>In this follow-up post to our last Red Dawn Alert, we supply some more details regarding Sergei Shoigu’s three-nation tour of Latin America. After visiting Managua to sign a memorandum on bilateral cooperation in the field of civil defense with Nicaragua’s neo-Sandinista regime, Russia’s emergency situations minister flew to Havana where he signed a similar deal with that country’s communist dictatorship. In addition to Cuban President Raul Castro, Shoigu met with General Julio Casas Regueiro, Cuba’s defense minister, and General Ramon Pardo Guerra, Chief of National Civil Defense. In attendance at the conference, too, was Russia’s ambassador in Havana, Mikhail Kamynin.
Following the meeting, Shoigu explained that Russia will help Cuba establish a training center for civil defense and emergency services specialists:
The main point of the plan is the establishment of a training center. The center is intended not only for training specialists, but also for providing a fast response to various emergencies. The center will be established by 2010, will prepare a wide range of specialists, including rescuers, firemen and divers, as well as civil defense specialists.
Russia will also help Cuba modernize its meteorological and seismological systems.
The arrival of Russia’s civil defense “czar” in Cuba just as the red dictatorship there is ramping up for the Bastion 2009 military drills, to take place between November 26 and 28, is intriguing to say the least. The three-day drill will be held on the eve of National Defense Day, which occurs on November 29. On November 16 the Cuban Defense Ministry released a statement that read: “The drills will comprise different types of tactical exercises with the participation of units from the Revolutionary Armed Forces, the Interior Ministry and components of territorial defenses.” Originally scheduled for August 2008, the Bastion exercise was postponed due to the damage wreaked by Hurricanes Ike and Gustav. The FAR numbers some 49,000 regular troops and 39,000 reservists.
The “Bastion strategic maneuvers” occur every so often for the purpose of testing the country’s military and civil defense responses to external attack. The last such drill took place in 2004, while another took place in 1986, during the last decade of the Cold War. Cuba’s communist rulers, of course, have long considered the island to be at risk for a US invasion. Hence, the Castro Bros. welcomed the deployment of Soviet medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba on September 8, 1962, provoking the Cuban Missile Crisis that October. In the summer of 2008 and again earlier this year, neither Fidel nor Raul protested the Russian military’s suggestion that its air force once again use the island as a refueling base for its nuclear bombers.
Thinking creatively, we should not rule out the possibility that the Soviet strategists are taking advantage of Cuba’s vulnerability to natural disasters like hurricanes as a “cover story” to upgrade Havana’s civil defense apparatus prior to a Communist Bloc assault against the USA. A US counter-strike against Russia’s Latin American proxies is very likely if the Soviets are bold enough to use these countries as military “platforms.” Incidentally, we have already blogged about Russia’s new space base in French Guiana, which will become operational in April 2010 with the launch of two Soyuz-ST rockets. Conceivably, the Soviets could use Kourou, which is operated by the European Space Agency, as an ICBM base to attack the Continental USA from across the Caribbean Sea.
After rubbing elbows with the red dictator in Havana, Shoigu flew to Caracas, where he was personally received by the Castro Bros.’ chief protégé, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In addition to Chavez, two government ministers, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami, attended the meeting that will lead to the establishment of a Russian-built “National Disaster Center” in Venezuela. With tongue in cheek, we might say that the socialist revolution in Venezuela has already been a “national disaster.” The arrival of Russia’s civil defense “czar” in Venezuela just as Chavez is provoking war with neighboring Colombia, which will shortly host 800 US counter-narcotics troops, is also intriguing.
The planned US military presence in Colombia has enraged Chavez for several reasons: 1) it is designed to suppress the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which supplies the USA with 90 percent of South America’s cocaine, 2) it will choke off an important but illicit source of funds for the communist regime in Caracas, which is also a crucial transshipment hub for FARC drugs, and 3) it will erect a barrier against the spread of Cuban/Venezuelan-style communism, under the guise of the “Bolivarian Revolution,” into Colombia.
