeks ago, Russian troops were not apparently involved in the march-past. Overhead, the recently acquired Chinese K-8 planes and Russian Sukhoi-30MK fighter aircraft screamed over the city. Pictured above: Venezuelan army tanks.

Flanking Chavez were Cuba’s Marxist dictator Raul Castro, Nicaragua’s Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega, Bolivia’s Marxist president Evo Morales, Ecuador’s Marxist president Rafael Correa, Argentina’s center-left president Cristina Kirchner, and the Dominican Republic’s center-left president Leonel Fernandez. Cuba’s vice president, Ramiro Valdez, whom Chavez has tapped to fix Venezuela’s energy crisis, was also present.

Earlier that day, Chavez laid a wreath on the tomb of his personal idol, South American independence fighter Simon Bolivar. “More than ever,” he ranted, “Venezuela will not be a ‘yankee’ colony, nor a colony of anyone. The time for our true independence has come, 200 years on.” In more than a decade of contested rule, Chavez has “parachuted” thousands of Cuban agents into key government positions, including the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (formerly DISIP); nationalized (communized or collectivized) farms, public utilities, banks, telecommunications companies, and media outlets; established neighborhood and workplace councils to promote socialism; purged patriots from the military; and arrested civilian dissidents.

In his April 18 Reflections column, retired dictator Fidel Castro heaped praised upon his “revolutionary” disciple Chavez:

He had not yet been born when the attack on the Moncada Barracks took place on July 26th of 1953. He wasn’t even five years old when the Revolution triumphed on the first of January of 1959. I met him in 1994 [two years after Chavez’s coup attempts], 35 years later, when he had turned 40 years old. Since then I have been able to observe his revolutionary development for almost 16 years.

Endowed with exceptional talent, an insatiable reader, I can offer testimony of his capacity for developing and intensifying revolutionary ideas. As in every human being, fate and circumstances play a decisive part in the advancement of his ideas. His capacity to remember any concept and repeat it with incredible precision much later is remarkable.

He is a true master in the development and dissemination of revolutionary ideas. He has command of these ideas and of the art of transmitting them with astounding eloquence. He is absolutely honest and sensitive in regards to persons, and incredibly generous in his nature. He requires no praise and, in turn, is accustomed to be generous in giving it.

Whenever I do not agree with any of his points of view or any of his decisions, I merely tell him about it sincerely, at the proper time and with the due respect of our friendship. By doing so, I especially bear in mind that today he is the person about whom the empire [USA] is most worried, due to his capacity to influence the masses and due to the immense natural resources of a country that they have pillaged mercilessly, and the person they rigorously strike and attempt to take away his authority.

Both the empire [USA] and the mercenaries at its beck and call, intoxicated by the lies and the consumerism, once more run the risk of under-estimating him and his heroic people, but I haven’t the slightest doubt that again they will be taught an unforgettable lesson. More than half a century of struggle indicates that to me with total clarity.

Chávez carries the [communist] dialectic within himself. Never, at any time, has any government done so much for its people in such a short time. I am especially delighted to send his people warm congratulations upon the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the struggle for the independence of Venezuela and Latin America. As fate would have it, on April 19th we are also celebrating the victory of the Revolution over imperialism at the Bay of Pigs, exactly 49 years ago. We would like to share that victory with the Homeland of Bolívar.

With a nod toward the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas’ bloc of socialist states, Comrade Fidel signed off: “I am also pleased to send a greeting to all our brothers and sisters in ALBA.”

Meanwhile, Venezuelan opposition groups, organized under the political coalition Table of Democratic Unity, warned that Chavez’s 11-year rule had “promoted separation and confrontation.” Chavez “has systematically reduced our democratic abilities, and compromised our future and our progress,” the coalition complained in a statement released on Sunday. Former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez did not mince words concerning his opposition to Chavez: “I question whether it is a time to rejoice over independence when a militarized and authoritarian regime is in power.”

After attending the Independence Day bash, ALBA leaders from Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Dominica, Nicaragua, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines gathered for the organization’s ninth summit, also hosted by Chavez. Honduras, which joined ALBA under the auspices of ousted president Manuel Zelaya, pulled out last year during the interim presidency of Roberto Micheletti.

At the latest ALBA conclave Comrade Hugo warned that US ally Colombia would become a serious threat to its neighbors if Juan Manuel Santos, President Alvaro Uribe’s anointed successor, wins the upcoming presidential election. “This is a threat to all of us, especially for Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua,” rumbled Chavez. He cited Santos’ record as defence minister under Uribe, including Bogota’s controversial military strike against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia at an Ecuadorean jungle camp in March 2008.

