Monthly Archives: October 2011
Communist Bloc Military Updates: The Bear and the Dragon: Putin, Patrushev visit Beijing to promote 10-year-old alliance; Russian, Red Chinese generals hold “strategic consultations,” plan combined naval drill for 2012, following four joint “Peace Mission” exercises
October 29, 2011Posted by on
– Cash-Flush PRC Props Up European Financial Stability Facility with Undisclosed Sum, EFSF Chief Executive Heads Cap in Hand to Beijing; Chinese “Generosity” Follows US$1 Billion Loan for Belarus
– Russian DM Serdyukov: Russian-Belarusian Integrated Air Defense System Prototype for Network that Will Protect All Collective Security Treaty Organization Members
– Russia “Complies” with New START, Resumes ICBM Tests from Baikonur Cosmodrome after Two-Year Moratorium; Kazakhstan Spaceport Oldest Such Facility in World
Pictured above: Cuban President Raul Castro confers with Guo Boxiong, Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, in Havana, on October 27, 2011.
On October 11, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, followed by a 160-member entourage of businessmen and bureaucrats, arrived in Beijing, making this his first foreign trip since he announced his intention to run for the Russian presidency in March 2012. On the agenda were US$7 billion worth of bilateral deals ready to be signed, as well as negotiations for a US$1 trillion project to export natural gas from Siberia to northwest China.
Zhang Jianrong, a professor at the Shanghai Academy of Social Science, a government think tank, noted that Putin would have the opportunity to meet Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, the two high-ranking communists who are likely to take over as Red China’s president and premier in 2012. “This is a special visit,” Zhang said. “He should be able to have a good talk with China’s next generation of leaders and begin to build a private relationship. This is quite important for both countries.”
The warming of political ties between “post”-communist Russia and the People’s Republic of China began in 1996 and was sealed five years later with the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation. The latter ended the disengenuous “Sino-Soviet split” of the Cold War. This development, unforeseen by most Western analysts, was actually predicted in 1984 by KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn, who referred to a future Moscow-Beijing alliance as world communism’s “one clenched fist.”
The Moscow-Beijing Axis is undergirded by a significant increase in trade, especially in raw materials and natural resources. In 2010, there was a 41 per cent rise in Sino-Russian trade to US$55.45 billion. This figure is expected to rise again to US$70 billion this year and US$200 billion by 2021.
“By the end of the decade, Russia could account for a third of China’s natural gas supplies,” commented Lin Boqiang, professor of energy and economics at Xiamen University. “Of course, there are also downsides. Russia used to shut off its gas supply to Europe, for example.”
On the geopolitical front, Red China’s state media feted Putin’s arrival as a “step towards building a more multipolar world” which, in commiespeak, means a world where the sole superpower, the USA, has been knocked down a peg or two, or three. “With Russia and China united,” suggested Xinhua, “global politics would be more balanced.” In reality, global politics would be balanced in favor of the Communist Bloc.
“The official propaganda arm of the Chinese government,” reports the UK’s Telegraph, “praised Russia for standing together with China to ‘thwart several attempts’ by the West to meddle in other countries’ ‘internal affairs.’” Both Moscow and Beijing, are “deeply suspicious” of the Arab Spring—populist/Islamist movements that have toppled corrupt regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya and threaten to overthrow Syria’s Ba’athist dictatorship—and worry that Washington is “feeding” the protest movements to advance its own interests. Not surprisingly, opines The Telegraph, Moscow and Beijing are “nervous of losing influence” in the Arab world and are determined to oppose efforts to use the United Nations to sanction regime change.
Kevin Rudd, Australia’s foreign minister, has denounced the Sino-Russian collaboration behind the veto of an October 4 UN Security Council resolution that would have demanded regime change in Damascus. “China and Russia now bear a particular responsibility for persuading Syria to end the violence,” wrote Rudd in an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald.