The covert relationship between the Chavezista regime and FARC received wide publicity when Colombian troops raided a rebel jungle camp on Ecuadorean soil in March 2008. Insurgent commander Raul Reyes was killed, while his laptop computer was seized, revealing a wealth of information connecting FARC to Chavez and Viktor Bout, an alleged FSB/KGB/GRU agent and accused gun runner. Arrested in the midst of the Andean Crisis, Bout is is still cooling his heels in a Thai jail, having successfully resisted attempts by the US government to extradiate him. “The United States,” laments state-run Novosti, “accuses Bout of conspiring to sell FARC more than 700 surface-to-air missiles, thousands of guns, high-tech helicopters and airplanes outfitted with grenade launchers and missiles.” Needless to say, Moscow vociferously denies that Comrade Bout was up to no good.
The sordid narco-revolutionary nexus between Miraflores Palace and FARC was again asserted last week, this time by the governor of the Venezuelan state of Tachira, which borders Colombia. Over the last month Tachira has been the scene of a politically motivated “string of shootings and slayings.” Governor Cesar Perez, who opposes the communist regime in the national capital, contends that Chavez has ordered his troops to harass Colombia’s anti-communist paramilitaries who operate on the sly in Tachira, while turning a blind eye to the Marxist insurgents who stalk about in the same state. Governor Perez laments the fact that he cannot confront either group of invaders because Chavez’s lackeys, in true communist fashion, have confiscated the state police force’s assault rifles.
In an interview with El Universal, Fernando Ochoa Antich, Venezuela’s minister of defense under President Carlos Andres Perez (1989-1993), warns that the Colombian government is one of the main targets for a takeover by the continent’s “Bolivarian revolution.” Antich says:
In any case, problems [between Venezuela and Colombia] now look more serious than before, and it seems the Venezuelan government fabricates them. The point at issue is that Colombia is one of the main goals of the Bolivarian foreign policy. This would enable it to create a political axis composed of Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela, in addition to Cuba as the ideological mastermind of this process. In Venezuela, we downplay President Chavez’s actions. But comparing his policy with Fidel Castro’s revolution of 1959, we will find that the expansion of the Venezuelan revolution is extraordinary. Just look at its success in controlling Ecuador and Bolivia. The problem, though, is that a wedge called Colombia is in the middle.
In addition to Ecuador and Bolivia, the Bolivarian Revolution emanating from Caracas, but masterminded by Havana and ultimately by Moscow, successfully re-digested Nicaragua into the Communist Bloc in 2006, absorbed El Salvador in 2009, and enjoys the irresponsible favor of the center-left regimes in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The Bolivarian schemers in Miraflores Palace almost grabbed Belize in 2007, and Honduras and Panama in 2009.
Antich, however, does not believe that the new US-Colombian military pact will thwart the spread of communism in South America since Washington does not acknowledge that threat but, rather, only its symptom, the drug trade:
I do not think that the agreement is intended to curb Chavez’s expansionism, because so far the United States has not given it the importance it really has. The key problem is the drug traffic. Now, I do not agree with the agreement executed by Colombia and the United States, because Uribe yielded too much.
The massive deployment of troops to the bases is not a threat to Venezuela, except in the event of clashes between Venezuela and Colombia. But the assumption that such military deployment will endanger the Bolivarian revolution is an unfounded exaggeration of President Chavez. Both the [US Navy’s] Fourth Fleet and the US bases in the Caribbean are enough to raid on Venezuela, in any event. Therefore, the bases are aimed at counternarcotics efforts.
Chavez, Antich contends, is in no position to take on Colombia in a war due to the strong likelihood of a concurrent conflict with Bogota’s backers in Washington: “At this current movement, given the Colombia-US alliance, Venezuela lacks the military capacity for such a solution.” Is Comrade Hugo crazy enough to fling his Soviet-armed military against US troops in Colombia? By himself: Not likely. With goading from the Soviet strategists: Maybe.
Incidentally, on November 10, in the Colombian border town of Corinto, which is near a cocaine smuggling “corridor” maintained by FARC, 200 grenade-throwing rebels killed nine soldiers at their post. A surviving soldier related the encounter to local television reporters: “I fired three or four magazines and had to retreat. I saw that my friends were dying. Most of them had been hit by home-made grenades.” Following this melee, which some Colombians described as one of the worst in that country’s civil war since the 1990s, a political scientist at Bogota’s Javeriana University, Mauricio Romero, reflected: “There has been a reactivation of the FARC in recent months in places like Cauca and Norte de Santander, near the Venezuelan border. The FARC no longer presents a strategic threat to the state, but they are making the point that they can still do damage despite Uribe’s counteroffensive.” Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s father died in a “botched” FARC kidnapping in 1983.