Yup, communism’s dead in Central America too. That’s why Nicaragua’s President Ortega, with financial backing from Chavez, is attempting to reconsolidate his Soviet-era dictatorship in spite of the constitutional obstacles in his way. This week two Sandinista judges who overturned a legal ban against presidential term limits, Armengol Cuadra and Rafael Solís, refused to step down after their Supreme Court terms expired this week. Cuadra and Solis cited Ortega’s controversial decree extending their tenure and a law that expired 20 years ago to justify their defiance.

On April 16 Sandinista cadres, armed with mortars and shouting revolutionary slogans from the 1980s, stormed the court building in response to an ultimatum from Supreme Court President Manuel Martínez, who ordered Cuadra and Solis to clear out by this week. The Ortegistas thrust aside security guards and cheered as the two other judges assumed their former spots on the bench. “We are going to continue functioning normally,” Solis told reporters.

Intimidated by Ortega’s thugs, Liberal judges avoided the court. “We are on the path to dictatorship,” lamented former ambassador and legal analyst Carlos Tunnermann, who served as minister of education under the first Sandinista government. Like many other FSLN members, however, Tunnermann rejected Ortega’s leadership of the party in the 1990s. “Each day we move farther from the revolution and closer to dictatorship,” he added.

>Latin America File: Ortega, Borge welcome Chavez to Nicaragua; Chavez heads for Havana; proposed Venezuelan-Ecuadorean military pact in March

>With Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s whirlwind tour of Nicaragua and Cuba, the Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis is once again brought into focus.

On April 14 Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega welcomed Chavez to Augusto Sandino International Airport (pictured here). Ortega was accompanied by wife Rosario Murillo, who is also the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front’s PR manager and head of the Sandinista-dominated Councils of Citizens’ Power, which replicate the functions of the 1980s Cuban-style Sandinista Defense Committees; General Julio Cesar Aviles, the country’s new army chief; Aminta Granera, chief of the Nicaraguan National Police; and, interestingly, Tomas Borge, a diehard Maoist who is the only living founder of the FSLN.

During the 1980s Borge headed up the first Sandinista regime’s interior ministry, at which time he was accused of working with both the Soviet KGB and the Colombian drug cartels in funnelling narcotics into the USA. Comrade Borge is presently Nicaragua’s ambassador to Peru, from where his wife hails.

Upon receiving Chavez, Ortega recalled that the visit coincides with the eighth anniversary of the 2002 coup that briefly removed the Venezuelan president from office. For his part, Comrade Hugo emotionally described Nicaragua’s people as “heroic and revolutionary, where after several years the road of [Simon] Bolivar and Sandino was retaken.” He extolled the virtues of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, to which both countries belong and which “will allow us to be free once and forever of all the chains of empire and dependency,” meaning the hated USA.

During a late-night, six-hour strategy session Ortega and Chavez discussed bilateral cooperation in trade and very possibly the joint military exercises slated to take place in Nicaragua in May and June. Since 2007 both communist leaders have vocalized their belief in the formation of a multi-lateral “anti-imperialist army” that would challenge US “hegemony” in the region.

In a related story, on March 26 Chavez flew to Quito where he conducted talks on joint economic initiatives with Ecuador’s socialist president, Rafael Correa. He also broached the subject of joint military cooperation between Venezuela and Ecuador, two countries that mobilized their armed forces along Colombia’s border during the week-long stand-off with Bogota in March 2008.

Last fall Venezuelan Air Force pilots began flying the first batch of six French-built Mirage 50M fighter jets to Ecuador, where the planes were re-commissioned by the Ecuadorean Air Force. Incidentally, between Venezuela and Ecuador lies Colombia. No doubt perturbed by the Venezuelan-Ecuadorean alliance, Colombian authorities forbade Caracas from using their airspace to affect the transaction in what is otherwise the most straightforward route. Venezuela’s military pilots were forced to fly the planes to their new home via the southern Caribbean and Panama, followed by a sharp left-turn down South America’s Pacific coast.

Chavez’s arrival in Managua comes as Nicaragua’s foreign minister, Samuel Santos Lopez, wraps up his tour of Georgia’s breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, with agreements to extend formal diplomatic recognition to Sukhumi and Tskhinvali. Along with Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru recognize the independence of Georgia’s separatist regimes. In a shameless quid pro quo, Ortega can no doubt expect to see an enhanced Russian presence in the development of his country’s infrastructure, left off when he suffered electoral defeat in early 1990 and when the Soviet Union imploded in December 1991.

Chavez’s arrival also comes as Nicaragua’s chief opposition party, the Constitutionalist Liberals, challenges a presidential decree that extends the terms of two pro-Sandinista Supreme Court justices. Last October these judges overruled constitutional term limits that prevent Ortega from running for a second consecutive term.

