Monthly Archives: October 2010

>Latin America File: Narcistas kill 9 police in Mexico’s Jalisco state; shoot up employees of US-owned factory; 5 dead in Guadalajara grenade attack

>Massacres have arrived in the federal district.
— Mexico City’s El Universal newspaper, referring to October 28 drive-by shooting

This past week has witnessed an orgy of violence in Mexico’s narco-insurgency, revealing President Felipe Calderon’s ineffective response to this dangerous threat to his country’s political stability and economic viability. With 7,000 victims during the first 10 months of 2010, this year has been the bloodiest in Calderon’s four-year campaign against the drug cartels. These victims include cartel gunmen, soldiers, police, civilians, US tourists, and migrant workers from Central and South America. Neither adult nor child has been spared.

Since last Friday, heavily armed narcistas have carried out at least six massacres of civilians and police forces:

– Friday, October 22: Gunmen storm and shoot dead 14 teenagers and young people at a birthday party in Ciudad Juarez, in the border state of Chihuahua.

– Sunday, October 24: Gunmen storm a drug rehabilitation center in Tijuana, in the border state of Baja California, lining up and executing 13 recovering addicts.

– Wednesday, October 27: Gunmen massacre 15 people at a car wash in Tepic in the Pacific Coast state of Nayarit.

– Thursday, October 28: Gunmen ambush three buses carrying factory workers in the small village of Caseta, near Ciudad Juarez, killing at least five women. The deceased include three women and a man, all employees of Eagle Ottawa Leather, a firm headquartered in Detroit that makes upholstery for automobiles.

– Same day: Gunmen in two trucks shoot dead six young men in Mexico City, where mass shootings are rare.

On Friday, narcistas travelling in at least 10 SUVs ambushed 20 police on patrol in Jalisco state. The ambushers were armed with assault rifles and grenade launchers. Nine officers were shot dead, while a tenth was apprently kidnapped. The 10 officers who surived the ambush fought back for several hours, until the gunmen retreated into the neighboring state of Michoacan. In a separate incident, at least five people were injured in grenade attacks in a suburb of Guadelajara, the capital of Jalisco. Two of those wounded were toddlers and a third was a 17-year-old girl.

“Foreign-owned firms so far have been largely immune from Mexico’s rising extortion plague, trade association officials and security consultants say,” reports the Houston Chronicle, adding: “But they add that some Mexican employees, especially those with knowledge of merchandise shipments, occasionally have been targeted by gangsters.” The Chronicle quotes Daniel Johnson, an executive with Houston-based Medex Global Solutions, as saying: “There has been a perceived immunity for North Americans operating in Mexico But in the past year we’ve seen that immunity fade away rather quickly.”

To describe Mexico’s drug violence as an insurgency is not an overstatement. Even US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has compared Mexico’s descent into chaos to that of Colombia’s struggle with the Medellin and Cali cartels in the 1980s and 1990s. Indeed, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recognizes Mexico’s narco-insurgency as a threat to US national security, but the Mexican government’s nationalism has thwarted the acceptance of significant military-technical assistance from Washington. If this was a communist rebellion, like the one in Colombia, Calderon’s government should have long since declared martial law and taken whatever measures are necessary to vanquish the cartels.

To implicate Latin America’s Red Axis in the destabilization of the USA’s southern neighbour, moreover, is not an overstatement either. Colombia’s communist rebels supply 90 percent of the cocaine passing through the hands of the Mexican drug lords. The red regimes in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia also have important roles to play in Moscow’s narco-subversion of the West, serving as transhipment hubs or providing safe havens to grow and process coca. The presidents of these countries—Hugo Chavez, Rafael Correa, and Evo Morales—spotlight high-profile drug busts but, tellingly, they have rejected any US counter-narcotics presence in their countries to decisively wipe out this scourge. Are their motives monetary or ideological? We would venture to say both.

>WW4 File: Russian Strategic Missile Forces, subs test-launch Topol ICBMs, Sineva SLBMs, target Kamchatka; Bulava successfully launched

>– Russian Air Force Carries Out Concurrent Large-Scale Cruise Missile Test Near Ural Mountains

The Soviet strategists, even as they hold out the promise of cooperation with NATO, continue to prepare for war with the West in the latest round of test launches of ICBMs and SLBMs. Red China’s state media reports that the Russian Armed Forces launched three strategic missiles on Thursday, one from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwest Russia and two from submarines in the submerged position.

The Russian Strategic Missile Forces launched a Topol-M ICBM at 01:59 p.m. Moscow time (0759 GMT). The RS-12M’s warhead successfully hit a target in the Kamchatka Peninsula, in Far East Russia, 20 minutes later. The test launch confirmed the missile’s performance after extending its service life. The Topol-M has a range of about 11,000 kilometers and can reportedly penetrate any current and future US missile shield defense.

Meanwhile, the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet test fired an RSM-50 SLBM from the ballistic missile submarine K-433 St. George the Victorious, then prowling about the Sea of Okhotsk. The RSM-50, flying in the opposite direction as the Topol-M, struck a target in the Chizha testing ground, near Arkhangelsk. Russia’s Northern Fleet also test launched a Sineva ICBM from the K-117 Bryansk submarine in the Bering Sea, successfully hitting a target at the Kura range in Kamchatka.

On Friday, Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin announced that a Bulava SLBM was launched from the submarine Dmitry Donskoy and successfully reached its target at Kura. The new Bulava missile has had a troubled history of failed tests.

In addition to testing new and old ICBMs and SLBMs, the Russian Air Force carried out a large-scale cruise missile test at the Pemboi testing site in the Urals republic of Komi. During the aviation exercise, air crews flying Tu-160, Tu-95MS, and Tu-22M3 bombers refined their skills in aerial refueling and interacting with support planes. About 50 aircraft supported the bombers, including MiG-31 interceptors, Su- 27SM fighters, Beriev A-50 Shmel airborne warning and control systems aircraft, and Il-78 aerial refueling tankers.

>Latin America File: Narcistas in W. Mexico perpetrate 3rd massacre in one week, entire police force of small town resigns after HQ attacked

>October 28, 2010 Update: Gunmen in Two Trucks Open Fire in Mexico City, Kill Six

Mexico is fast descending into anarchy and pervasive organized criminality, while both the Mexican and US governments fiddle. In fact, the level of violence appears to be approaching that of the tumultuous years of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) and the Cristero War (1926-1929).

South of the Rio Grande, the drug cartels have been notoriously active over the past week, carrying out at least three large-scale massacres, each claiming more than a dozen lives. The first took place in Ciudad Juarez on Friday, at which time gunmen cut down 14 teenage partygoers. The second took place in Tijuana on Saturday, at which time gunmen executed 13 recovering drug addicts. The third incident took place today in Tepic, which is located in the western state of Nayarit, where narcistas shot up 13 patrons at a car wash.

In a related story, the entire police force of Los Ramones, a small town in Nuevo Leon, resigned Tuesday after narcistas sprayed the force’s new headquarters with more than 1,000 bullets and lobbed six grenades at the building on Monday night. No one was injured in the attack, but six police vehicles were destroyed (pictured above). Mayor Santos Salinas Garza told local media that the officers resigned because of the incident. (Uh, no kidding.) The station had been inaugurated only three days earlier.

The attack was the second in less than a week against police forces in Nuevo Leon. Last week, narcistas threw two grenades at police in Sabinas Hidalgo. Several mayors in the region have been assassinated. Mexico’s municipal police forces often hand in their badges out of fear after being attacked by cartels. About 90% of forces have less than 100 officers, while 61% of cops earn less than US$322 a month.

On Thursday morning, gunmen in two trucks opened fire after driving by a group of young men, aged between 20 and 25, who were standing at a street corner in Mexico City’s Cuauhtemoc district. Six died, but no motive for the killings is known.

>Latin America/USSR2/Middle East Files: Chavez wraps up “Axis of Evil” tour with 9th visit to Russia, pit stops in Belarus, Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Libya

>Last week, Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez completed his ninth visit to Russia, meeting counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, laying a foundation stone in Moscow for a statue of the South American liberator Simon Bolivar, and inking an agreement with Rosatom to build a 2,400 megawatt nuclear reactor in Venezuela. The last, naturally, has provoked some consternation in Washington. Russia also agreed to set up a plant in Venezuela to manufacture Lada cars, as well as supply Venezuela with gas turbines and assistance in compressed gas production on Lake Maracaibo.

Medvedev pledged to continue arming Venezuela to the teeth. For his part, Chavez praised Russia’s expanding presence in Latin America which, during the Cold War, was thwarted by the presence of numerous right-wing military dictatorships. “Latin America is witnessing a revival, just as Russia did several years ago.” Referring to a future world with no US influence anywhere, he added: “We must join forces in an effort to build a multi-polar world.”

After conferring with his masters in Moscow, Chavez flew to Minsk, capital of the former Soviet republic of Belarus. There he rubbed elbows with “Europe’s last dictator,” Alexander Lukashenko, who is promising that the country’s upcoming presidential election will be free and fair, unlike previous ones that he rigged to his advantage. During their three-and-a-half-hour tete-a-tete, Chavez vowed: “Belarusian refineries will have no shortage of oil for the next 200 years. There are no debtors here; we are companions. We are jointly creating an alternative to global [US] imperialism.” Belarus has supplied Venezuela with tractors and promised to beef up the South American country’s air defenses.

From Minsk, Chavez flew to Kiev, where he met with another “ex”-communist, Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine’s slavishly pro-Moscow president. During his first visit to Ukraine, Chavez will visit the Antonov aircraft plant. Caracas has expressed an interest in purchasing the transport and maritime reconnaissance versions of the An-74 plane.

Political analysts suspect Chavez and Yanukovich will also discuss the pumping of Venezuelan oil to Belarus via the Ukrainian port of Odessa. According to Ukraine’s Energy Minister Yuri Boiko, 10 oil tankers have already been unloaded at the Odessa port. Boiku elaborated: “Ukraine has technical facilities to receive oil at its Black Sea ports, to tranship it to be further delivered to Belarus by railway transport and via pipelines in volumes proposed by Belarus, i.e. up to 4 million tons of oil till April 2011 with the further increase of up to 10 million tons a year.”

At the end of his meeting with Yanukovich, Chavez began the Middle Eastern leg of his journey, which included pit stops in Iran, Syria, and Libya. There fellow dictators Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashar al-Assad, and Muammar al-Qaddafi were more than delighted to provide Chavez with platforms to rant against “US imperialism” and advocate a “new world order” sans America.

Chavez and Ahmadinejad signed 11 agreements promoting bilateral relations in the fields of oil, natural gas, and textiles production (pictured above). At the end of his two-day visit to Tehran, Chavez condemned possible US-Israeli military threats against Iran because of its disputed, Made-in-Russia nuclear program. The Venezuelan president sought the same support in Syria, which is under US sanctions because the State Department considers Damascus a sponsor of terrorism, especially with respect to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The USA also accuses Syria of secret nuclear activities.

In Tripoli, Chavez signed a series of accords with Qaddafi, a long-time Soviet ally who has been in power for over 40 years and until recently was secretary-general of the African Union. The Venezuelan-Libyan accords addressed cooperation in joint investments, commerce, and air and sea links, as well as cooperation in the energy, education, and cultural fields. State news agency JANA announced that Libya, which is almost entirely covered by the Sahara Desert, plans to cultivate 75,000 hectares (185,000 acres) of farmland in Venezuela.

Although not strictly speaking part of the extended Axis of Evil frequently portrayed at this blog, Portugal was Chavez’s last stop. There the Venezuelan president met with socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates, signing economic pacts that include the construction of two Venezuela-bound cargo ships at the Viana do Castelo shipyard, and the creation of a mixed transportation and natural gas liquefaction firm managed by Venezuela’s PDVSA and Portuguese counterpart Galp Energia Group. Along with Russia and Belarus, which have pledged to build public housing in Venezuela, Lisbon has promised to deliver 12,500 prefabricated houses to the South American country.