One week after Putin’s trip to Red China, Nikolai Patrushev, Russian Security Council Secretary and past chief of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB), attended the sixth round of the China-Russia Strategic Security Talks. There, in Beijing, State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Patrushev agreed to “comprehensively implement” the agreement Russia and China reached when President Hu Jintao visited Moscow earlier this year. Patrushev also conferred with the PRC’s Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu. Together, they agreed to “increase personnel exchanges, strengthen security cooperation on large-scale events and promote professional law-enforcement training.”
On October 19 and 20, the General Staffs of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Russian Federation Armed Forces held their 14th round of “strategic consultations.” The consultation was co-chaired by Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the PLA, and Zarudniski, deputy chief of general staff of the Russian armed forces and director of the Operation Department of the General Staff Headquarters (GSH). “The two sides,” reports the PLA Daily, “had an in-depth exchange of views and reached broad consensus on such issues as the current regional and international security situation and the cooperation between the two militaries of China and Russia.”
This high-level military consultation between the two communist powers follows PLA Chief of the General Staff Chen Bingde’s official visit to Moscow in August. “China stands ready to work with Russia to further advance military ties, which will help promote strategic cooperation and is conducive to peace and stability in the region and the world,” Chen said during a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.
Chen also met Nikolai Makarov, chief of the Russian General Staff, who expressed hope in conducting joint navy drills with China in 2012. “Russia attaches great importance to communication and cooperation with the Chinese military,” enthused Makarov, adding: “The relationship with China is one of Russia’s top priorities.” According to state-run Voice of Russia, the PLA delegation inspected a motorized infantry brigade in a suburb of Moscow; the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet, based in Murmansk, including Russia’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, sister ship to the Soviet-era carrier Varyag, which the PLA Navy upgraded and recently commissioned as its first; and K-317 Pantera nuclear-powered submarine. China and Russia have held four “Peace Mission” exercises since 2005.
Meanwhile, the PLA is building alliances with armed forces in other countries, such as in Europe and various states in Latin America. On October 23, Guo Boxiong, Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission began official goodwill visits to Cuba, Columbia and Peru. Guo was invited by the General Staff of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, Columbia’s Defense Ministry, and Peru’s Defense Ministry. Cuba, of course, is a single-party communist dictatorship, Peruvians recently elected a pro-Chavez/Castro left-nationalist to the presidency, while Colombia has been wracked by a Marxist insurgency since the 1960s.
The PRC is also enhancing military cooperation with the former People’s Republic of Poland, now ostensibly ruled by a center-right government with no obvious attachment to the old communist regime. On October 21, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie welcomed Zbigniew Glowienka, commander of the Land Forces of the Polish Armed Forces, to Beijing, pledging to “deepen exchanges and pragmatic cooperation with the Polish army.” Liang noted that the two countries have “experienced good momentum in the development of bilateral military relations,” referring to “frequent high-level visits, successful exchange programs and expanding professional communication and cooperation.”
This past summer 80 PLA Air Force paratroopers were deployed to Belarus, which is “next door” to Poland, for a joint “anti-terrorism drill” with their counterparts in that former Soviet republic. Belarus’ “ex”-communist dictator, President Alexander Lukashenko, has also gratefully received a US$1 billion loan from the PRC, a favour that Beijing is likewise extending to the cash-strapped European Union. The AFP news agency reports: “China has agreed to invest in Europe’s bail-out fund, two senior EU diplomats told AFP today. ‘China is in,’ said one of new plans to boost the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) with a spin-off investment vehicle to be used to prop up debt-laden nations.” The same source continues: “The diplomats gave no indication as to the scale of China’s likely investment, although an EU official said EFSF chief executive Klaus Regling would leave for Beijing on Thursday [October 27], after the [EU’s emergency financial] summit.”
It would seem that the Butchers of Beijing—with a grim nod toward the massacre in Tiananmen Square 22 years ago—are anxious to introduce both communist cash and PLA soldiers into debt-stricken Europe without raising any alarms.