Following his comradely tete-a-tete with Ortega, Chavez flew on to Havana, to confer with Cuban President Raul Castro and his cadaverous brother, Fidel. There the communist leaders of Venezuela and Cuba discussed issues related to regional integration under the auspices of ALBA.

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>Latin America File: Gulf, Sinaloa, La Familia cartels unite to “exterminate” Los Zetas, demand Mexican Army withdraw from northern states

>Drug War Updates:

- Daylight Gunbattle on Acapulco’s Main Boulevard Leaves 6 Dead, Including Federal Police Officer, Mother and Child (source)

- Hitmen Gun Down 9 in Tegucigalpa as Mexican Cartels Fight over Central American Drug Corridors (source)

- Salvadoran President Funes: Los Zetas Have Moved into El Salvador, Already Operating in Guatemala and Honduras (source)

According to Mexican police and the US Drug Enforcement Administration, three of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels have united to wipe out the paramilitary Los Zetas. Originally comprised of renegade commandos from the Mexican and Guatemalan militaries, Los Zetas was the Gulf cartel’s hi-tech hit squad until “going independent” in February 2010. Founded in 1999, this narco-mercenary army makes Nuevo Laredo, the site of a recent bombing at the US consulate, its headquarters.

However, the Gulf and La Familia cartels, once bitter rivals, have formed an alliance to “exterminate” Los Zetas in the border state of Tamaulipas. The Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficking organization, is also believed to have joined the alliance against Los Zetas, whose rise to power threatens the other cartels. “It’s an issue of a common enemy,” Will Glaspy, head of the DEA’s office in the Texas border town of McAllen, explained, adding: “The Zetas have been trying to wage war on everybody for a while. It’s been well-documented that the Gulf cartel has formed alliances with the Sinaloa cartel and [La Familia] to wage war against the Zetas.”

Pictured above: Gregorio Sauceda, aka “El Goyo,” an alleged member of the drug cartel “Los Zetas,” is heavily escorted by troops in Mexico City, on April 29, 2009.

US and Mexican intelligence agencies also believe that Los Zetas’ reach now extends to Guatemala, where they have corrupted police and set up training camps, threatening the stability of President Alvaro Colom’s center-left government. With only an estimated 200 paramilitaries, Los Zetas are nevertheless armed for all-out war against the Mexican government. The group possesses automatic rifles, submachine guns, grenade launchers, anti-tank weapons, surface-to-air missiles, and helicopters. Their technical prowess extends to intercepting government communications.

The Russian Mafia, a front for the KGB, is a primary supplier of firepower for Mexico’s drug lords. Michael Webster writes: “Other terrorist and criminal groups are in Mexico including the Russian mafia groups such as the Poldolskaya, Mazukinskaya, Tambovskaya, and Izamailovskaya have been detected in Mexico. The Moscow-based Solntsevskaya gang is also reported to be present in the country, as are other mafia gangs from Chechnya, Georgia, Armenia, Lithuania, Poland Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Albania, and Rumania.”

Proof of the cartels’ alliance emerged earlier this year when banners appeared across Tamaulipas, declaring “The cartels of Mexico united against the Zetas.” One banner even urged Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon, to withdraw the regular army from the northern states so the new alliance can destroy Los Zetas. Incidentally, thinking strategically, this demand could be a thinly veiled ploy to give the cartels free reign across Mexico, without fear of further government retribution. At the same time, videos and emails have been distributed warning people to stay at home since the conflict—which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians, police, and soldiers since 2006—could worsen.

Police sources state that the Gulf-Sinaloa-La Familia alliance is generating still more violence in northwestern Mexico, where heavily armed drug gangs have attacked army positions. Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, remains the epicenter of a cocaine-fuelled conflict that has also spread to Monterrey, in northeastern Mexico.

In February 2009 Texas Governor Rick Perry introduced a new phase of Operation Border Star which, in the event of the widely feared collapse of the Mexican state, could repel potential cross-border incursions by Los Zetas and other drug cartels. Under Border Star, the Texas governor is authorized to deploy National Guard troops, tanks, and aircraft along the Texas-Mexico border.

We strongly suspect that many of the putative incursions by the Mexican Army across the US-Mexican border, reported over the past decade, are in fact accidental, since Mexican troops are deployed in the border region’s drug trafficking routes. It is also possible that these “incursions” are in fact Los Zetas commandos or other cartel operatives in disguise. It is well documented, for example, that Los Zetas impersonate Mexico’s Federal Preventive Police and drive similarly marked vehicles.

Last month US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led a high-powered delegation that included Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Mexico City. There Clinton offered Calderon few assurances that the US Congress would expedite the shipment of military hardware to support Mexico’s counter-insurgency operations. Shockingly, Clinton actually indicated that Washington intends to eliminate military support altogether in the near future in favour of community-based initiatives.