In a related story, Bolivia’s self-avowed Marxist-Leninist president, Evo Morales, arrived in Tehran on October 25, shortly after Chavez’s departure, to begin a three-day state visit. Speaking ahead of his junket, Morales explained that his aim was to enhance bilateral ties and entice Iran to invest in his country. This is Morales’ second visit to Iran in two years, while Ahmadinejad became the first Iranian president to visit Bolivia in 2007. During that trip, the two countries signed an agreement on conducting joint ventures worth US$1.1 billion over five years.

>USSR2 File: Russia Today justifies Soviet links with Nicaragua, vilifies US invasion of Grenada; Duma passes Communist resolution against Cuba embargo

>On the 27th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Grenada, the Kremlin media is still vilifying President Ronald Reagan’s anti-communist foreign policy and blames America’s toothless press for aiding and abetting Pentagon “warmongering.” Although much could be said about Russia’s toothless press under KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin, Russia Today is correct in exposing the paucity of independent journalism in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

RT, which regularly interviews US faux rightist Alex Jones, laments in hyperbolic fashion: “Washington justified its use of overwhelming force against a largely unarmed civilian population with quintessential Cold War rhetoric, that Grenada’s socialist government was an imminent threat to freedom and prosperity in the Western Hemisphere.” Then this Kremlin mouthpiece unearths a quote from the Ronald Reagan archives: “Grenada, we were told, was a friendly island paradise for tourism. Well it wasn’t. It was a Soviet Cuban colony being readied as a military bastion to export terror and undermine democracy. We got there just in time.”

Conveniently overlooking the presence of Russian occupational troops in Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) and Moldova (Transnistria), the Soviet/Russian annexation of Japan’s Kuril Islands, and the genocide of the Chechen people, RT complains about Washington’s unilateralism:

Nearly three decades later, the legacy of the invasion of Grenada lives on in US policy and interventions across the world.

The invasion of Grenada was a litmus test for US military intervention in the post-Vietnam War era, a blueprint applied to Panama [in 1989], the Gulf War [in 1990] and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The Pentagon’s skilful control of information and manipulation of journalists also set a precedent in media coverage and cooptation that continues today.

For more ammunition, RT quotes Glen Ford, author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of US Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion, who argues that, unless the Democratic Party cries foul, the US media generally fails to critique any White House decision to go to war:

They in fact can do a better job of propagandizing a war than the State can do, because actually they’re better. They have shown over and over again in the past several years they are quite capable of ignoring a hundred thousand people in the street. But when significant sections of the Democratic Party begin expressing anti-war views, then a portion of the press responds to that faction of power.

If nothing else, this RT editorial exposes the fact that “post”-communist Russia still resents US unilateralism. It also harmonizes with the stance that President Dmitry Medvedev and the Russian Foreign Ministry promote in international forums, namely, the concept of a “multi-polar world.” Moscow’s stated determination to integrate Russia and the European Union into a single security structure sans USA and NATO is one concrete example of this foreign policy objective.

Incidentally, Grenada is once again under Communist Bloc influence. Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has revitalized relations with Havana, invited investment from Red China and Communist Venezuela, and renamed the island’s main airport after deceased Marxist dictator Maurice Bishop.

Last year, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution, RT predictably took sides with the Soviet/Cuban-backed insurgents who are once again ruling in Managua. No attempt was made to hide Soviet support for the Sandinistas:

Thousands of people have gathered in the capital of Nicaragua to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the socialist revolution that overthrew the country’s long-ruling authoritarian regime.

Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua’s president and one of the leaders of the revolution, attended the celebrations. Supporters waved his party’s red and black flags and held banners praising the government’s focus on social programs.

Exactly three decades ago, the U.S.-backed dictator [Anastasio Somoza Debayle] was ousted and the revolutionaries enlisted Soviet help to resist American influence.

“The Soviet Union won that round,” RT gloats, “driving the US back.”

RT then quotes Oleg Nechiporenko, military adviser on Nicaragua for the Soviet Minister of Internal Affairs in 1984 and 1985, as saying: “Nicaragua was like a red rag to America.” Alluding to US plans to invade Nicaragua in the mid-1980s, Nechiporenko continues:

They didn’t want another Cuba in their backyard – a country with a US-hostile policy. There was information about possible attacks from the US. We were on high alert. To resist American pressure, the USSR sent its best intelligence service members to Nicaragua – and $3 billion worth of weapons.

RT also interviews Yury Drozdov, who organized a special KGB force called “Vympel,” which was deployed in communist-controlled countries such as Vietnam, Laos, Afghanistan, Angola, and Nicaragua. Drozdov reminisces:

The force was only used in emergencies, where other methods had failed to stabilize the situation. Nicaragua was one of these hot spots. America’s subversives were more active than ever before. We had to learn about our enemy as well as about our Nicaraguan friends. It was a short mission – but a serious challenge for our guys.

Asked about the success of the Vympel mission in Nicaragua, Drozdov offered only a cunning smile, but Nechiporenko was more forthcoming:

The USSR’s interference not only helped Nicaragua to escape a military conflict, but saved the whole region from instability. We waited – but the US didn’t attack Nicaragua! And that was mainly because of the Soviet Union’s support. The times when you could brandish your missiles were over. And America understood that pretty well.

In the late 1980s, Valery Nikolaenko was Soviet ambassador to Nicaragua. He informs RT that the Sandinista Revolution continues to guide politics during Ortega’s second presidency: “The victory of the revolution was a turning point for Nicaragua. But I think the most important achievement was a staggering increase in people’s self-consciousness. People started to believe they could create their own and their country’s future.” RT enthuses: “After a break following the collapse of the Soviet Union, relations between Russia and Nicaragua began afresh. The two countries with a common past are now looking forward to a common future.”

The fact that Ortega has rehabilitated the Soviet-built runway at Punta Huete, staffed the air base with a special military brigade, and discussed the subject of Russian involvement at Punta Huete with visiting Russian diplomats, suggests that Moscow may redeploy its military assets in Central America. Not surprisingly, this strategically critical development has not materialized on the “radar screen” of the US MSM.

Russia has not only revitalized relations with Nicaragua, but even more so with Communist Cuba. On October 21, José Ramón Machado Ventura, First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers, received Dimitrievich Alexander Zhukov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. During the meeting in Havana, Machado and Zhukov emphasized the “excellent state of bilateral relations and expression of the historical ties of friendship between both peoples and governments.” They also highlighted “the positive development of cooperation between the both countries and current potential to expand these links.”

This week, the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, repeated its call for the United Nations to urge the USA to end its 50-year economic blockade of Cuba. Not surprisingly, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation’s parliamentary faction prepared the resolution that was gladly adopted by United Russia, the country’s potemkin ruling party. Under President Barack Hussein Obama, the USA has lifted money transfer and travel restrictions on US citizens with relatives in Cuba, but insisted upon political and economic reforms as a condition for lifting the embargo. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez has described the embargo as an “act of genocide.”

Of course, Latin America is not the only place the Soviet strategists wish to revitalize their Cold War-era influence, as Medvedev’s visits to Algeria and Cyprus in early October attest. North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean are viewed as prime dumping grounds for Russian “good will” in the form of armament and business investments. Incidentally, after 50 years, Algeria is still under the control of the socialist National Liberation Front, while Cyprus boasts the European Union’s only communist president, a slavish ally of Moscow who has also received CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov.

>Latin America File: Costa Rica deploys police to border in response to alleged incursion by Nicaraguan army, Sandinistas denounce "provocation"

>– Mexico’s Failed Narco-State: Narcistas Gun Down 14, Mostly Teenage, Partygoers in Ciudad Juarez

– Cartel Gunmen Retaliate against Massive Police Pot Bust in Tijuana: Storm TJ Drug Rehab Center, Line Up and Execute 13 Recovering Addicts

Last Friday, President Laura Chinchilla sent at least 70 police officers armed with M-16 assault rifles and M-60 machine guns to the San Juan River, which forms the northeast border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The deployment was in response to reports that Nicaraguan soldiers were entering Costa Rican territory without authorization and that dredging carried out by President Daniel Ortega’s government was damaging properties on the Costa Rican side of the river. Interestingly, the dredge, which was built in El Viejo, a town in northwest Nicaragua, was designed by a Russian engineer.

Pictured above: Heavily armed officers of the Costa Rican National Police arrive at Barra del Colorado, near the Nicaraguan border. Costa Rica’s National Police do not have military training since San Jose has not maintained a standing army since 1948.

Costa Rica lodged a formal protest with the Nicaraguan ambassador in San Jose, prompting Managua to suspend the dredging. Chinchilla represents Costa Rica’s center-left National Liberation Party, while Ortega’s Sandinista National Liberation Front is still, nearly 20 years after the Cold War, closely allied with Moscow.

Edén Pastora, the Sandinista revolutionary hero who later defected to the Contras, is in charge of the project to dredge the border river. On Friday morning, “Comandante Zero,” which is Pastora’s old nom de guerre, was overheard on a public radio channel frantically ordering that a pipe that was dumping sediment be redirected from the Costa Rican side of the San Juan River to the Nicaraguan side. “He was yelling and telling them ‘Move it! Move it now!’” said a Mexican sport fisherman visiting the Río Colorado Lodge in Barra del Colorado. The call was confirmed by other fishermen in the area.

Among the Costa Ricans affected by Nicaragua’s dredging of the San Juan is Marco Reyes. The landowner told Costa Rica’s Tico Times that on Thursday members of the Nicaraguan military arrived on his property and announced that the land belonged to Nicaragua. After Reyes demanded that the foreign soldiers leave his property, he discovered that two of his farmhands had disappeared and two of his cows had been killed. During a flyover of the property by a Tico Times journalist, it was evident that the dredge, then located only a few hundred meters west of Reyes’ land on the Nicaraguan riverbank, had cut through a corner of his property, knocking down dozens of trees.

By Sunday, tensions near the border appeared to ease. Costa Rican Coast Guard boats patrolled the mouth of the San Juan, while some of the National Police in Barra del Colorado boarded a transport plane to return to San José. “At this time the situation is at a standstill,” National Police Director Juan José Andrade told The Tico Times. “Police will remain [in Barra del Colorado] for approximately 15 to 20 more days and will be monitoring activity along the river daily. The dredge is currently stopped and will remain so until the two governments come to a decision regarding the dredging.”

According to the October 23 edition of Inside Costa Rica, “After discovering the alleged anomalies at the border, the Ministry of Security and the Intelligence and National Security Directorate (DIS) mobilized armed personnel (police) to the area, which is guarded by a battalion of 300 Nicaraguan soldiers.” However, the next day, the same news source reported that there were only 2 Nicaraguan soldiers in the vicinity: “Costa Rican officials report that they found no Nicaraguan police or soldiers on the Costa Rica side of the border and that only 2 Nicaraguan soldiers and on Nicaraguan territory, were stationed at the dredging operations of the San Juan river.”

The neo-Sandinista regime’s response to the deployment of the Costa Rican National Police was swift. On Friday, Rene Nunez, president of the Nicaraguan National Assembly, called the border deployment a “provocation.” “I do not understand the reason for this action of sending armed policemen, as Costa Rica knows that Nicaragua has the full sovereignty over San Juan River, so it has all the right to clean it,” FSLN cadre Nunez complained.

International law does in fact recognize Nicaragua’s ownership over the San Juan River, but Costa Rica has navigation rights. Since Ortega announced plans to dredge the river in July, concerns have mounted in Costa Rica about the potential environmental impact of the procedure. Many Costa Ricans also fear the environmental effects of Nicaragua’s planned construction of a US$600 million hydroelectric plant along the same river, near the town of El Castillo. As a result of Ortega’s December 2008 trip to Moscow, Russian firms have pledged to help Nicaragua build this facility.