In the light of the Soviet strategic deception plan, military cooperation between the former Soviet republics appears more and more like an attempt to resurrect some aspects of the unified command behind the Soviet Armed Forces. For example, following the Russian-Belarusian Union Shield 2011 exercise this past September, state-run Itar-Tass quoted Serdyukov as saying:
The military exercises at the Ashuluk firing range are unique [in] that a multilayer air defence system was created and tested. This air defence system is made up of modern combat systems: S-400, S-300, Tor, Pantsir and Buk. Under the scenario of the exercises, cruise missiles, airplanes and ballistic targets of the mockup enemy [meaning NATO] were seeking to break through this multilayer air defence system. Amid strong radioelectronic jams all attacks were rebuffed thanks to qualified actions of the combat teams. The air defence system created at the military exercises may turn into a prototype of a future joint CSTO air defence system.
Following Russia’s “agreement” to abide by the terms of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), Kazakhstan’s “ex”-communist President Nursultan Nazarbayev has obediently lifted a moratorium on test launches of Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. According to Vladimir Popovkin, chief of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, the ban was imposed in 2009 in line with the Kazakh government’s (ill-conceived?) plans to make Baikonur an entirely commercial space launch facility. “Now that the ban has been lifted we will [test] launch an ICBM [from Baikonur] in November,” Popovkin told Russia’s rubber-stamp lawmakers.
The Russian-Kazakh agreement, which was first signed in 1994 and then renewed in 2004, extends Russia’s use of the facilities at Baikonur, rented out an annual fee of US$115 million, to 2050. In addition to space launches, Russia frequently used Baikonur facilities to test performance characteristics and service life of its ballistic missiles. The last launch prior to the moratorium was carried out in October 2008 and involved an RS-18 (NATO designation SS-19 Stiletto) ICBM with a range exceeding 9,600 km (6,000 miles).
The US State Department reported this past week that Washington currently deploys 300 more ICBMs, SLBMs, and ALCMs than Russia. New START, which entered into force in February, commits the USA and Russia to reducing and limiting the number of deployed and non-deployed strategic offensive arms to agreed aggregate numbers.
Breaking News: Qaddafi killed as NATO warplanes attack deposed fugitive dictator’s convoy outside Sirte
October 20, 2011Posted by on
Reuters reports today: “Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi died of wounds suffered on Thursday as fighters battling to complete an eight-month-old uprising against his rule overran his hometown Sirte, Libya’s interim rulers said.”
USSR2 File: Lukashenko defies EU bans and sanctions, grants KGB Soviet-style powers, outlaws all protests, throws opponents into labor camps; Belarusian dictator endorses Putin’s “Eurasian Union,” admits existence of a “strategy” on part of the Russian leadership
October 19, 2011Posted by on
– Lukashenko Shores Up Regime by Securing Natural Gas Supply from Russia, Selling State-Run Beltransgaz’s Remaining Shares to Gazprom
– EU Pours Water on Possible “Association Agreement” between Brussels and Kiev in Wake of Tymoshenko Conviction, Kiev Threatens Possible Membership in Moscow-Led Customs Union
Lukashenko has run out of money and he is now selling fear to an angry and hungry population.
— Stanislav Shushkevich, Belarus’ first post-Soviet leader, October 2011
Pictured above: Belarusian KGB chief Vadim Zaitsev speaks during a news conference in Minsk, on April 13, 2011.
One of the key evidences for the phoney demise of Soviet communism in 1991 was the failure to hold a “Nuremburg trial” for the Leninist thugs who ruled over Russia and its satellites for more than 70 years. Indeed, the “hardline” communists who orchestrated the “Vodka Putsch” against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in August of that year received minimal sentences, living out their remaining years in comfortable retirement and even attending Vladimir Putin’s first inauguration as Russian Federation president in 2000. In summary, there is for the most part no new blood in the leadership of the “former” Soviet republics. It is business as usual or, shall we say, communism in a more deceptive form.