The Mexican drug war is a byproduct of the Communist Bloc’s decades-old narco-subversion plot against the USA and the West in general. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and Peru’s Shining Path are important components in that plot. In the 1980s the communist regimes in Havana and Managua played vital roles in that subversion, but if Raul Castro and Daniel Ortega are still involved in drug running, then their complicity is not so clearly discerned today. Bluefields, Nicaragua’s main Caribbean port, however, remains a major transhipment point for Colombian cocaine. Government-sponsored drug busts in Venezuela and Nicaragua are most likely designed to obscure government complicity in the overall drug flow.

>Red Dawn Alert: Cuba’s top general arrives in Moscow; Putin visits Caracas, offers to sell US$5 billion in weapons, build rail lines

>- Venezuelan General Visits Belarusian Military Academy; Minsk to Build Trucks, Tractors, and Apartments in Venezuela

- Pending Russian Upgrades for Nicaragua’s Soviet-Era Armament Worry Costa Rica, VP Refutes Newspaper’s Accusations

- Central America’s Communist and Social Democratic Leaders Woo President Lobo, Offer Recognition of Honduran Government

- Bomb Blows Up at US Consulate in Nuevo Laredo, No Casualties in 2nd Attack on US Diplomatic Facilities in Mexico

The Soviet strategists are moving ahead with plans to revitalize their military relationship with Communist Cuba and neo-Sandinista Nicaragua, as well as greatly expand their military cooperation with Red Venezuela. Together, this communist troika, which we call the Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis, along with the communist regimes in Bolivia and Ecuador, constitutes a not insignificant military threat to the national security of the USA’s allies in the region, especially Honduras, Panama, and Colombia. The pro-business, pro-Washington regimes in Peru and Chile, the latter installed in March, are also targets of subversion by domestic chapters of Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian agents.

Today Cuba’s top general Alvaro Lopez-Miera (pictured above) led a military delegation to Moscow. Lopez-Miera, who is Chief of the General Staff of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, was welcomed at the airport by first deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, Lieutenant General Alexander Burutin. Later today Lopez-Miera and Burutin will visit the Russian General Staff Military Academy and inspect a brigade that has been restructured under the Russian military’s ongoing modernization program.

Tomorrow Lopez-Miera will hold talks with his Russian counterpart Army General Nikolai Makarov, where they will analyze bilateral military cooperation and the prospects for new agreements in the same field. On April 14 Lopez-Miera will visit Russian armament companies where there will be demonstrations of air defense systems that Havana is eyeing for its own protection against a hypothetical US invasion.

For his part, Makarov visited Cuba last September to discuss the modernization of the Cuban armed forces under Russian auspices. In October 2008 the chief of Russia’s air defense battalions, General Alexander Maslov, flew to Cuba to assess the readiness of the island’s air defenses, while Novosti reported that in the same year Russian bomber crews surveyed a site on the island that could serve as a potential refuelling base. During the First Cold War (1945-1991), the Soviet Union was Cuba’s primary benefactor, a role delegated of late to Venezuela.

Meanwhile, both Russia and Cuba are rapidly transforming Venezuela into another Communist Bloc satellite. In February President Chavez appointed Cuba’s Vice President Ramiro Valdez to head a commission tasked with fixing Venezuela’s power grid, which is beset with regular outages. On April 2 Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, materialized in Caracas where he discussed bilateral cooperation on oil exploration and drilling, nuclear energy production, and defense, although no new arms agreements were apparently signed.

“Our delegation has just returned from Venezuela and the overall volume of orders could exceed $5 billion,” Putin expounded hopefully to Russian news agencies upon returning to his homeland. Putin added: “This figure includes $2.2 billion in credit lines for Russian arms received by Chavez during his eighth visit to Moscow in September, including T-72 tanks and the S-300 advanced anti-aircraft missile system.” Chavez was elected president of Venezuela in 1998.

Chavez has frankly admitted that his growing, Russian-built arsenal is aimed at countering a planned increase in the number of US counter-narcotics troops in neighboring Colombia, Washington’s closest ally in South America. In response to the Soviet-Venezuelan strategic partnership, US State Department spokesentity P.J. Crowley blathered: “We’re hard pressed to see what legitimate defence needs Venezuela has for this equipment. If Venezuela is going to increase its military hardware, we certainly don’t want to see this hardware migrate to other parts of the hemisphere.”

In addition to beefing up Venezuela’s armed forces, Russia has also pledged to install 30,860 miles of railroad lines in that country in a project that will be completed by 2013. Putin agreed to assist Chavez in this massive construction project during his Caracas stopover. “This agreement is being immediately real, with a factory for railroad lines, we have already signed the agreement,” explained Venezuela’s Minister of Public Works and Dwellings, Diosdado Cabello. Additionally, Venezuela intends with Russian oversight to build a second factory to weld railroad lines. Russian engineers are currently in the Venezuelan state of Aragua supervising the construction of two plants that will assemble under license Kalashnikov automatic rifles and their cartridges.