In July 2009, in the wake of Manuel Zelaya’s ouster, Honduras’ interim president, Roberto Micheletti, accused Nicaragua of deploying troops to its northern border and Venezuela of planning to invade his country. Ortega denied the charge, although for several months Zelaya used Managua as a base of operations to eventually sneak back into his homeland. Within 24 hours of Zelaya’s removal from office, however, President Hugo Chavez did in fact threaten to launch a military strike against Honduras if Venezuelan diplomats were harmed.

This past July, Ortega threatened to go to war with Colombia if Bogota authorizes oil concessions in disputed waters arounds the islands of San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina. International law recognizes Colombia’s control over the islands themselves.

In the 1980s, Costa Rica’s sovereignty, as well as that of Honduras, was potentially threatened by the overtly Marxist Sandinista Popular Army (EPS), which boasted 97,000 troops, then the largest military in Central America. The EPS was “de-communized” and renamed the Nicaraguan National Army in 1995 and now boasts only 14,000 regular forces. Since returning to the presidency nearly four years ago, Ortega has received pledges from Russia to modernize Nicaragua’s Soviet-vintage military. However, Nicaragua is dirt-poor and relies on handouts from Chavez via front companies associated with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.

Meanwhile, the bloodshed in Mexico’s drug war continued over the weekend when cartel gunmen shot dead 14 partygoers, mostly teenagers, in Ciudad Juarez, which is across the border from El Paso, Texas. “The victims were in the backyard of the house having a party when hooded men, in dark uniforms and with rifles, arrived in several vans, broke in and began shooting indiscriminately at those inside,” a police official told the AFP news agency.

The Sinaloa cartel and Juarez cartel, also known as the Carillo Fuentes Organization, are competing in Ciudad Juarez over multi-billion-dollar drug smuggling routes into the US, making the city one of the bloodiest front lines in Mexico’s drug war, despite the presence of thousands of police and soldiers.

On Saturday, narcistas gunned down 13 recovering addicts at the Camino drug treatment centre in Tijuana. “They lined the victims up and shot them with high-powered weapons,” Mexico City’s El Universal newspaper reported. BBC News explains the rationale behind such breathtakingly ruthless murders: “Drug rehabilitation centres have been attacked by gunmen before–observers say the gangs accuse the clinics of protecting rival dealers. Police also believe drug cartels use the clinics to recruit hitmen and smugglers, threatening to kill those who fail to cooperate.”

Last week, police in Tijuana destroyed 134 tons of cannabis, the largest drug haul ever seized in the country.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Warsaw puts accused GRU agent on trial, Polish media alleges Medvedev dismissed GRU chief as a result

>This past Friday, reports the Polish media, Tadeusz J., a Russian citizen, was put on trial in Warsaw on charges of espionage. He was arrested in February 2009, but details of his identity and activities were not made known to the public until January of this year.

“J.” is accused of working for Russian military intelligence (GRU) and is believed to have been operating in Poland since the 1990s using a legitimate business as a cover. He had been under surveillance by Poland’s Internal Security Agency (ABW) for a number of months before his arrest. The ABW found an encoding device and special recording equipment at his home. “J” is the first GRU agent to be apprehended in Poland in 20 years.

Dziennik Gazeta Prawna reports that “J” belonged to a hunting club whose members included a number of retired Polish generals who treated him as a close confidante. The daily speculates that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev probably used “J.’s” arrest as the reason for dismissing GRU chief General Valentina Korabelnikova in April 2009.

The trial is being held in the Polish Supreme Court, but most of the evidence remains classified. Before the trial “J.” asserted his innocence to members of the press. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

The fact that a GRU agent could infiltrate the ranks of Poland’s retired generals opens up the possibility that infiltration may have played a part in the suspicious downing of President Lech Kaczynski’s plane over western Russia on April 10. In addition to Kaczynski and his wife Maria, the following high-ranking military men and civilians perished aboard the president’s air force jet: Ryszard Kaczorowski, former last President of Poland in exile; joint chiefs of staff for the Polish army, air force, and navy; the national bank governor, a deputy foreign minister, chief of the National Security Bureau, three deputy parliament speakers, and many others.

There have been no official accusations from Warsaw that Moscow engineered the demise of Poland’s anti-communist, pro-USA president. Diplomacy has prevailed.

On October 1, Russian soldiers detained three Polish journalists who attempted to film the crash site, which is still under military control. An official at the Polish embassy in Moscow, Pawel Koc, described the incident as “serious.” Even though Russia handed over the plane’s “black box” recordings to Poland, festering tensions between the two countries have delayed the signing of a natural gas transit deal.

>Latin America File: FMLN regime closes ranks with former E. German commies, Russia as FM visits Moscow; Mexican Army battles narcistas along US border

>– Mexican Defense Department’s Response to Shootouts, Chaos in Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros: “No Immediate Information”

– US Tourist Gunned Down in Ciudad Juarez, El Paso Resident Jose Gil Hernandez a Texas National Guardsman

– Cartel Gunmen Murder Mayor of Praxedis Guerrero, Near Ciudad Juarez; 12th Such Assassination for 2010

– Narcistas Lob Grenade at Army Barracks in Matamoros, One Soldier Injured; Follows Failed Grenade Attack at Same Location Last Week

Pictured above: On October 20 a Mexican soldier guards packages of marijuana being incinerated after army and police seized 134 tons of US-bound pot in Tijuana.

Between October 18 and 19, Salvadoran Foreign Affairs Minister Hugo Martinez visited Berlin and, then, flew on to Moscow, where he will stay until October 23.

In Germany, Martinez made preparations for next year’s official visit by President Mauricio Funes, who represents the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). Martinez met German Foreign Minister Wido Westerwelle and Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Dirk Niebel, both of whom visited San Salvador last week. A statement released by the Salvadoran government quoted Martinez as saying: “Germany is the main buyer of Salvadoran products in Europe and a strategic partner in our coffee exports.” Intriguingly, El Salvador’s FM also planned to confer with members of two left-wing German think tanks, the Friedrich Ebert and Rosa Luxemburg foundations.

The Friedrich Ebert Foundation is named after Germany’s first democratically elected president and connected to the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation is named after a German communist who supported the Spartacist uprising in January 1919 but was later executed by the new republican government. It is associated with the German Left Party, which traces its origin to the Socialist Unity Party, the Marxist-Leninist party that ruled Soviet-occupied East Germany. The Left Party operates in a political “grey zone” since the federal government in Berlin views some factions of the party as subversive to Germany’s constitutional prohibition against “extremism.”

In November 2009, the German Left Party, FMLN, and communists from around the world sent delegates to Caracas, where they rallied behind Hugo Chavez’s call for a “Fifth Socialist International,” an entity that is unquestionably more left wing in its aims than even the more well-known (Third) Socialist International. It may be that the “Fifth Socialist International” was the subject of Martinez’s conference with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

On October 21, Martinez arrived in Moscow, where he will start the first official visit by a Salvadoran foreign minister since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992. In Russia, Martinez and his counterpart will sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the areas of disaster management and increased trade. Although the news story linked above does not say expressly so, it would appear that Funes will also visit Russia after stopping over in Germany. Previously, the US-backed governments that ruled El Salvador during the 1980s shunned Russia, rightly perceiving the Soviet Union as one of the main sources of weapons and ideological inspiration for the FMLN, then a guerrilla army.

Russia holds observer status in the Organization of American States, which it uses for promoting its interests in the region, including the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission. In 1997, Russia gained observer status in the Association of the Caribbean States and, in 2004, Russia and the Central American Integration System signed a memorandum of understanding that laid down a legal foundation for political interaction. In November 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, while visiting Caracas, articulated Moscow’s interest in joining the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, a bloc of socialist states committed to exporting anti-capitalist principles and anti-USA sentiments throughout the Western Hemisphere.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed reports that the Kremlin demanded that El Salvador recognize Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent republics. “We didn’t ask our Salvadorian colleagues to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” huffed Lavrov to journalists after talks with Martinez. He added: “We just discussed the situation around these republics, including the United Nations’ repeated efforts to politicize the humanitarian problems that appeared after Georgia attacked South Ossetia and the [Russian] peacemakers [peacekeeping soldiers].”

Russia recognized the separatist regions after fighting a five-day war with Georgia in August 2008. Thus far, the communist regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua, as well as the South Pacific nation of Nauru, have followed Russia’s lead, resulting in significant financial and commercial perks for Moscow’s allies. This past June, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov visited El Salvador and held consultations with Martinez.

Meanwhile, last Saturday, in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, Rito Grado Serrano, mayor of the town of Praxedis Guerrero, and his son were gunned down by assailants at their home. Grado is the 12th Mexican mayor to be killed so far this year. Praxedis Guerrero is near war-torn Ciudad Juarez where, over the last two months alone, 7,000 soldiers have failed to prevent the murder of more than 500 people. In spite of some high-profile drug lord arrests in 2010, it is estimated that more than 28,000 people have died in drug-related violence throughout Mexico since 2006.

Several days later, on Wednesday, Mexican soldiers battled cartel gunmen in Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa, which are across the border from Laredo and McAllen, Texas, respectively. The US consulate in Nuevo Laredo warned US citizens to stay indoors, reporting that drug gangs had blocked at least one intersection near the consulate. The city government and witnesses reported several more blockades, a new tactic that has emerged this year in northeast Mexico, where the Gulf and Los Zetas cartels are battling to control the drug trade.

Shootouts also erupted in Reynosa, which is allegedly under the near-total control of criminal mafias, causing a massive traffic jam in the highway connecting the city with Monterrey and Matamoros, which is across the border from Brownsville, Texas. In yet another sign of the Mexican government’s barely effective response to the narco-insurgency, officials at the press office of the Defense Department indicated they had “no immediate information” on the shootouts.

In Matamoros itself, narcistas hurled a grenade at a military barracks. Five civilian passers-by and one soldier were lightly injured. The grenade exploded less than one week after another attack on the barracks, in which at least two grenades failed to detonate.

In war-wracked Ciudad Juarez, which is across the border from El Paso, a US tourist was reportedly one of two men killed, apparently caught in the cross-fire between rival drug gangs. Spokesman Arturo Sandoval of the Chihuahua state attorney general’s office says family members identified the Texas National Guard soldier as 21-year-old Jose Gil Hernandez.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s El Paso spokesman, Michael Martinez, told The El Paso Times that Hernandez was shot about 1 p.m. Wednesday in Ciudad Juarez’s Colonia Revolucion Mexicanaz. Martinez told the newspaper that the FBI and the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Division were looking into the details of the shooting. More than 50 US citizens have been killed in the past two years in Ciudad Juarez.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Baltic states host NATO’s Sabre Strike 2010 drill, US troops; Russian combat planes probe Latvian airspace, repelled

>Today units from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and the USA started joint military exercises at the Adazi Training Area in Latvia. Over 1,700 servicemen from the five NATO countries will take part in the Sabre Strike 2010 until October 31, in preparation for a possible future deployment in Afghanistan.

In a likely provocation, Russian Su-24 tactical attack aircraft flew through international airspace near the Latvian ports of Liepaja and Vetspils. The NATO designation for the Su-24, which also saw service in the Soviet Air Force, is “Fencer.”

The Fencers flew over the Baltic Sea without identifying themselves, according to Latvia’s defence ministry. “They were flying in the direction of Kaliningrad,” ministry spokesman Airis Rikveilis told Reuters, referring to the militarily sensitive Russian exclave. “It is not a friendly gesture. But our security was not threatened.”

The next day, Dutch fighter jets from the Leeuwarden air base intercepted two Tu-95 strategic bombers over the North Sea. The Russian aircraft retreated without incident.

Lativa, Lithuania, and Estonia are former Soviet republics that have joined NATO. The president of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers, was a board member of the Popular Front of Latvia 20 years ago. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) used the popular front to promote controlled “democratization” in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. The prime minister of Lithuania, Andrius Kubilius, was a member of the Reform Movement of Lithuania, which served a similar function in that Soviet republic. The prime minister of Estonia, Andrus Ansip, is an “ex”-cadre of the CPSU.