To this end, Belarus’ embattled “ex”-communist dictator, President Alexander Lukashenko, has responded favourably to a proposal lately advanced by Russia’s “ex”-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, to create a “Eurasian Union” in the “post”-Soviet space. This project would build upon the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and probably the new free trade zone uniting the Commonwealth of “Independent” States. The Eurasian Union would at first compete and then merge with the European Union, itself, according to Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, a project concocted in the mid-1980s by the Moscow Leninists with their socialist/communist allies in Western Europe.
In an article published by Izvestia earlier this month, Putin propounded: “We suggest creating a powerful supra-national union capable of becoming a pole in the modern world, and at the same time an effective connection between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific Region.” In his own written response, Lukashenko stated:
This is not meant to be a compliment to my colleague, the former Russian president and current prime minister, but I must say that this article was a real event. Russia has stated clearly and unambiguously for the first time in many years about the priority of the relations with the states with which it shares a common Soviet background.
Behind the words of the article lies a strategy. The right strategy.
Putin’s initiative should not be perceived as a division of Europe. The integration of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan is not against anyone.
The integration strategy described in the article is addressed not only to the voters and us, Russia’s neighbors, but to all global power centers. Bluffing could come out costly in this case, because upon receiving this powerful signal they all will make their strategic conclusions. Politics and politicians get respect only if they are serious and consistent. Thus, there should be no doubt that the intentions outlined by Putin are sincere.
You have to prove that the integration drive is not some sort of political games but a real prerequisite for the further improvement of human well-being.
If the three states succeed in forming the Eurasian Union this would lead to creation of the solid socio-political structure with common values, legal system, living standards and objectives. The union could eventually get a single currency.
Putin’s initiative to restore the USSR under a new name not only echoes the proclamations of Russian Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov, but also confirms yet again the remarkably accurate predictions offered by KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn more than 25 years ago in New Lies for Old. We have outlined those predictions in many previous posts. In summary, Golitsyn predicted that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union would abandon its public monopoly of power; (temporarily) withdraw the Red Army from Eastern Europe, thereby eliminating all reason for NATO’s existence; create a “neutral, socialist” Europe; bury the hatchet with the Chinese Communists; and eventually construct a new “worldwide communist federation.”
That Lukashenko himself should admit the existence of a “strategy” on the part of the Russian leadership, with which he is closely allied, is therefore telling. There is indeed a Leninist strategy unfolding in the Not-So-Former Soviet Union, where the Stalinist boot for the most part presently wears a velvet slipper.
Defying the bans and sanctions of the EU and no doubt emboldened by a US$1 billion loan from Red China, however, Lukashenko is twisting the thumbscrews ever tighter on the hapless citizens of Belarus. Last week, his rubberstamp parliament, with backing from the Communist Party of Belarus, passed legislation that grants sweeping powers to the Committee for State Security (KGB). Unlike Russia, the Belarusian communists elected to retain the old Soviet-era name for that republic’s secret police.
According to the MSM, the new law lifts restrictions on the KGB’s use of weapons, gives KGB officers the authority to break into residences and offices, and makes it even easier for Lukashenko to throw his political opponents behind bars. A new ban on receiving foreign funds carries a two-year prison sentence, while simply calling for an anti-government protest can lead to a three-year prison sentence. The Minsk regime is also expanding the definition of treason in such a way as to cast possible suspicion on anyone working for a foreign organization.
Oleg Gulak, head of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, has commented that Minsk’s law enforcement agencies have been granted “the same rights that the Soviet secret police had in Stalin’s time.” According to other human rights activists and dissidents, the KGB’s Soviet-style powers reflect “Lukashenko’s fear of rising public anger” over the country’s worst financial crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union. For example, the value of the Belarusian ruble has collapsed, prompting Minsk to unify the currency’s exchange rate, while inflation is running at a staggering 60 percent, forcing the regime to remove subsidies for food and fuel.