Over the weekend, Chavez tied his past and pending Russian arms acquisitions to the establishment of his Bolivarian Militia, a Cuban-style outfit that will arm students, farmers, and workers to repel a hypothetical US invasion. “We are getting ready, so nobody can make a mistake with us,” Chavez boasted on his televised weekly rant, Alo Presidente, exhorting Venezuelans to complete the “transition to the socialist model.”

The Soviet strategists, as we previously blogged, are also arming Venezuela by way of Belarus, whose president, “ex”-communist Alexander Lukashenko, rules the country with an iron fist, maintaining a Soviet-era command economy and suppressing political dissidents and ethnic Poles. During his mid-March trip to Caracas, preceding Putin’s by only several weeks, Lukashenko promised to “strengthen” Venezuela’s military but, according to the MSM, offered no details, saying only that “Venezuela should be able to live peacefully without worrying about potential foreign threats.”

On March 15, as Lukashenka inaugurated his visit, Chavez disclosed that Venezuela was ready to begin selling 80,000 barrels of oil per day to Belarus from the start of May. The two communist states also signed 20 agreements that will lead to the construction of two plants in Venezuela that will produce MAZ trucks and tractors, as well as apartments for 15,000 Venezuelan families. Belarusian specialists will oversee these building projects. Belarus’ Minsk oblast and Venezuela’s state of Aragua signed an agreement on twin-town relations. Aragua, as noted above, is the site of the Russian-built Kalashnikov factories.

On April 7 Belarusian-Venezuelan military cooperation received a boost when the chief of Venezuela’s military academy, Brigadier General Alexis Lopes Ramires, arrived in Minsk to tour that country’s military academy. The Venezuelan delegation acquainted itself with the forms and procedures of Belarusian military training, as well as with the academy’s curriculum. Incidentally, the independent Belarusian media linked above reports that the military equipment Lukashenko promised to Chavez includes Tor M-1 missile defense units, which can detect aircraft and cruise missiles, even under “intense” electronic jamming.

During the 1980s the Sandinista People’s Army boasted the largest armed forces in Central America. Anti-communists, both in the region and the USA, feared that Nicaragua would attack and overrun Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador, then in the throes of an insurgency backed by Cuba and the Soviet Union. In 1984 Robert Gates, currently US Defense Secretary but then CIA’s No. 2 official, advocated air strikes against Ortega’s Marxist government.

Twenty years later, the Soviets are still around but feign death, the Sandinistas are again openly ruling, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front is no longer a guerrilla army but the governing party, and Nicaragua’s neighbors are casting wary glances at the second Sandinista regime, which promptly cozied up to Moscow after Ortega’s re-election in 2006.

On April 8 Nicaraguan Vice President Jaime Morales, a former Contra rebel, rebutted assertions published in Costa Rican newspaper Al Dia that his country constitutes a threat to its southern neighbor. “Costa Rica has always said it has no army, but has a better equipped police that any army. You do not have tanks, helicopters or aircraft, but has a super well-armed police, and very large also,” he opined in televised remarks. He added: “Nicaragua only seeks to defend its sovereignty against drug trafficking and other external threats, but not to attack or to have confrontations with neighbors [because] they are our brothers. These are myths, rumors and gossip.”

Nothing was stated in this article from Inside Costa Rica about Russia’s pledge to upgrade Managua’s Soviet-era military hardware or renovate the Soviet-built runway at Punta Huete. However, any review of Nicaragua as a regional threat must be made in that light. Morales observed that Costa Rica’s center-left president-elect, Laura Chinchilla, has expressed her “good intention to have a fraternal closeness” with Nicaragua. “President Ortega,” Morales assured of his former personal enemy, “wants to have the best relations with all countries [more so] if there is a demonstration and an approach of a lady as that of the president of Costa Rica.”

Last July Honduras’ post-coup president, Roberto Micheletti, accused Nicaragua of provocatively moving troops to its northern border, allegedly to support Chavez’s direct statements about invading Honduras to “protect” Venezuelan diplomats.

Meanwhile, Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator is playing nice with his center-right counterpart in Honduras, Porfirio Lobo, who was inaugurated in January after Micheletti stepped down. This past Friday Ortega greeted Lobo at Augusto Sandino International Airport in Managua. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Inter-American Development Bank have resumed lending to Honduras, but the country remains suspended from the Organization of American States (OAS). Incidentally, last month Chilean socialist Jose Miguel Insulza was re-elected secretary general of the OAS.