Although NATO was designed to oppose the Soviet Bloc’s combined forces, since the so-called collpase of communism NATO’s leadership has been double-minded on the seriousness of the “Russian threat.” A perfect example is the arrival on Tuesday of an Italian military delegation in Moscow for the purpose of finalizing plans for building LMV M65 tactical vehicles in Russia. Kremlin-run Rostekhnologii is reportedly holding talks with Italian manufacturer Iveco on launching the joint venture with a planned minimum capacity of 500 vehicles per year.

>Middle East/Latin America Files: Ahmadinejad’s provocative trip to Lebanon, rallies Hezbollah; Chavez’s Axis of Evil tour; Ortega cozies up to Syria

>On Thursday, Iranian dictator Mahmoud (“Iwannajihad”) Ahmadinejad made a provocative trip to Lebanon, visiting the Hezbollah strongholds of Bint Jbail and Qana in the southern part of the country, a short distance from the Israeli border. Both towns were devastated by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) during the 2006 war.

In Bint Jbail, Ahmadinejad warned the world that the Islamic Messiah, the Mahdi, was imminent and urged the “oppressed masses” of the Middle East to “wipe out” the Zionists. He praised Hezbollah, which has been not-so-discreetly armed by Iran, as a “model for Lebanon and the rest of the world.”

Nearby, a group of young men on horseback chanted slogans of loyalty to Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader. “It’s a historic day,” triumphed Hussein Awada, one of the riders, who fought for Hezbollah in the 2006 war. “We have Ahmadinejad on the border of Palestine. Yes, this is Palestine, not Israel, and God willing, Israel will soon vanish with the blessing of this man.”

Pictured above: Hezbollah supporters welcome Iran’s president to Lebanese border town Bint Jbail, on October 14.

The Lebanese government, which contains Hezbollah members, feted the Iranian president, making sure the streets of Beirut were festooned with signs and billboards bearing Ahmadinejad’s mugshot. Iranian flags lined roads throughout southern Lebanon, where Ahmadinejad flew by helicopter, after meeting Prime Minister Saad Hariri and President Michel Suleiman.

Israel’s center-right prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, promptly rebuffed Ahmadinejad’s provocation during remarks at the Independence Hall in Tel Aviv, the site of the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. “The best answer was given here 62 years ago,” Netanyahu declared, adding: “All those people who think that Zionism will disappear—not only is it not disappearing, but it is growing stronger.”

Netanyahu vowed that Israel would continue to defend itself in collaboration with its allies. To substantiate his claim, he mentioned that this week the IAF will conduct joint maneuvers with the Hellenic Air Force in Greek airspace.

Amos Gilad, a senior Israeli Defense Ministry official, described the area south of Beirut as “Hezbollah-stan,” while Uzi Landau, Minister of National Infrastructure, told Israel Radio, “The lesson we should learn from Ahmadinejad’s visit is that Iran is on the northern border of Israel.”

Meanwhile, this past Thursday, Venezuela’s communist dictator, Hugo Chavez, arrived in Moscow for his annual debriefing session with KGB handler, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, as well as the titular president of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev. The Russian president elaborated on the meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart:

We are moving on to new agreements on a wide range of projects. We have a strategic partnership, we are close friends. A series of bilateral agreements will be signed later today. We hope that infrastructure projects will be developed. We talked about high technology and today for the first time ever we touched upon cooperation in the space sphere.

Referring to Georgia’s breakaway regions, Medvedev added: “Venezuela has acted like a real friend in recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.”

Among other bilateral agreements, Russia plans to build a nuclear power station and public housing in Venezuela, buy three of British Petroleum’s assets in Venezuela, and sell five S-300PMU-1 air defence systems to the South American country. The latter were originally ordered by Iran five years ago, but Moscow has decided to respect the United Nations interdict placed on the sale of such defensive weapons to Tehran. Instead, Russia intends to compensate Iran for reneging on their contract.

No doubt, Chavez will be more than happy to slap down US$800 million for some S-300 batteries. Moscow can then transfer the proceeds of the sale to Ahmadinjad’s Islamo-Nazi regime. “The S-300 is a very good product and Venezuela should pay the full amount in cash, as the country’s budget has enough funds to cover the deal,” commented Igor Korotchenko, head of a Moscow-based think tank.

Russia has already extended several loans to Venezuela to buy Russian-made weaponry, including a US$2.2-million loan on the purchase of at least 35 T-72M1M tanks and Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems, which will be positioned along the border of nemesis Colombia.

Chavez’s annual “Axis of Evil” tour will also include visits to Portugal, the former Soviet republics of Belarus and Ukraine, the terrorist-sponsoring states of Syria, Iran, and Libya, and the People’s Republic of China. He last visited Syria in 2006 and 2009, holding talks with President Bashar al-Assad. For their part, Cuba and Venezuela vie for Russia’s favors. Putin showed up in Caracas this past April, while Medvedev materialized in November 2008.

Meanwhile, neo-Sandinista Nicaragua is also cozying up to the fascist-communist-terrorist regime in Damascus. This past Wednesday, Assad received a letter from Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega, in which “El Comandante” advocated the promotion of deeper relations between the two countries. Nicaragua’s Foreign Affairs Minister Samuel Santos Lopez presented Ortega’s letter in person during a meeting with the Syrian president. The letter included an invitation to Assad to visit Managua. This past summer, Assad visited Cuba and Venezuela, but bypassed Nicaragua.

For his part, Assad expressed “Syria’s great appreciation of Nicaragua’s stance towards the Arab issues,” and noted both the “positive transitions taking place in Central and Latin Americas,” meaning the installation of leftist regimes, and the “importance of developing the Arab-Latin America relations,” for the purpose of confronting “the attempts of big powers to control the resources of these countries,” meaning “US imperialism.” Together Assad and Santos condemned the “serious policies Israel adopts to undermine all hopes of achieving peace.”

Ortega recently hosted North Korea’s emissary in a move to restore Cold War-era relations with Pyongyang.

In a related story, Inside Costa Rica reports that the Sandinistas’ underhanded constitutional manipulations and street-level intimidation tactics have effectively scattered the opposition. A survey conducted in late September and published last Sunday by the independent, Managua-based polling firm M&R Consultores, shows that the Sandinistas are the “main political force” in Nicaragua.

In the survey, 36.8 percent of those interviewed admitted they sympathized with the Sandinista National Liberation Front, 49.8 percent indicated no party preference, and 13.4 percent explained they supported one of the opposition parties. As a result, Ortega, whose eligibility for re-election is contested, would win easily in the first round with 43.3 percent of the vote, if he competes against fair-weather ally and former president Arnoldo Aleman, and businessman Fabio Gadea.

>Useful Idiots Bin: Schwarzenegger leads Silicon Valley reps to Russia, Medvedev (jokingly?) offers vacant post of Moscow mayor to “Governator"

>This week, the “Governator”—California Governor Arnold (“I’ll Be Back”) Schwarzenegger—led a gaggle of Silicon Valley reps to Russia, where they were feted by President Dmitry Medvedev.

In Schwarzenegger’s entourage of 21st-century “Nepmen” were reps from Oracle; Google, which in 2006 collaborated with Red China in censoring its own search engine; and Microsoft, which voluntarily turned over the source code for its Windows 7 operating system to the Russian Federal Security Service. (BTW, this isn’t the first time that Bill Gates has snuggled up to the KGB’s successor. In 2003, he handed over the source code for Windows XP.)

Earlier this year, the Kremlin inaugurated a new technology center on the outskirts of Moscow, called Skolkovo but nicknamed “Russia’s Silicon Valley.” The Russian government has also allocated US$10 billion to innovation investment fund Rusnaro, which is financing 100 high-tech products in partnership with foreign firms.

“Arnie,” like many other pseudo-conservatives oblivious to the Soviet deception strategy, enthuses about Russia’s high-tech potential:

I have to say that I love places where there is an extraordinary potential. I think when I look at Russia, I think the potential for growth. I mean really blowing this thing up. The economy is just so extraordinary. I mean there are so many opportunities here in Russia, that you just look at this and say, “Oh my God.”

We [meaning the USA] are very happy to help in this process because, as I said, we are the best in the world when it comes to this. I mean when it comes to biotech, to nanotech, high tech, green tech. You know there is no one like us, but we are not like holding on to our knowledge. What we want to do, we want to spread it around the world.

In travelling to Russia, Schwarzenegger was reciprocating Medvedev’s visit to California earlier this year.

Political analyst Masha Lipman, who works at the Carnegie Center, was not so enthusiastic about prospects of joint US-Russian ventures in high tech:

Risks are indeed high. Russia is not a law-governed place. Russia is a place where decisions are taken in a non-transparent fashion. Russia is a place where businesses may fall out with the government and the government may take measures. Russia is a country in which government decisions are not contested. This of course creates a climate this is not auspicious, that is unpredictable.

The president of the US Chamber of Commerce in Moscow, Andrew Sommers, agrees: “Russia is trying to develop its own industries so it is not totally dependent on foreign investment, but at the same time exploit foreign investment and high-tech.”

Schwarzenegger arrived in Russia at an interesting time because on September 28 Medvedev sacked Moscow’s powerful, long-time mayor, Yuri Luzhkov. With tongue in cheek (we suppose), Medvedev offered the Governator the job of running Russia’s capital, which is also one of the world’s largest cities: “We have many different events here. You arrived at the moment when Moscow has no mayor. If you were a Russian citizen, you could work for us.”

Born in Austria, former body builder and Hollywood action movie star “Arnie” is a naturalized US citizen, although this did not prevent him from legally running for entering California politics. In 1988 Schwarzenegger starred with James Belushi in the buddy cop film Red Heat. He played Soviet counter-narcotics officer Ivan Danko. Red Heat was one of the first movies filmed in perestroika-era Russia, although most of the scenes were shot in (then communist) Hungary.

In the 1920s Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin did an about-face in his drive toward communism by implementing the New Economic Policy, a pseudo-capitalist venture that lured Western investors into civil war-ravaged Russia. At the end of the NEP, with the Russian economy propped up, socialism and bloody purges returned with a vengeance. In 1959, when the Communist Party of the Soviet Union formulated its long-range strategy for global domination—according to KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn–Lenin’s brief foray into capitalism became a template. In 1985, the Soviet leadership appointed Mikhail Gorbachev as the frontman to finally carry out this scheme.

With Gorbachev still making cameo appearances on the world stage, Medvedev and KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin are luring more heedless Western Nepmen to their destruction.

>USSR2 File: Medvedev sacks long-time Moscow mayor, Luzhkov’s wife world’s 3rd richest woman; police bust Left Front rally, AKM head anointed by Shenin

>On September 28, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fired Moscow’s powerful mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, who has been in office since 1992. Like Medvedev, a graduate of the Soviet Komsomol, Luzhkov is connected to the old Soviet regime. A “former” cadre of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), Luzhkov joined up with United Russia, the new potemkin “party of power” created by the Soviet strategists. Internationally, Comrade Luzhkov is renowned for his dislike of homosexuals and banning of “gay pride” parades in Moscow.

Pictured above: Friend or foes? Yuri Luzhkov with Vladimir Putin at a war memorial ceremony in May this year.

“Recently, being one of the party’s leaders, I have been fiercely attacked by state mass media, and the attacks were related to the attempts to push Moscow’s mayor off the political scene,” complained Luzhkov, who also resigned his membership in United Russia. He added in his resignation letter: “The party did not provide any support, did not want to sort things out and stop the flow of lies and slander.”