President Lukashenko’s iron-fisted rule since 1994 has prompted both the USA and EU to impose economic sanctions on the country and travel bans on officials from Minsk. A recent poll showed that Lukashenko’s approval rating has plunged to an all-time low of 20 percent. The poll from the Independent Institute for Socio-Economic and Political Research indicates that support for Lukashenko dropped among farmers, blue-collar workers, and retirees, social groups that previously endorsed his efforts to preserve a Soviet-style social safety net and maintain relative stability in the global economy.
“Lukashenko has run out of money and he is now selling fear to an angry and hungry population,” Belarus’ first post-Soviet leader, Stanislav Shushkevich, told the Associated Press. In December 1991, along with Russia’ Boris Yeltsin and Ukraine’s Leonid Kravchuk, Shushkevich co-founded the so-called Commonwealth of Independent States, a sort of “placeholder” for the soon-to-be-restored Soviet (Eurasian) Union.
In another effort to shore up his crypto-communist regime, Lukashenko is also ensuring that Belarus receives a steady supply of natural gas from Russia and handing over the keys of Belarusian state enterprises to Moscow. The Minsk Telegraf reports that Gazprom Chairman Alexey Miller is hosting talks with Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister of Sergei Rumas to complete a contract for the supply and transportation of Russian gas through Belarus, as well as the sale of Beltransgaz’s remaining shares to Gazprom. Russian and Belarusian negotiators say the documents will be ready for signing in November.
Meanwhile, the plight of Belarusian opposition leaders and activists, some exiled and some jailed, can only be described as miserable.
Earlier this month, former presidential candidate Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu was warned again by his parole officer after taking part in an opposition gathering. Nyaklyaeu told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that he participated in a People’s Assembly convened by the Belarusian opposition in Minsk on October 8. He said police visited his apartment three times that day to check whether he was at home. Later, police delivered a subpoena summoning him to the parole inspection center in Minsk’s Lenin District on October 10.
“They must have received specific instructions to keep me under constant surveillance to justify my possible return to jail for violating parole,” Nyaklyaeu told RFE/RL.
On October 3, the parole inspection center issued a “final warning” to Nyaklyaeu for visiting Poland between September 27 and 30. While in Warsaw, Nyaklyaeu attended the EU’s Eastern Partnership summit and a human rights conference.
On October 13, another dissident, Viktar Ivashkevich, was fined 1.4 million rubles (US$250) for his part in actually organizing the Minsk People’s Assembly. Judge Kiryl Palulekh found Ivashkevich guilty of violating the law on public gatherings. Ivashkevich faced 15 days in jail or a fine. Ivashkevich retorted that the People’s Assembly was held in accordance with the law on town hall meetings, which does not require prior permission from local authorities. Judge Palulekh overruled the requests by Ivashkevich and his lawyer. Significantly, Ivashkevich brought personal items with him to court on the assumption that he would be jailed.
At the Minsk People’s Assembly meeting, some 500 opposition activists gathered in Peoples’ Friendship Park, adopting a resolution addressed to the government. The resolution demanded wage increases, a cap on price hikes, the release of all political prisoners, and free presidential elections under the supervision of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Other meetings were held in Berastse, Mahileu, and Slonim. Several organizers and participants were fined at similar trials. More People’s Assembly gatherings are planned for November 12.
Lastly, the unknown fate of Yauhen Vaskovich, a member of the unregistered Belarusian Christian Democracy party, exposes the ongoing reality of Belarus’ Soviet-style gulag system. Vaskovich is serving a seven-year prison term for an arson attack on the local KGB headquarters in the eastern town of Babruysk in October 2010.
On October 18, RFE/RL reported that Vaskovich had been transferred from a labor camp in the eastern city of Mahileu to another facility, but his family does not know his whereabouts. Officials at Labor Camp No. 15 in Mahileu told RFE/RL that Vaskovich had indeed been transferred from there to “another labor camp,” but did not specify the destination. A labor camp duty officer said Vaskovich’s relatives will be informed where he is three days after his arrival at the new location.