Between June 28, when he was ousted from the presidency, and September 21, when he snuck back into Honduras, Nicaragua was home base for Manuel Zelaya, a compliant lackey of Chavez. During his exile Ortega and Brazilian President Lula da Silva championed Zelaya’s reinstatement. Changing his tune on April 9, Ortega intoned piously: “Unity is a vital need for Central America. Central American leaders must respond to the Central American Integration System, to strengthen the political, economic and social unity in the region.” Jacinto Suarez, who is in charge of foreign relations policy for the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front, declared: “This is of great significance. It re-establishes communication between the two countries.”

On Sunday Ortega and Lobo were scheduled to fly to Guatemala City where they were to meet Guatemala’s center-left President Alvaro Colom and Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes. Normalizing ties with Honduras was the main item on the menu. Although putatively center-left in orientation, Funes represents the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, whose Politburo is dominated by hard-core Marxists. Honduras’ withdrawal from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas last November was a blow to the Latin American Red Axis, which is committed to regional integration at the expense of capitalism and US influence.

Finally, Mexico’s Moscow-backed narco-insurgents are again targeting US interests. On Saturday morning an explosion occurred at the US consulate in Nuevo Laredo in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas. There were no casualties from the homemade bomb. Mexican authorities are conducting an investigation, while the US State Department decided to close its consulates in Nuevo Laredo and in the state of Coahuila. This is the second attack on US consular staff in Mexico within one month. On March 13, three people connected to the US consulate in war-wracked Ciudad Juarez were killed by gunmen, presumably linked to the country’s powerful drug cartels.

In conclusion, ask your neighbour if he appreciates the neo-communist threat south of the Rio Grande and, apart from some dim awareness of “nutjobs” like Chavez, you will likely receive an uncomprehending stare.

>Red Terror File: Belarusian transportation authorities deny Russian version of demise of Polish president’s plane

>Woops! There appears to be a serious lack of coordination among the Soviets about the “decapitation strike” against the Polish government and military brass this past Saturday. The Georgian media reports that President Lech Kaczynski’s Polish Air Force jet was “flying at an appropriate height and according to established route.” Full excerpt follows:

Belarus denied statements made in Russia regarding the death of the President of Poland. The representative of the Belarusian Ministry of Transport and Communications told reporters that ” the plane crew never made any request towards the Belarusian side regarding a landing ” and during transit passage of aircraft with Lech Kaczynski onboard through the airspace of Belarus “no comments were made, the plane was flying at a appropriate height and according to established route”

Prior to this, press secretary of the Administration of Smolensk region of Russia Andrei Evseenko said that the plane with Lech Kaczynski was “trying to land three or four times in conditions of a heavy fog,” and that “an air traffic controller offered the crew to land in Minsk, but the crew decided to land at the Smolensk airport”.

Over to Vladimir Putin and his official investigation of this Moscow-orchestrated act of war . . .

>Red Terror File: Russians rule out "technical" problems in crash of Polish president’s plane; Polish ambassador knew pilots, upholds their competence

>- Polish-Canadians Gather at Ottawa Embassy, Accuse Moscow of Engineering Disaster to Wipe Out Polish Government

- Aircraft with 200 Journalists Landed Safely after President Kaczynski’s Plane Crashes

On Sunday Alexander Bastrykin, head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, reported to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that the “black boxes” on board the Polish Air Force jet that crashed near Smolensk yesterday confirm the Tupolev Tu-154 was “technically sound.” On board the plane was Poland’s rigtist, pro-Western President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, numerous legislators, and nearly all of Poland’s top generals and admirals. All crew and passengers perished.

“The pilot was informed about complex weather conditions and, nevertheless, made a decision on landing,” Bastrykin explained. The Soviet-built Polish jet clipped the tops of trees and crashed as it attempted to make another pass at the airport at fog-shrouded Smolensk. Thus, by the Kremlin’s tacit admission, we are left with pilot error or sabotage to explain the “decapitation” of Poland’s political-military leadership over Russian territory, en route to a memorial observance of the Katyn massacre in 1940. Expect the Kremlin media, therfore, to play up the “pilot error” dimension in the weeks ahead.

For decades, Soviet authorities refused to confess to the killings of 22,000 Polish military officers, even after the death of Joseph Stalin, who approved a suggestion by his secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria to execute the Poles. It was not until 1990 that then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev acknowledged that the Soviets, not the Nazis, were responsible for the massacre, which was carried out by Beria’s henchmen, then known as the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD).

On Sunday both Putin and the Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, who was in Warsaw at the time of the crash, travelled to the site of the downed Tupolev in the Katyn Forest to pay their respects to the victims. Putin and Tusk are pictured above. They are accompanied by Russia’s civil defense czar, Sergei Shoigu, on Putin’s left. Russia’s defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov appears to be walking somewhat behind on Tusk’s right. Kaczynski’s body was flown to Warsaw today.