During Russia’s forest fire crisis this past summer, when Muscovites were choking on smoke, Luzhkov was attacked for remaining on holiday. Luzhkov’s billionaire wife, Yelena Baturina, has also been accused of corruption. According to Luzhkov’s latest financial disclosure, filed in May, Baturina earned more than US$1 billion in 2009, primarily by way of her property development company ZAO Inteco. Forbes magazine ranks Baturina as the world’s third-richest woman, with a fortune of $2.9 billion.

Boris Nemtsov, former deputy prime minister and opposition politician, published a report last year in which he asserted that Inteco received preferential treatment in acquiring land from Moscow city hall, as well as securing building permits and exemptions from paying for connection to municipal utilities. Inteco and Baturina sued Nemtsov for defamation. On July 19, 2010, a Moscow appeals court ordered Nemtsov to retract these and other comments. However, neither side was pleased with the ruling. Both Baturina and Nemtsov launched another round of appeals.

Although Luzhkov was aligned with United Russia, he maintained his own power base outside the Kremlin, which may have been his cardinal sin. BBC’s Moscow correspondent Richard Galpin believes this battle was sparked by a newspaper article written by Luzhkov in which he appeared to criticize Medvedev and call for “a return to stronger national leadership.” Before the emergence of Vladimir Putin, in his first stint as prime minister in 1999, Luzhkov was tipped as a possible future Russian Federation president.

It appears that companies related to Putin’s St. Petersburg FSB/KGB power clan, which runs the day-to-day affairs of the Kremlin, will benefit from the putsch against Luzhkov and Baturina. One such company is the LSR Group, which is directed by Andrey Molchanov, son of St. Petersburg Vice-Governor Yuri Molchanov, a former classmate of Putin’s at Leningrad State University. Incidentally, it was at Leningrad State that former KGB man Putin joined the CPSU in 1975.

The day after Luzhkov’s ouster, Vladimir Dmitriev, chairman of the VEB development bank denied that his state-owned entity is in a position to proceed with a US$2.5 billion project to build housing with Inteco. “You have to look at which companies are close to the federal government; they will get the privileges,” remarked Sergei Zharkov, an analyst from Moscow-based property research group, IRN.

Speaking with an assertiveness that does not correspond with his image as Putin’s “lap dog,” Medvedev bragged while visiting Red China two weeks ago: “As the president of Russia I lost my trust in Yuri Mikhailovich Luzhkov as the mayor of Moscow. I will decide who will lead Moscow.” Putin reined in his “pet,” by demurring: “I hope I will have a chance to express my opinion. Luzhkov is a symbolic figure in modern Russia.” Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev endorsed Medvedev’s decree, exposing the continuity between Russia’s communist and “post”-communist leaders.

In truth, we rather suspect that the leadership of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation—that is, Chairman Gennady Zyuganov—had the final say in this shuffling of chairs on the deck of the neo-Soviet ship of state. In their ongoing drive toward recentralization of power, the last thing the Soviet strategists need is a loose cannon like Luzhkov.

Multi-party politics in “post”-Soviet Russia, as we have documented at this blog for nearly five years, is a deceptive, controlled affair related to the Soviet leadership’s strategy of creating a “mature socialist society,” as well as ideologically and militarily disarming the West. There is hardly a Russian politician, young or old, that is not in some way linked to the pillars of the old Soviet regime, such as the CPSU, the Komsomol, the Soviet Committee for State Security (KGB), or Soviet military intelligence (GRU).

In the late 1980s, Russian politics was a drama between “reform” and “hardline” communists. Then, on Christmas Day 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev announced that the CCCP was no more. However, unlike the depraved leadership of Nazi Germany, which was tried in many cases executed, the anti-Gorbachev putschists endured very short prison sentences and, ruse accomplished, enjoyed comfortable retirement packages. Meanwhile, the Communist Party was unbanned (as if it had every really been banned to begin with).

Thereafter, Russian politics became a contest between, in the one camp, unrepentant open communists and, in the other, “ex”-communists constituting Russia’s new nationalist and liberal “right wing.” Nevertheless, regular closed-door meetings between open communists, like Zyuganov, and “fallen by the wayside” communists, like Putin, had the “feel” of cordial debriefing sessions. Incidentally, when Gennady Yanayev, who was president of the three-day putschist government in August 1991, died on September 24, Zyuganov was quick to praise the man as the Soviet Union’s “savior.”

On Tuesday, the Russian “opposition” once again held another unauthorized “Day of Wrath” protest outside the office of Vladimir Resin, Moscow’s acting mayor, during which the police detained about 40 participants. Detainees included the organizers of the rally: Sergei Udaltsov, the young coordinator of the Left Front, United Labor Front, and Red Youth Vanguard (AKM), all of which are committed to resurrecting the Soviet Union; Nikolai Alexeyev, leader of Russia’s homosexual movement; and Lev Ponomarev, a prominent human rights activist.

The participants of the rally, which amounted to several dozen, demanded the return of the direct election of the mayor of Moscow. Alexeyev complained that the police actions were unduly harsh: “We were dragged on the pavement almost in a reclining position. The same way they dragged us into the bus.”

In February, Russia’s Marxist-Leninists founded the “anti-Putinist” United Labor Front, which included Udaltsov’s Left Front, which in turn was organized in 2008. According to Russian law, a new party must recruit 45,000 members and set up branches in more than one half of Russia’s regions in order to apply for registration. Udaltsov predicted the United Labor Front would attract 60,000 to 65,000 members and open branches in 70 regions. The young communist is also leader of the street-fighting Red Youth Vanguard (AKM), whose logo is the AK-14 assault rifle.

On July 31 Left Front/Red Youth Vanguard cadres were arrested in Moscow and St. Petersburg for “anti-Putinist” agitation, which included lofting posters that read “Putin is the butcher of freedom.” Udaltsov is not averse to combining his communist agitators with the liberal forces of Nemtsov’s Other Russia coalition. During the August “Day of Wrath” protest in Moscow both men were arrested for protesting the Kremlin’s restrictions on freedom of assembly.

In 2005, Oleg Shenin—Stalinist mastermind behind the 1991 anti-Gorbachevist “coup” and past leader of the Union of Communist Parties-CPSU, which includes the CPRF and other communist parties in the “post”-Soviet space—anointed the AKM as the youthful torch-bearers for the reconstituted Soviet Union. Addressing the AKM’s Sixth Congress, he declared: “We are satisfied . . . about the fact that AKM works under the political leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and it prepares its members for entrance into the CPSU. The basis of our interrelations is complete ideological accord and the organizational independence of youth organization.”

Shenin died in May 2009, preceding his co-conspirator Yanayev by more than a year. He did not go to his grave, however, without first preparing for the resurrection of the USSR. Before the stage-managed collapse of the Soviet Union, he employed the services of Belgian-born US businessman Marc Rich–who was later pardoned for other crimes by President Bill Clinton–to secrete the CPSU’s vast financial holdings into Swiss bank accounts. There the Party’s slush fund awaits the arrival of Soviet Union Version 2.0.

>Latin America File: Ecuador extends state of emergency, opposition accuses Correa of staging hostage taking; FMLN regime warns ARENA against coup

>– Cuba Praises FMLN’s Commitment to Communist Revolution on 30th Anniversary of Founding; Party of Socialism and Liberation Holds Pro-FMLN Bash in San Francisco

– Ortega Hosts Former Presidents of Panama and Honduras, Backs Zelaya’s Restoration 15 Months after Ouster

– Narcistas Ambush Police Convoy, Gun Down Eight Officers in Mexico’s Western State of Sinaloa

– Russian-Venezuelan Oil Consortium to Invest US$20 Billion in Orinoco River’s Juin-6 Block, Production to Begin in 2013

Pictured above: Bolivia’s self-avowed Marxist-Leninist president, Evo Morales, visits Ecuadorean counterpart, Rafael Correa, in Quito, on October 12.

Since the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in June 2009, the spectre of counter-revolutionary coups haunts the feverish imaginations of communist and socialist regimes throughout Latin America. From their point of view, the police revolt against Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on September 30 has “confirmed” the existence of wide-ranging “CIA-backed right-wing conspiracies” to overthrow the region’s “progressive” governments.

This past Saturday Ecuador extended indefinitely a state of emergency first implemented when mutinous police assaulted Correa and held him hostage for 12 hours in a police hospital. The Ecuadorean president enjoys the special favour of Venezuela’s communist dictator, Hugo Chavez. The extension of the state of emergency empowers the military, rather than the police, to maintain law and order. It would appear that de facto martial law is now in place in Quito.

After loyal elements in the army rescued him, Correa accused the country’s main opposition leader, former president Lucio Gutierrez, of fomenting the police rebellion. Gutierrez heads up the nationalist 21st January Patriotic Society Party. In an October 11 interview with the Colombia-based Caracol TV, Ecuadorean congressman Gilmar Gutierrez, Lucio’s brother, charged: “Everything was staged by the president to hide the extreme corruption and to hide the poverty, hunger and unemployment that have arisen to an alarming level. There was no coup.”

Interior Minister Gustavo Jalkh asserted that two soldiers, a police officer, and a university student were killed in the standoff between dissident police and Correa and his supporters. Nearly 200 others were injured in unrest throughout the country, which included mutinous police setting up roadblocks and dissident soldiers temporarily closing down Quito’s international airport. More than 40 police officers were detained in connection with the revolt against the president.

“We will investigate all these things and try to take all precautions so there will not be a repeat,” ranted Correa, adding: “This insubordination was limited to a few hundred officers, from a force of 42,000 national police. We cannot blame the institution for a group of police officers who have denigrated their position.”

The restoration of Zelaya to the Honduran presidency also exercises Latin America’s Red Axis leaders. On September 17 the deposed leader appeared in Managua, one of his favourite haunts, with two sponsors, President Daniel Ortega and former Panamanian President Martin Torrijos, son of the former leftist military strongman, Omar Torrijos. There the wealthy rancher-turned-socialist vowed:

International efforts for my peaceful return to Honduras will continue. My return will be without any preconditions and, after my return, I will lead a movement in favor of restoring democratic order. I will also travel to Guatemala to campaign for a seat in the Central American Parliament.

“Zelaya was ousted on June 28 last year,” admits China’s state-run media, “in a coup as he pushed for a constitutional change which would allow him to run for another term.” In seeking to abolish presidential term limits, Zelaya was merely following his Red Axis benefactors, Chavez, Ortega, Correa, and Bolivian president Evo Morales. In 2008 he led his country into the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), but late last year Roberto Micheletti’s interim government announced that the country was leaving ALBA.

Since January 2010, when democratically elected Porfirio Lobo assumed the Honduran presidency, Zelaya has been living in Dominican Republic. During last month’s press conference, Ortega threw his support behind the domestic political vehicle that is agitating for Zelaya’s return, the National Popular Resistance Front. The red hue of the front’s flag and the prominent socialist star plainly indicate Zelaya’s new-found ideological orientation (pictured above).

Pictured here: Salvadoran Vice President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, terrorist mastermind of the FMLN when it was still an insurgent army.

In El Salvador, reports the Cuban state media, the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) vows that it, too, “will confront and defeat any attempt to stage a coup d’etat in El Salvador.” Last Friday, FMLN general coordinator Medardo Gonzalez warned that “he did not rule out that dark forces would try to disrupt democratic legality in the country.” Here “dark forces” were explicitly connected to the formerly ruling rightist ARENA party. “Here in El Salvador, we are on the alert and will not allow any coup d’etat to take place,” rumbled Gonzalez, whose nom de guerre during the Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992) was Milton Mendez. Gonzalez continued:

The secretary general of the Organization of American States, [Chilean socialist] Jose Miguel Insulza, has been warned about the possibility of new coup attempts in the region. . . . Recently, forces from the Nationalist Republican Alliance [ARENA] invited former Honduran dictator Roberto Micheletti, who took power after the June 28, 2009 military coup, to visit El Salvador. We told him [Micheletti], “You are not welcome in our country. Go home immediately. We don’t accept coup leaders here.”