Vaskovich’s mother, Rushannya, told RFE/RL she has not been officially informed about her son’s transfer. She said Vaskovich wrote in his last letter to her that he was to be moved to a “closed correctional facility” (PTK), where inmates are usually sent for systematically refusing to obey prison guards. At the Mahileu labor camp, Vaskovich was placed in solitary confinement on numerous occasions for this transgression.
Two anarchist activists, Artsyom Prakapenka and Pavel Syramalotau, were also jailed for seven years over the Babruysk arson attack. Vaskovich admitted his involvement, but pleaded not guilty. His two associates, however, pleaded guilty. Belarusian Christian Democracy considers Vaskovich a political prisoner, but acknowledges that his participation in the attack was wrong.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, a Moscow-friendly “ex”-communist like Lukashenko, has rejected EU protests over the jailing of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and intends to nevertheless pursue a trade agreement with Brussels. “The point isn’t if someone likes the verdict or doesn’t–in Ukraine or in Europe,” Yanukovich told reporters in Kiev. “The point is that there is a supremacy of law, there is a court that decides. Whatever decision the court makes, we must respect it.”
Last week, Tymoshenko—ironically, a Komsomol grad and thus part of the old Soviet regime like Yanukovich—was sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of power as premier when signing a 10-year gas supply and transit agreement with Russia in 2009. The verdict may have “profound implications” for Ukraine’s relations with the EU, warned Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for the European Commission. EU President Herman Van Rompuy has said that a planned meeting with Yanukovich in Brussels would be delayed. Last month, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule opined that “The Tymoshenko case appears to be politically motivated and may damage Ukraine’s reputation.”
The Ukraine Security Service (SBU), which was hived off the old Soviet KGB but renamed like Russia’s Federal Security Service, opened a new criminal probe into Tymoshenko on October 13, accusing her of transferring US$405 million in debt owed to the Russian Defense Ministry by United Energy Systems, a company she used to run, to the state budget. Tymoshenko denied any wrongdoing, counter-accusing Yanukovich of engineering the trial to silence opposition before parliamentary elections next year.
In a related story, Putin has rebuked Ukraine for seeking EU membership, which is “absolutely unrealistic,” according to a September 16 comment by the Russian premier, who is seeking to return to the presidency next year. Russia has invited Ukraine to join the Customs Union, but Kiev has previously said the country is ready to cooperate with the union only in a so-called three-plus-one format. At the same time, Ukraine hopes to initiate an association agreement with the EU by the end of 2011.
“We are looking for a possible form of cooperation with the custom union,” explained Yanukovich, who is straddling the fence between Moscow and Brussels. “We are obliged to find a form that would not contradict our European integration.” Ukraine’s Social Policy Minister Serhiy Tyhypko has come right out to confirm that, as a result of the Tymoshenko flap with the EU, Ukraine may move closer to the Customs Union if the EU backtracks on its proposed “association agreement” with Kiev. “If the European Union gives a clear ‘no’ signal, the possibility that Ukraine will turn to the Customs Union is quite high,” huffed Tyhypko to Ukrainian newspaper Den.
Into the spat between Kiev and Brussels arrives Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, like Tymoshenko a graduate of the Soviet Komsomol. On Tuesday, Medvedev met with Yanukovich in Donetsk, Ukraine, for an interregional economic forum. Apart from issues of energy and the Customs Union, Medvedev and Yanukovich will discuss border interaction, joint research and technology, joint industrial ventures, transportation, and the environment. No doubt, too, the neo-Soviet leadership will look at the opportunities for exploiting the European debt crisis in order to advance its own position in the world.
Latin America File: Russia propping up Communist Cuba via Chavez, Medvedev sends letter of solidarity to Ortega ahead of Nicaraguan vote, Mexican leftists form coalition ahead of 2012 presidential poll, make second bid to install pro-Cuban Obrador
October 17, 2011Posted by on
– Costa Rica’s President and Foreign Minister Label Nicaragua as “Enemy,” Ortega’s Second Regime as “Xenophobic”
– Obrador Favors Termination of Mexican Government’s War against Drug Cartels, Dismantling of Border Wall, Conferred with Russian Communist Party Boss in Barely Reported 2007 Meeting
Pictured above: Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, left, talks with past and current presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at the closing campaign rally of Alejandro Encinas, candidate for governor of the State of Mexico for the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), in Nezahualcoyotl, on June 26, 2011.