At the Polish embassy in Ottawa Polish-Canadians express their suspicion that somehow the Russian government was behind the near-total demise of its Polish counterpart. Canadian journalist Earl McRae visited the embassy where he interviewed a Polish emigree and the ambassador himself:

Witold Szalankiewicz does not have to be diplomatic. And isn’t. He’s 54, a massage therapist. He came to Ottawa from Poland in 1989. Standing on the steps of the embassy, he says: “I am very suspicious. You talk to a lot of people coming here today, they will tell you the same thing. You can’t trust the Russians. Polish people hate the Russians. They suppressed us for over 200 years. There isn’t a person in Poland who hasn’t had a victim in their family of Russian suppression.”

Why, I ask, would Russia want to engineer the crash.

“To destroy the elite of the country that believes in the democracy we’ve become. Here was a way to get everybody in one place at once. It’s interesting that a plane full of 200 journalists landed with no problem shortly before the plane crash.

“The Russians hate us. Poland stands up to Russia. They can’t control us anymore. Russia was furious with Poland when it became the only European country to take in Chechen refugees. Poland blocks Russian EU proposals. Russia was furious when Poland joined NATO in 1999.

“No one knows the mind of Russians like the Polish people. Did you know that Putin’s grandfather was once Stalin’s chef? Putin himself was head of the KGB branch in East Germany.”

Intriguingly, Poland’s ambassador to Canada, Zenon Kosiniak-Kamysz, who was posted to Ottawa in January, made the following remark, which effectively rules out “pilot error” in the demise of President Kaczynski’s plane: “I will not speculate. But, I knew those pilots personally. They were very experienced and qualified.” Thus, with the addition of this information, we are left with the conclusion that sabotage or another hostile act was behind this disaster.

Not so coincidentally, US military personnel are on site at Morag, Poland, installing a Patriot anti-missile battery only 70 kilometers from Poland’s border with Kaliningrad, Russia’s Baltic Sea exclave. State-run Voice of Russia articulates the Kremlin’s professed scepticism concerning Washington’s claim that the Patriots are targeting Iranian ballistic missiles:

Who the Patriots are going to protect and against whom is unclear. Poland is surrounded by NATO allies on three sides. Finland is close but it maintains neutrality. The only option for the missiles is to point east, in the direction of Russia. Something is definitely wrong when they declare that the missiles in question are not directed against Russia.

Voice of Russia warns that the US missile deployment in Warsaw Pact-turned-NATO state “undermines” trust between Moscow and Washington, especially in view of the new strategic arms reduction treaty inked in Prague last week.

>MISSILE DAY ALERT: Poland’s rightist president, legislators, military leadership "decapitated" in W. Russia air crash, Putin to lead "investigation"

>Earlier today the president of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, scores of parliamentarians, and the country’s top generals and admirals perished in an air crash near Smolensk, Russia, near the Belarusian border. Ironically, the Polish delegation was en route to memorial ceremonies at Katyn, where 22,000 Poles were massacred by Soviet forces, 70 years ago. The AFP news agency reports:

Pilot error is suspected as a cause in the crash Saturday in western Russia of the plane carrying President Lech Kaczynski and other top Polish officials, Russian news agencies reported. ‘The cause of the plane crash was apparently an error by the crew during the approach to landing,’ Russian state news agency RIA Novosti quoted an unnamed official in the Russian region of Smolensk as saying.

A total of 96 crew and passengers, including Kaczynski and his wife Maria, died in the air disaster, which involved a Polish Air Force Tupolev Tu-154. Most ominously, the following military brass were killed:

- Gen. Bronislaw Kwiatkowski (Commander Operations)
- Gen. Andrew Blasik (Air Force Commander in Chief)
- Gen. Tadeusz Buk (Commander of Land Forces)
- Gen. Wojciech Potasinski (Commander of Special Forces)
- Vice Admiral Andrzej Karweta (Commander in Chief of the Polish Navy)
- Gen. Casimir Gilarski (Commander, Training)

It should go without saying that the Poles were very foolish sticking all of these VIPs on one aircraft.

Incidentally, according to the Daily Mail, Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, will head the Kremlin commission that “investigates” the causes of the disaster.

Pictured above: In Warsaw a huge crowd of mourners gathers in front of the Presidential Palace to pay tribute to Kaczynski on April 10, 2010.

Poland’s speaker of parliament, Bronislaw Komorowski, has become the country’s interim head of state. New presidential elections are slated for no later than June 20. While we would expect the Soviet strategists to agitate for a victory for the Polish Left, the “decapitation” of Poland’s military leadership, even if accidental, could in fact signal Russia’s looming re-invasion of this Warsaw Pact-turned-NATO state. Last year, under the guise of the Zapad 2009 drill, the Russian and Belarusian armed forces simulated a nuclear attack against the former Soviet Bloc state of Poland.