The FMLN leader made these comments at a ceremony to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the guerrilla army-turned-political party, and to honor “internationalists” (communists) who fought alongside the FMLN against a series of US-backed rightist governments. In attendance was Ricardo Alarcon, president of the Cuban National Assembly, who praised the FMLNistas’ commitment to communist revolution: “The FMLN has been a model of loyalty to its revolutionary principles and the Salvadoran popular and political forces.”

Last week, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, the benign face of the FMLN, carried out an historic trip to Cuba which, along with the Soviet Union and Nicaragua’s first Sandinista regime, armed El Salvador’s leftist insurgents. Funes is a former correspondent for CNN Espanol and did not fight in the civil war. However, he reiterated Gonzalez’s sentiments at a meeting of the Permanent Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Political Parties (COPPPAL) in San Salvador. Referring to the Honduran coup, Funes declared: “The OAS and its member states should intervene at the opportune moment to avoid the germination of a military coup or any other situation that could translate into ungovernability and destabilization.”

It was not clear whether Funes was advocating multilateral military intervention on the part of the Organization of American States, although Chavez and Ortega have over the last three years supported the formation of an “anti-imperialist” army to oppose the USA.

Incidentally, in the USA, the Party of Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and the coordinator of the FMLN’s Northern California section hosted a dinner dance in San Francisco, in honor of the FMLN’s 30th anniversary. FMLNista Salvador Cordon reflected:

For 11 years the FMLN waged guerrilla war and would have achieved victory if not for US military intervention [under President Ronald Reagan] on a gigantic scale in a country of just 6 million people. It was this intervention that prolonged the war, exhausting much of the population. At the same time, the Salvadoran military could not achieve victory; a stalemate developed. That factor and the fall of the socialist camp [Soviet Bloc] between 1989 and 1991, prevented the triumph of the Salvadoran Revolution.

However, the Salvadoran Revolution did finally triumph in 2009, when voters elected the country’s first leftist government. For its part, the PSL was organized in 2004 by defectors from the Stalinist Workers’ World Party. PSL cadres sit on the steering committee of the ANSWER Coalition, which is active in the US anti-war movement.

Meanwhile, on Monday in the western Mexican state of Sinaloa, suspected drug cartel gunmen ambushed a police convoy, killing eight officers. “The gunmen, travelling in three or four vehicles, began shooting with automatic weapons,” a Mexican official explained. Sinaloa is home to one of the country’s most powerful cartels, run by Mexico’s most wanted man, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman. The police were patrolling a road 50 miles form the state capital, Culiacan, when they were attacked. The cartels often recruit police officers, luring them with promises of a “cut” from the drug profits.

Finally, in yet another example of Russia’s revitalized, post-Cold War presence in the Caribbean Basin, Gazprom Neft, a tentacle of global energy monster Gazprom, has been appointed project leader for the 25-year Junin-6 project in the heavy oil basin of Venezuela’s Orinoco River. The Kremlin-run company made the announcement on Tuesday. This status was awarded to Gazprom Neft by the National Oil Consortium (NNK), established by Gazprom Neft, LUKoil, Rosneft, Surgutneftegas, and TNK-BP, which hold equal stakes in the project. NNK has dished out US$600 million as the first payment for the right to take part in the joint venture with CVP, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s PDVSA. CVP owns 60 percent in the venture, while NNK holds the rest.

“In its capacity as project leader, Gazprom Neft will coordinate the [Russian side of] operations in the Russian-Venezuelan joint venture PetroMiranda,” stated Gazprom Neft. PetroMiranda was established to exploit the Junin-6 block. The company will make the final investment decision on future development of the block, planned for 2013. The 447-850-square-kilometer Junin-6 block contains an estimated 52.6 billion barrels of oil. Within the block, 14 wells have already been drilled, Gazprom Neft explained.

The total investment by both Russia and Venezuela in the Juin-6 block is estimated at US$20 billion. Chavez expects the joint venture to produce 50,000 barrels of oil per day by 2014 and 450,000 barrels by 2017. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has acknowledged that Moscow is ready to pay Venezuela another US$1 billon to develop more fields. Putin’s energy minister, Sergei Shmatko, has admitted that the bonus could be paid for exploiting the Ayacucho-2, Ayacucho-3, and Junin-3 blocks.

Chavez will make his annual pilgrimage to Moscow on October 14. No doubt, the NNK-CVP venture will be high on the agenda as he meets with his KGB handler, Putin. For its part, Russia also plans to drill for oil in Cuban waters, almost cheek by jowl with US platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Strategically speaking, Russia’s drilling for oil under Uncle Sam’s nose is not a bad idea. Should Missile Day arrive, US military strikes against Russian oil platforms in the Caribbean will not only enrage Moscow’s communist allies in the Western Hemisphere, but also threaten to repeat the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Checkmate.

>Latin America File: Ex-guerrilla, Lula’s anointed successor, poised to lead Brazil; El Salvador’s 1st FMLN president makes historic trip to Cuba

>– Cuba’s Vice President Travels to Moscow to Promote Bilateral Relations with Russia; Follows Trip to Beijing in Late September

– Chavez to Visit Russia, Belarus, Iran, and People’s Republic of China; Announces Nationalization of More Land, Seizure of Agricultural Companies

– Chavez Scoffs at Spanish Accusations as His Regime Opens Investigation into Purported Presence of Basque Militants Training on Venezuelan Soil

– Sandinistas Complete Judicial Coup, Unlawfully Elect President of Nicaragua’s Supreme Court

– Russia and Mexico to Increase Cooperation in Telecommunications and Information Technology, Rosatom to Supply Mexico with Enriched Uranium

It’s good for us to say this name, repeat it, and present Brazilian Minister Dilma Rousseff as the new president of Brazil. Dilma, Dilma, Dilma. We will get to know her. She was a prisoner of the rightwing dictatorship and tortured. She was a member of the revolutionary leftwing in the sixties.
— Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; quoted by AFP news agency, November 13, 2009

In spite of a few victories for center-right parties in Latin America and the Caribbean over the last four years–primarily in Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, and Chile–as well as a slight electoral setback for the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela on September 25, communist, socialist, and social democratic parties prevail throughout the region. Most of these political parties coordinate their strategy for hemispheric domination through the little-known Sao Paulo Forum, founded in 1990 by the Communist Party of Cuba and Brazil’s Workers’ Party.

Latin American and Caribbean leftists also network with comrades around the globe through organizations such as the International Communist Seminar, which is hosted by the Workers’ Party of Belgium, and the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties.

On October 31, Brazil’s ruling party candidate, Dilma Rousseff (pictured above), and opposition member Jose Serra will face off in a runoff election for the presidency after the leading candidates failed to win a majority of the vote in balloting on October 3. According to calculations by the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE), Rousseff leads with 46.9% of the votes, ahead of Serra, who captured 32.61%. Surprisingly, Green Party candidate Marina Silva put in a strong showing, with 20.31 percent, according to the TSE’s partial tally with 72.11 percent of the ballots counted.

“I consider this stage a very special moment in my life,” Rousseff said in brief statements to reporters. Indeed. On voting day she was quoted as saying: “Our party members are brave, they are warlike and never give up. They are better in the face of obstacles than easy situations. I’m not scared of anything. Whatever happens, we’ll put up a good fight.” By contrast, Rousseff’s opponent, Sera, represents the Brazilian Social Democratic Party, which in spite of its name is actually center-right in orientation.

Rousseff is President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s anointed successor to lead the center-left Workers’ Party, which governs in coalition with the Communist Party of Brazil and several other leftist parties. Lula, who has “played nice” with the USA, is a former union organizer, but Rousseff’s credentials are guaranteed to “wow” communists worldwide: she is a former Marxist guerrilla. Dilma, in fact, is the daughter of a Bulgarian communist, Pétar Rusév, who fled his homeland in 1929. Between 1967 and 1969, Dilma was a cadre of the short-lived National Liberation Command, which merged with the Revolutionary Armed Vanguard to form the Revolutionary Armed Vanguard Palmares.

Ex-members of Brazilian military intelligence (OBAN) and fellow insurgents allege Rousseff was the “she-pope of subversion.” In January 1970, she was arrested by OBAN and allegedly tortured for 22 days by punching, ferule, and electric shock devices. In December 2006, the Special Commission for Reparation of the Human Rights Office for the State of Rio de Janeiro approved a request for indemnification by Rousseff and 18 others imprisoned by law enforcement agencies of the São Paulo state government in the 1970s.

Should Rousseff win the Brazilian presidency, she will not only lead the Western Hemisphere’s second most populous country, after the USA, but also control South America’s largest armed forces. Incidentally, in this “post”-Cold War era, Brazilian generals are not averse to purchasing Russian armament and jointly developing top-line fighter jets. “Former” Marxist guerrillas and assorted commie coup plotters can be found leading other countries in the hemisphere: including Raul Castro, Cuba’s president; Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua’s past/present president; Salvador Sanchez Ceren, El Salvador’s vice president; Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president; Álvaro García Linera, Bolivia’s vice president; and José Alberto Mujica Cordano, Uruguay’s president.

Meanwhile, this week Cuba’s vice president, Ricardo Cabrisas, dutifully presented himself in Moscow, where he conferred with deputy prime minister Igor Sechin, the GRU’s former pointman for funnelling weapons to Latin American guerrillas during the 1980s. On behalf of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, reports the Cuban state media, Sechin conveyed “warm greetings to Cuban President Raul Castro and to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.”

After exchanging comradely pleasantries, Cabrisas and Sechin got down to business and signed bilateral cooperation agreements in the economic, commercial, technical, scientific, cultural, educational, and tourist sectors. High on the agenda was the shipping of Russian-built consumables and equipment to Cuba for the electricity, energy, and automotive industries, including spare parts, as well as consumables and equipment to support agricultural and construction programs on the island. In addition, Cabrisas and Sechin discussed the modernization of Cuba’s railroad and sea transport capacities, as well as topics related to the development of Cuba’s civil aviation.

Although then President Putin made an official visit to Havana in 2000, Russian-Cuban relations have spiked since 2008, including top-level political and military exchanges.

Late last month, Cabrisas flew to Beijing, where he met with Red China’s Vice President Xi Jinping to promote bilateral relations between the two single-party communist states.

While his vice president rubbed elbows with the Communist Party of Cuba’s Moscow masters, President Raul Castro welcomed Salvadoran President Carlos Mauricio Funes to the Palace of the Revolution in Havana (pictured here). Shortly before the welcoming ceremony, the Salvadoran head of state placed a wreath by the monument to Cuba’s National Hero Jose Marti, located at Revolution Square.

The arrival in Cuba of Funes, El Salvador’s first leftist president and the moderate face of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, was an historic event since the two countries only re-established diplomatic relations in June 2009, after an interruption of 48 years. During the 1980s FMLN guerrillas, with covert weapons support from the Soviet Union, Cuba and the first Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, sought to overthrow a series of US-backed rightist governments in San Salvador.

Also participating in the meeting were Hugo Roger Martinez, El Salvador’s Foreign Affairs; Esteban Lazo, Vice President of the Cuban Council of State, and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. Accompanying Funes were Health Minister Maria Isabel Rodriguez, Tourism Minister and former Salvadoran president Jose Napoleon Duarte, Economy Minister Hector Dada, and the head of the cabinet, Alexander Segovia. For this visit Funes was accompanied by over 40 entrepreneurs from small and medium-sized companies. Funes’ business-like demeanor cannot hide the fact that the CPC and FMLN are ideological cousins and network through the Sao Paulo Forum, nor does it soften the fact that Funes’ vice president, former battlefield commander and “doctrinaire Leninist” Sanchez, already put in an appearance in Havana last year.