Since this past summer, Venezuela’s self-avowed Marxist president, who is still ruling by decree—which means Hugo Chavez may be accurately referred to as a “communist dictator” —has made four trips to Cuba to participate in chemotherapy treatments for a still publicly unrevealed form of cancer. Lately, South America’s champion of “21st century socialism” has sported a bald pate, indicative of chemotherapy patients. Chavez’s familial links with the red regime in Havana, however, go much deeper still.
Between January 2007 and May 2010, reveals a document from the Economic Social Development Bank of Venezuela (BANDES), Venezuela disbursed more than US$1.5 billion to finance dozens of projects in Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and other states in the eight-member socialist bloc known as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.
The veracity of the document was confirmed by Julio Montoya, an opposition member of the Venezuelan Congress, who accused President Hugo Chavez of sinking his own country deep in debt while simultaneously financing leftist allies. Montoya, who represents the New Time Party, protested:
It is not possible for Venezuela to continue increasing its external debt to the point of already surpassing $124 billion, while the president continues to finance the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia.
While Venezuela is going through serious problems with its infrastructure and its communications systems are falling apart, President Chávez is financing the repairs of Cuban airports and railroad systems.
We have to learn about these things only when officials denounce them […]. It’s totally confidential. He [Chávez] doesn’t inform anybody in this country about the manner in which he uses resources.
According to the 58-page report, BANDES, through its Autonomous and International Cooperation Fund (FICA), granted “solidarity credits” for more than US$980 million to 100 Cuban companies participating in a “twin enterprises” program. The document does not identify the companies nor their activities, simply indicating that they operate within “five industrial sectors” and that the financing is part of “strengthening” ALBA.
Cuban projects financed by Venezuela involve numerous credits disbursed by FICA to finance the railroad sector and other loans for more than US$45 million to finance the international airports at Varadero-Matanzas (Juan G. Gómez) and Havana (José Martí).
Ultimately, Venezuela, which is making the painful transition to communism, is propping up its sister regime in Cuba by way of its domestic oil revenue and loans from Moscow. Not so coincidentally, Chavez, who expects to shortly make his annual pilgrimage to the Kremlin, has enticed Russia, Belarus, and Red China into exploiting its proven petroleum and natural gas reserves in the Caribbean Basin.
Russia, Bloomberg reports, has agreed to lend Venezuela US$4 billion through 2013 for defense spending in return for gaining access to heavy crude and offshore gas fields in Venezuela’s Junin 6 block. Russia’s OAO Rosneft and OAO Gazprom signed a cooperation accord with Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA on October 6 at a ceremony in Caracas led by Chavez and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who in the 1980s served as Soviet military intelligence’s pointman in Latin America. The Junin 6 block is a joint venture between PDVSA and a Russian consortium that includes OAO Lukoil, TNK-BP, and OAO Gazprom Neft. It is expected that production in the block will begin in May 2012.
Chavez, who has led the OPEC-member nation since 1999, has strengthened ties with Russia during his 12-year rule in a bid to re-equip his military after a US arms embargo in 2006 and to attract investment in the energy industry. The US$4 billion defense loan will be disbursed in two equal parts in 2012 and 2013. In the last five years, Chavez has purchased more than US$4.4 billion of fighter jets, air defense systems, helicopters, and small arms from Russia, while denying that he was fuelling an arms race in South America, especially against the center-right government in neighboring Colombia.
“We’re working on large-dimension projects from oil, gas and petrochemicals to finance, banking and trade,” Chavez, who has troubling relations with Colombia’s Marxist guerrillas, soothed on state television. “We’re not a threat to anyone. We’re modernizing our armed forces that were totally defenseless.”