Family Relationship between Russia’s Civil Defense “Czar” and Ringleader of 1991 “Vodka Putsch” Exposes Continuity between Paleo- and Neo-Soviet Leadership
Once honorary three-star, now four-star, general Shoigu has directed Russia’s civil defense operations since 1991, before even the phony collapse of the Soviet Union. A former low-level communist functionary from Abakhan, Shoigu is related by marriage to Oleg Shenin, past secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). A gray eminence behind Soviet and “post”-Soviet politics, Shenin orchestrated the farcical “Vodka Putsch” that “deposed” Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991. Shenin is pictured above in 1994. According to a 2005 interview by Valentin Falin, former chief of the CPSU International Department, Shenin and his co-conspirators apprised Gorbachev of the coup before it took place. For his part, “communist reformer” Gorby resigned himself to the unforgiveable role of “traitor” to the Soviet cause.
In a 2000 NewsMax article, GRU defector Stanislav Lunev described the personal and professional linkages between Shoigu and Shenin:
Sergei Shoigu’s biography is simple, and telling. He came from the former Soviet Communist Party political elite and is extremely loyal to The [Yeltsin] Family. He was born in 1955, son of a Communist bureaucrat who was later promoted to deputy prime minister of the Tuva Soviet Autonomous Republic. While attending the technical university, Shoigu married the niece of Oleg Shenin’s wife. Shenin was chief of the local Communist Party organization.
After graduating from the university, Shoigu worked for a while as an engineer. However, most of his career has been connected with the Communist Party. When his relative Oleg Shenin was made a member of the powerful Politburo of the CPSU, Shoigu moved into Shenin’s previous position as local party leader.
Nonetheless, in 1991, Shoigu betrayed his benefactor, who was put behind bars for participating in the supposed coup attempt against Gorbachev. Since then Shoigu has joined forces with Yeltsin and functioned as head of a government committee and then as Minister of Emergency Situations. In 1998, without any military service whatsoever, he was given the rank of three-star general.
Sometime before the Soviet Union was formally dissolved on Christmas Day 1991 Shenin, who controlled the Party treasury, squirreled away the funds in Swiss bank accounts. He was assisted in that endeavor by US financier Marc Rich, who was later pardoned by President Bill Clinton. In turn, Clinton is an alleged KGB asset whose wife, Secretary of State Hillary, now sets US President Barack Hussein Obama’s foreign policy. That foreign policy, by the way, includes deep cuts to the US nuclear arsenal in the face of rapid Soviet remilitarization. Incidentally, nearly 20 years later, the CPSU’s “billions” could very well still be sitting in those Swiss bank accounts.
In 1990 Shenin and Gennady Zyuganov, another ardent Stalinist, founded the Communist Party of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (CP RSFSR), the first time the CPSU boasted a separate Russian branch. In 1993, after communism was “unbanned,” Zyuganov transformed the CP RSFSR into the current Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). Between 1993, when he has released from jail after serving part of a life sentence for “treason,” and 2001, Shenin led the Union of Communist Parties-CPSU, which unites the communist parties of the former Soviet republics. The stated purpose of the UCP-CPSU, including its biggest component, the CPRF, is the restoration of the Soviet Union. In 2001 Shenin ceded the chairmanship of the UCP-CPSU to Zyuganov, with whom he had a dispute over his attempt to form a single communist party for the Union State of Russia and Belarus.
Shenin made a failed bid for the Russian presidency in 2008, but was disqualified due to a technicality. His role in the turbulent final days of the Soviet Union long forgotten by both Russians and the world at large, this shadowy Soviet strategist died in May 2009, at the age of 72 years. Shenin’s erstwhile rival, Gorbachev, continues his global campaign for perestroika (socialist restructuring), having secured, it appears, the cooperation of Obama in that objective.