South America’s top commie thug is also making his annual “Axis of Evil” pilgrimage to Russia, Belarus, Iran, and the People’s Republic of China. On October 4 President Chavez announced: “In a few days, I will be travelling to Russia. We have important projects with Russia. A bilateral finance bank to which Russia and Venezuela agreed two years ago could be ready to launch on time for the visit.” He confided: “A few days ago, I received a letter from the Russian president in which he was insisting that we iron out the technical and financial details of the bank. It is very likely that when I get to Moscow it will be ready.” Red China and Venezuela also have a joint finance fund, capitalized to the tune of US$12 billion. Beijing has revealed that it outlay US$16 billion to develop a heavy crude well in Venezuela’s Orinoco delta area.

Even as Chavez expels US companies from Venezuela and invites Communist Bloc consortiums to do business in South America, he is also nationalizing still more, supposedly “idle” land in three states. “We’re accelerating the agrarian revolution and to do that, lands in the western regions of Lara, Apure and Zulia will be intervened right now in October,” Chavez trumpeted during his weekly rant-fest, Alo Presidente (pictured above). “In November it will be double…and in 2011, full speed ahead!” Chavez gushed, adding: “The plan of our socialist revolution is to mount a new offensive to boost the nation’s food production.” Land Minister Juan Carlos Loyo explained: “The total area of the operation in October will be 250,000 hectares (617,000 acres), to be intervened by the National Land Institute.”

Chavez also announced his regime’s expropriation of two companies, Venezuelan company Agroisleña, which distributes and sells agrochemical products and the so-called English Company, a British firm that owns nine cattle ranches in Venezuela with a total area of 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres). “All the lands of the so-called English Company are being nationalized now, I don’t want any more delays,” grumbled Chavez, who announced the expropriation of those lands in 2005.

Chavez declared “war on big landowners” in 2004 and, according to official information, in 2009 his regime expropriated a total of 500,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) of land that was either “unproductive” or whose ownership was not verifiable, in order “to guarantee its social use” in compliance with the National Agricultural Plan. In June, the National Assembly, which is controlled by Chavez’s PSUV, approved a reform of the Land Law that bans the leasing of agricultural land and, where leasing exists, authorizes the government to seize the land for the direct production and distribution of food products. Venezuela’s opposition denounces the expropriations as illegal, pointing out that due to Chavez’s socialist agriculture policies, Venezuelans must import 60 percent of their food.

In a related story exposing Chavez’s ties to international terrorism, Venezuela’s president is again scoffing at claims by the Spanish government that his regime is harboring Basque militants on Venezuelan soil. However, the Venezuelan government has decided to open an investigation regarding the activities of one of its employees, Arturo Cubillas, who was born in the Spanish Basque Country, after it was discovered that he apparently helped to trained suspected ETA members Xabier Atristain and Juan Carlos Besance in Venezuela. Cubillas was deported to Venezuela ten years before Chavez assumed power, but now has a position in Venezuela’s Agricultural Department, along with citizenship.

The FMLN’s comrades in Nicaragua, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, are busy re-consolidating their dictatorship, first established in 1979 after ousting the Somoza dynasty in a Soviet/Cuban-backed insurgency. This past Wednesday Sandinista judges and ex-judges “legalized” their de facto takeover of the country’s highest tribunal by electing fellow Sandinista judge Alba Luz Ramos as the new president of the Supreme Court (pictured above). The vote was “approved” by a cabal of eight Sandinista judges, including two ex-magistrates whose terms have expired, but boycotted by opposition judges, who insist the Supreme Court has been illegally constituted since last April. The Sandinista judges argue that since they hold the largest number of seats on the Supreme Court, they therefore have enough votes to elect a new directorate, even if the opposition continues to boycott the sessions. Ramos has been de facto president of the court since the spring.

“Nicaragua has lost all its institutional legitimacy and rule of law,” complained constitutional analyst Gabriel Alvarez. “This has become a de facto state where government decisions are made by force.” “A bad tree can’t produce good fruit and an illegal court can’t pass legal resolutions,” judicial analyst Sergio García told The Nica Times on October 6. García recently tore up his license to practice law in protest against President Daniel Ortega’s political pretensions and usurpations since re-assuming that post in 2007. “Nicaragua is in a complete de facto state [of lawlessness],” Garcia lamented, adding: “There is no rule of law or democracy here anymore and we are only one step away from a coup or civil war.”

Meanwhile, “post”-communist Russia is strengthening its political and economic ties with Mexico, a country whose revolution led to the world’s first socialist constitution in 1917, months before the Bolsheviks seized power in Moscow. On October 4, Igor Shchegolev, Russia’s Minister of Telecommunications and Mass Communications, attended the International Telecommunications Union conference in Guadalajara. There he and Mexican colleague Juan Molinar, Minister of Communications and Transport, signed an agreement to promote bilateral cooperation in the fields of telecommunications and information technology.

“Russia is one of major technological powers in the world and was always such a country in telecommunications. Russia is a pioneer of satellite technologies and has a vast potential that can very useful for Mexico,” Molinar enthused. Shchegolev replied: “We hope that cooperation will promote higher activities of Russian companies on the Mexican market, and companies from Mexico will receive the additional information about their opportunities in Russia.”

Molinar and Shchegolev also signed an agreement that would facilitate the sale of enriched uranium by the Russian Federal Atomic Agency (Rosatom) to Mexico. Back in Moscow, Rosatom’s head Sergei Kirienko revealed that a US firm called Nukem Inc. would act as middleman between OJSC Tekhsnabexport, the Russian company that exports nuclear materials, and the Mexican company that will take delivery of the uranium. There is only one active civilian nuclear power facility in Mexico, Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant in Alto Lucero, Veracruz, which produces about 4.5% of the country’s electrical energy. It is to this state-run facility, which came online in 1990, that Rosatom’s enriched uranium is presumably destined. The Mexican government considers Laguna Verde a “strategic facility” for Sistema Eléctrico Nacional.

Last February, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Mexico City to offer President Felipe Calderon’s government resources to combat the country’s powerful drug cartels, a move that was later blessed by Hillary Clinton’s State Department. Those resources included military assistance, but Calderon has yet to succumb to Moscow’s temptations, even the in the face of the latest atrocities committed by the drug cartels.

On October 2 narcistas lobbed a grenade into a plaza in the town of Guadalupe, injuring 15 people, including six children. Fortunately, none of the injuries was life threatening. This was the fourth such attack in two days in the area around the large, prosperous northeast city of Monterrey, which has been victimized by a vicious turf war between the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas, renegade Mexican Army commandos who once served as the Gulf cartel’s enforcement arm. Last Friday night, separate grenade attacks occurred near the federal courts, outside a prison, and near the US consulate in Monterrey. In Acapulco, meanwhile, police continued to search for 20 Mexican nationals who were kidnapped while traveling together in the Pacific Coast resort city.

The Democratization of Mexican Politics and the Rise of the PAN-PRD Alliance

Between 1930 and 2000, one party dominated Mexican politics: the monolithic Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Like other crypto-fascist-corporatist-nationalist-social democratic parties in Latin America, such as Peru’s ruling American Revolutionary Popular Alliance and Argentina’s ruling Justicialists, the PRI rejects Marxism’s class struggle concept in favour of class harmony under the banner of economic nationalism and a strong central government. At various times, a pronounced internal left-right schism was present in these three particular parties, prompting the hard-core Marxists to leave and form new organizations.

Beginning with President Plutarco Calles (1924-1928), the left wing of the PRI endeavoured to implement the neglected provisions of the 1917 constitution, including state control over natural resources and land reform. In response, some members of the US government started to refer to Mexico as “Soviet Mexico,” while the US ambassador to Mexico called Calles a “communist,” which he was not. In addition, Calles’ anti-clerical laws stripped the Catholic Church of its power, leading to the Cristero War between government troops and religious rebels, and resulting in the deaths of 90,000 people, including up to 4,000 Catholic priests.

Later, Lazaro Cardenas (1934-1940) promoted the socialist Confederation of Mexican Workers, implemented land reforms per the 1917 constitution, nationalized the country’s petroleum reserves, legalized the Communist Party, harboured Soviet exile Leon Trotsky, and offered safe haven for Republican exiles fleeing Falangist Spain.

Later still, between 1970 and 1976, President Luis Echeverria nationalized the mining and electrical industries, redistributed private land in the states of Sinaloa and Sonora to peasants, opposed US “expansionism,” supported Chile’s self-avowed Marxist president Salvador Allende, condemned Zionism, and allowing the Palestine Liberation Organization to open an office in Mexico City.

By the 1980s, however, President Miguel de la Madrid steered the PRI in a market-oriented direction, prompting the left wing of the party to split in 1990 and form the more clearly class-based Democratic Revolutionary Party, along with elements of the Mexican Communist Party. The election in 2000 of Vicente Fox and his center-right National Action Party, which has long enjoyed the backing of the Catholic Church, heralded a new dawn in Mexican politics. Fox’s presidency also coincided with the rise of Mexico’s drug cartels, which filled the power vacuum created by the eradication of Colombia’s Cali and Medellin cartels in the mid-1990s.

In state elections this past July the PAN and PRD entered a rare left-right alliance in six states to prevent the now centrist, once hopelessly corrupt PRI from staging a comeback that could potentially lead to the presidential palace in Mexico City in July 2012. The anti-PRI alliance was only somewhat successful, since the former party of power bagged nine out of the 12 governorships. “This election proves the PRI is the leading political force in the country,” boasted the PRI’s national leader Beatriz Paredes.

Pristas did not hesitate to cynically brand the PAN-PRD alliance “unholy” since the PRD accused the PAN of fraudulently thwarting Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s bid for the presidency in 2006. For his part, self-styled “Legitimate President of Mexico” Obrador (AMLO) stepped down from the top post in the PRD in 2008 in order to support the Workers’ Party-Convergence for Democracy (PT-CD) ticket. In reality, he remains a “red eminence” behind the PRD. This past summer AMLO, who has declared his presidential candidacy for 2012, revelled in the endorsement he received from retired Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, but he denies reports that he is receiving covert financial backing from Communist Venezuela via Mexican “Bolivarian cells.”

In public opinion polls, PRI poster boy Enrique Peña Nieto (pictured above) is leading the way for the presidential bid. According to a poll by Reforma, 40 per cent of respondents would vote for the current State of Mexico governor in the 2012 ballot. Former Mexico City mayor Obrador and former interior secretary Santiago Creel of the PAN are tied for second with 14 per cent, followed by current Mexico City mayor Marcelo Ebrard of the PRD with nine per cent.

“Some analysts,” reports the English-language Guadalajara Reporter, “believe an left-right alliance may be a positive step for Mexico, permitting the PAN and PRD to move closer to the center as they each try to find common ground. But the union doesn’t please left-wing maverick Lopez Obrador, who vowed never to enter into an alliance with the party that ‘robbed me of victory in 2006 presidential election.'” The PRD’s new president, Jesus Ortega, cannot understand why AMLO does not support a strategic alliance to lock out the PRI. “He himself has said that the return of the PRI would be like the return of (General) Santa Ana,” commented Ortega, who ruled out any idea of running a joint presidential candidate with the Panistas in 2012.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Iran opens airspace for joint Turkish-Red Chinese air force exercise, PRC PM to visit Ankara

>– A Soviet Invasion of Another Kind? Russian Railways Extends Broad-Gauge Track to Vienna, Service to France, Finland; Corporate Head Good Comrade of Vladimir Putin

Errant NATO member Turkey has become a thorn in the side of the North Atlantic Alliance. The Justice and Development Party regime in Ankara has not only aligned itself with Israel’s mortal enemies, such as Syria and Hamas, but also in recent years has snuggled up to Russia, an alliance that would have been unthinkable when Russia was still “Soviet Russia.”

Now the Turkish Air Force is conducting joint exercises with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in its own airspace. The PLAAF is fresh from holding combined maneuvers with its Russian and Central Asian counterparts in Kazakhstan. There Red Chinese fighter pilots carried out mock long-range strikes as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Peace Mission 2010 war game, the SCO’s seventh such “anti-terrorist drill” since 2005. On September 30, Aviation Week reported on the outcome of “Anatolian Eagle”:

An unexpected military cooperative exercise between China and Turkey has caught the eye of Washington-based analysts.