Yesterday, two Tu-95 Bear bombers, based out of Ukrainka in Russia’s Far East, carried out a routine patrol over the Pacific Ocean, straying near the Aleutian Islands. The two nuclear-capable aircraft and their aerial tanker escorts were shadowed by Canadian fighter jets, presumably scrambled from the Cold Lake air force base in Alberta. Last month the Royal Air Force deterred two Tu-160 Blackjack bombers that had intruded into British airspace in the Outer Hebrides.

>USSR2 File: Kremlin’s hand in Kyrgyzstan coup exposed: Bikayev alludes to Russian influence in his ouster, Putin phones interim PM to convey support

>Although we returned from an 11-day vacation earlier this week, only now have we found time to analyze some of the important events taking place in the “post”-Soviet space.

In the wake of Tuesday’s armed uprising in Kyrgyzstan, which toppled President Kurmanbek Bikayev, the Kremlin has deployed an additional 150 paratroopers to secure its air base in Kant and protect Russian citizens living in the “former” Soviet republic. When the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991, many millions of ethnic Russians were “stranded” in the ex-Soviet republics.

Russia’s top general Nikolai Makarov articulated the Kremlin line: “The President [Dmitry Medvedev] took the decision to send two companies of paratroopers. Around 150 [servicemen] have arrived at Kant.” At the time this statement was issued, both Makarov and Medvedev were visiting Prague, whether the Russian president signed the new START treaty with his “new comrade,” Barack Hussein Obama. Russian Air Force spokesentity Vladimir Drik added: “The airbase is operating under a routine training schedule. There have been no incidents with Russian air garrison personnel registered. No one has been injured.”

Much to Moscow’s annoyance, Washington maintains its own air base at another location outside the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. In February 2009 the Kyrgyz government responded favourably to a large financial aid package from Russia by ordering the US air base at Manas to cease operations. However, last June Kyrgyzstan and the USA signed an agreement to establish a transit center at Manas international airport in support of NATO’s counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan. There the Taliban is armed by the Russian Mafia (FSB/KGB) and its Chechen offshoot via Tajikistan in exchange for Afghan heroin which, according to one source, is secreted into European markets by GRU operatives.

After protests erupted in the town of Talas on Tuesday and then spread to Bishkek, where oppositionists stormed government buildings with automatic weapons, Bikayev hinted at the Kremlin’s influence behind his ouster. “Such a coordinated operation could not have been carried out without foreign help,” he complained. On Thursday, speaking from a hideout in the southern city of Jalalabad, he changed his tune. “I do not believe that Russia or the United States of America had a hand in these events.” Bikayev came to power in 2005’s “Tulip Revolution.” He is accused of fixing last year’s presidential election, but refuses to resign. At least 76 people were killed and 1,500 injured in this week’s unrest.

KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin dismisses reports that his government is behind the coup d’etat. However, on Thursday the Russian prime minister spoke with Kyrgyzstan’s interim head of government, Roza Otunbayeva, revealing the Kremlin’s approval of the new regime. Not surprisingly, putative rivals Bikayev and Otunbayeva are “former” cadres of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, proving once again that transfers of power in the “post”-Soviet space are largely cosmetic. Otunbayeva, who is also Kyrgyzstan’s former foreign minister, is pictured above in Bishkek on April 9.

In a related story, on Friday Medvedev spoke by phone with Kazakh counterpart and fellow “ex”-communist Nursultan Nazarbayev on the subject of the Kyrgyzstan coup. As evidence by the following official media release, the bloodshed in Bishkek may provide a pretext for Moscow to assume greater control over its past satellites by way of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The Kremlin press service relates:

The President of Russia also confirmed the official information for the CSTO member states and other partners of sending to Kyrgyzstan groups of the Russian military men who will ensure security of the families of Russian citizens in the territory of Kyrgyzstan, diplomatic representatives and other Russian institutions.

Incidentally, last month the United Nations and CSTO, which includes Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, among other “former” Soviet republics, inked a protocol that permits the UN to deploy CSTO troops in global “trouble spots.”

In passing, Nazarbayev also congratulated Medvedev on the historic signing of a new US-Russian strategic arms reduction treaty that will allegedly create “peace in our time.” In reality, this subterfuge foisted on the American people by the Obama White House will force the USA to cut its nuclear stockpile by 25 to 30 percent over seven years, even as Russia currently beefs up its arsenal with new ICBMs and SLBMs. How much more proof is needed that President Barack Hussein Obama is a compliant Soviet mole?