The two air forces were involved in a joint air exercise in the central Anatolian province of Konya, the first such exercise involving the air forces of China (People’s Liberation Army Air Force – PLAAF) and NATO member Turkey.

Part of the significance is that the PLAAF recently demonstrated major advances in long-range strike during their own “Peace Mission 2010.”

The latest joint exercise, “Anatolian Eagle,” in the past has been conducted jointly with the U.S. Air Force, other NATO air forces and the Israeli Air Force.

Ankara’s Zama newspaper reported that Turkish F-16s and Chinese Su-27s staged a mock dogfight. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao plans a visit to Turkey next month where several agreements on economic and cultural cooperation are expected to be signed. Chinese aircraft, including the JF-17 export fighter, stopped in Turkey to refuel on the way to last summer’s Farnborough air show.

In support of the Turkish-Red Chinese air force drill, Iran opened its airspace so the PLAAF could reach Turkey, presumably from the temporary PLA base in Kazakhstan via Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The Iranian state media notes: “The maneuvers come ahead of a planned visit by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to Turkey.” The same source also reports: “Turkey and China took their first step in military cooperation in the late 1990s with joint missile production, manufacturing weapons with a 150-kilometer range, the Hurriyet daily reported on its website.”

Incidentally, for Bible prophecy enthusiasts, the new Ankara-Beijing Axis forbodes the Magog invasion of Israel at the introduction of the tribulation and even the Battle of Armageddon at the end of this seven-year period.

Pictured here: August 1968: Soviet-led Warsaw Pact forces invade Czechoslovakia, ending the “Prague Spring.”

Meanwhile, with a hat tip to one of our regular visitors, Russian Railways plans to extend an existing broad-gauge railroad to Vienna, Austria, via eastern Slovakia. Construction is expected to start in 2013–2015. “At present,” reports Prime-Tass, “Russian and Ukrainian trains have to change gauges in eastern Slovakia to deliver goods to Western Europe, with some goods being carried by lorries.” This new railway extending from Russia into Western Europe can certainly be used to ship commerical goods, but it also has definite military applications ahead of or during a Soviet re-invasion of Europe.

Not so coincidentally, Russian Railways has also inked an agreement with France to operate a train service between Moscow and Nice, as well as an arrangement with Finland, to run a high-speed train between St. Petersburg and Helsinki.

BTW, Vladimir Yakunin, chief of Russian Railways, is a good comrade of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s KGB-communist dictator. Between 1985 and 1991 Yakunin was a member of the Soviet diplomatic mission in the United Nations and appointed as First Secretary of the mission after 1988. According to some sources, during this term he worked as an officer of the First Chief Directorate of the Soviet KGB. Now he wants to build a railroad from Moscow to Vienna, site of famous superpower spy swaps–past and present. I’m savoring the irony.

>Latin America File: Castro, Chavez, Ortega decry “right-wing coup attempt” in Ecuador, army rescues Correa from mutinous police, predecessor fingered

>A state of emergency has been declared in Ecuador after socialist President Rafael Correa accused mutinous elements in the army and police of a coup attempt. Correa specifically identified opposition leader, former president Lucio Gutierrez and his nationalist 21st January Patriotic Society Party, of fomenting the attack against Correa’s life at a police barracks.

Pictured above: Troops loyal to Correa stand guard outside the presidential palace in Quito, on October 1.

On Thursday Correa arrived at the barracks in north Quito, the capital, to confront police angered over his veto of legislation that would have given police and soldiers higher salaries and better benefits. There mutinous police shoved the president and threw tear-gas canisters at him and his wife. Enraged, Correa challenged the mutineers: “If you want to kill the President, here he is. Kill him, if you are brave enough.”

Overcome by tear gas, Correa sought treatment in the police hospital, but mutineers surrounded the building for 12 hours, preventing government officials and Correa supporters from liberating the president. Inside the hospital, Correa remained defiant, telephoning his ideological mentor, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, for encouragement. “While I am here,” he declared to a radio reporter, “there is nothing to discuss. I won’t sign anything under pressure . . . I leave here as president or they take me out as a corpse.”

Finally, 500 troops loyal to the president stormed the hospital, rescuing Correa. In the midst of the mutiny, Ecuador’s top general, General Luis Ernesto Gonzalez Villarreal, also declared his loyalty to Correa. Speaking from the balcony of the presidential palace after the incident, Correa vowed to purge the army and police of “all bad elements”: “I’m not going to negotiate absolutely anything. Nothing will be forgiven and nothing will be forgotten.”

Meanwhile, 300 dissident air force personnel and soldiers seized control of the runway at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport, temporarily grounding flights. Mutinous police blocked highways in Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca. The breakdown in authority prompted bank robberies and looting in the capital and Guayaquil.

Like his red chums in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua—Chavez, Evo Morales, and Daniel Ortega—Correa has rewritten his country’s constitution to entrench socialist reforms and remove presidential term limits. In response to the political turmoil in Ecuador, the Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis, which leads the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), a bloc of eight socialist states to which Ecuador belongs, was especially swift in its denunciation of the “right-wing coup attempt” in Quito.

On his Twitter account, Chavez offered solidarity for his Ecuadorean “mini me”: “They are trying to oust President Correa. Wake up the people of the Bolivarian Alliance! Wake up the people of Unasur [Union of South American Nations]! Viva Correa!” Venezuela’s communist dictator later related the substance of his phone conversation with Correa, mentioned above. “Once he had left he would be very happy to receive [the protesters],” Chavez explained, “but they had kidnapped him, and he would not give in to blackmail.”

For his part, Ortega, flanked by top military and police officials, addressed the Obama White House in a televised speech, demanding to know Washington’s position on the Ecuadorean “coup attempt”:

What has the government of the United States said? Listen to me Ambassador [Robert] Callahan [the US representative in Managua]. Listen to me carefully. What has your government said? Now is the moment to define yourself. Is the new administration of the United States in favour of coup d’etats, or are you against coup d’etats. The US government says it is watching the situation [in Ecuador] with interest. But what is the interest? Are they interested to see if the coup culminates with the assassination of President Correa?

Ortega boasted that a similar coup attempt will never happen in Nicaragua because the armed forces and police are under the control of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN): “There isn’t even a minimal possibility of a coup. Why? Because of the nature of our armed forces. The army and police were born with the revolution [of 1979]. They have been institutions loyal to the Constitution.” He then warned his opposition:

The opposition in Nicaragua is calling for the people to take to the streets against the government without taking into account that it’s the people who are in the government [meaning the Sandinistas]. They are calling for the people to take to the streets. But be careful, because the people could take to the streets. Of course they could. And we’ll be the first ones out there with the people.

Ortega’s threat was not too subtle since mortar-toting Sandinista thugs have roamed the streets of Managua for nearly four years now, intimidating Nicaragua’s divided opposition parties.

The Cuban Foreign Ministry released a statement at the request of communist president Raul Castro, an excerpt of which follows:

The government of the Republic of Cuba firmly condemns and rejects the coup in Ecuador. President Correa has declared that a coup is taking place and that he has been attacked and is being forcibly held at the Police Metropolitan Hospital in Quito.

Cuba expects the leadership of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces to fulfill its obligation to respect and enforce the Constitution, and ensure the inviolability of the legitimately elected President and the democracy.

We hold the head of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces responsible for President Correa’s physical integrity and life. His full freedom of movement and exercise of their functions must be ensured.

We strongly reject statements attributed to the so-called Patriotic Society of Lucio Gutierrez which has openly proclaimed its coup intentions.

Cuba completely supports the legitimate and constitutional government of President Rafael Correa and the Ecuadorian people who are mobilizing to rescue the President.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton articulated President Barack Hussein Obama’s support for Correa, while the pro-US governments in Colombia and Peru expressed their solidarity by closing their borders with Ecuador. The Organization of American States called an emergency session to address the crisis and passed a resolution of support for the Ecuadorean president.

Since the Honduran coup that deposed Chavez lackey Manuel Zelaya in June 2009, the first such military-backed ouster in Latin America since the Cold War, the Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis has characterized any anti-leftist manifestations in ALBA countries as “US-sponsored coup attempts.” Although Latin America’s Red Axis leaders are up in arms over the USA’s allegedly baleful influence in the region, they are more than pleased to accept Moscow’s ideological and military support. “Post”-communist Russia’s snugly relationship with Communist Cuba is a case in point. Indeed, it bears a striking resemblance to the patronage Havana once enjoyed from the “former” Soviet Union.

On Wednesday, Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation at the UN, addressed the General Assembly, at which time he called on Washington to end its 50-year commercial and financial blockade against Cuba. Calling the embargo an “anachronism,” Comrade Churkin elaborated: “We call on all members of the international community to act in solidarity and on the basis of shared responsibility, to reject unilateral decisions on sanctions, including extra-territorial agreements adopted in parallel to the Security Council.” I’m sure Nikita Krushchev could not have said it better during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Return of the Sandinistas, North Korea, and the United Nations’ Global Government Grab

Old commies never die, they just stage comebacks per Moscow’s long-range plan for global domination. The neo-Sandinista regime in Managua, under the leadership of “Comandante” Ortega, is still committed to advancing world communism, just as its predecessor in the 1980s. Only now, the Soviets have shifted the responsibility of paying Ortega’s bills to their faithful ally Chavez, who is covertly injecting petro-dollars into Nicaragua via ALBA front companies.

Until September 2009 the FSLN’s spokesman at the United Nations was “Padre” Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, President of the General Assembly. The “good Father” is not only an advocate of liberation theology, but is determined to foist global government on the USA via an 80-point, Soviet-style scheme that includes a Global Stimulus Fund, Global Public Goods Authority, Global Tax Authority, Global Financial Products Safety Commission, Global Financial Regulatory Authority, Global Competition Authority, Global Council of Financial and Economic Advisors, Global Economic Coordination Council, and World Monetary Board.

Joseph Stiglitz, who previously chaired both the UN Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, and the Socialist International’s Commission on Global Financial Issues, has pledged to realize D’Escoto’s dream of killing capitalism. To that end, Columbia University professor Stiglitz will enjoy the smiling approval of President Obama, who has also demanded the imposition of a global tax to implement the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

On the home front, Ortega recently declared a public holiday and, while opposition legislators took their vacation, mangled the 1995 Nicaraguan Constitution to facilitate his illegal re-election bid in 2011. When a Russian destroyer laden with “humanitarian aid” appeared off the country’s Caribbean coast in December 2008, Nicaragua’s opposition lodged a protest with the Russian ambassador in Managua. The Soviet strategists are no doubt waiting for compliant lackey Ortega to neutralize his opposition before test-landing their supersonic Tu-160 bombers at Punta Huete, a 23-year-old runway north of Lake Managua. Earlier this year, the Nicaraguan military quietly reactivated and upgraded this Soviet-built air base for, we suspect, this very purpose.

On the diplomatic front, the neo-Sandinista regime has re-established formal relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the retro-Stalinist hellhole set up by occupying Soviet troops at the end of the Second World War. This past Tuesday Ortega welcomed North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, Kim Hyong Jun, to Managua.

“Comandante” first announced his intention to re-forge links with North Korea in early 2007, shortly after he was re-inaugurated as president. At the time, Ortega reminded the world that North Korea helped to train his Sandinista guerrillas before they overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in 1979. Incidentally, according to a 1984 lecture delivered by Major J.W. Wilson at the Marine Corp Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia, Nicaragua was then crawling with some 5,000 Soviet, Eastern European, Cuban, and Libyan military advisors. At the same time, Soviet military aid to Nicaragua exceeded the total US military aid to all Latin American countries combined.

The message from Ortega in 2010, therefore, is loud and clear: Nicaragua is still part of the Communist Bloc and he has no intention of re-vacating the presidency anytime soon.