In a separate agreement, the two countries agreed to commit US$2 billion each to boost the capital of a bi-national bank, Evrofinance Mosnarbank SA, which will provide lending for housing projects and a joint-venture oil project in the Junin 6 block. In February, Venezuela paid US$400 million to buy a 49 percent stake in the Moscow-based Evrofinance, which opened an office in Caracas July 25. Evrofinance is 49.9 percent owned by Venezuelan state development bank Fonden, with the rest controlled by Russian banks VTB Group and Gazprombank Group.
Now that Chavez has opened Venezuela’s natural resources to Kremlin exploitation, Moscow’s Rosneft will develop the Carabobo 2 heavy-crude block in the Orinoco as a minority partner with PDVSA. At the same time, Gazprom will explore for natural gas in the Gulf of Venezuela, close to the Perla field where Eni SpA and Repsol have 15 trillion cubic feet of certified gas reserves. Gazprom and PDVSA agreed to consider a joint venture to develop the Robalo gas deposit.
Incidentally, Chavez, who like comrade Daniel Ortega invokes “Christianity” as a basis for his socialism, said that he received a religious icon from Sechin to help with his recovery.
Meanwhile, on September 15 five countries in Central America simultaneously celebrated their independence from the First Mexican Empire in 1821. Nicaragua was one of them. In Managua, Ortega, who returned to the presidency in early 2007, after a 17-year stint in the political wilderness, has openly allied himself with his old red buds in Havana, pocketed more than a billion dollars from Chavez by way of ALBA front companies, and rehabilitated the never-used Soviet-built runway at Punta Huete, replete with special military brigade to man the control tower (possibly to welcome Russian strategic bombers in the not-too-distant future).
In a September 15 letter conveyed by Russia’s ambassador to Nicaragua, Igor Kondrashev, Medvedev expresses these wishes to Ortega:
Please receive our warmest and sincere congratulations on the occasion of the National Celebration of the Republic of Nicaragua, the Day of Independence.
I celebrate with satisfaction the fact that the economic-commercial, cultural and humanitarian relations between the Federation of Russia and the Republic of Nicaragua have extended successfully into the political field. This relationship is highly valuable because of our interaction in the international arena, based on our adherence to the principles of the supremacy of law and to the task of constructing a multi-polar world.
I am convinced that the recent development of constructive and fruitful dialogue will continue contributing to the deepening of Russian-Nicaraguan cooperation in the interests of our States, and to the consolidation of stability and security in the region of Central America.
My desire for you, Most Excellent Gentleman President, is good health and success to the Nicaraguan people, well being and prosperity.
The arrival of this missive from Moscow, less than two months before an election that Ortega is expected to win, but only by flouting Nicaragua’s constitutional ban on consecutive presidential terms, is obviously an expression of solidarity between the neo-Soviet leadership and the neo-Sandinista regime. Ortega made his first post-Cold War journey to Moscow in December 2008 and has received promises of upgrades for the Soviet-equipped Nicaraguan military, known as the Sandinista Popular Army until 1995. During a tete-a-tete with this long-time KGB asset, Soviet Komsomol grad Medvedev referred to Ortega as “comrade.” For commie watchers, ‘nuff said.
Last year, relations between Nicaragua and Costa Rica soured when Nicaraguan troops occupied a disputed island in the San Juan River, which forms part of the boundary between the two “brother” countries. Former Sandinista revolutionary Eden Pastora and a contingent of Sandinista Youth are currently overseeing a government dredging operation in the San Juan that will eventually transform the river into a trans-oceanic link that will rival the Panama Canal. Moscow has expressed an interest in using both Punta Huete and financing the long-dreamed-of “Nicaragua Canal,” but so far US policy makers are untroubled by these revelations of a revived Russian presence in Central America.
Costa Rica’s center-left government is not allied with the Western Hemisphere’s Havana/Caracas-led Red Axis and so takes a dim view of Ortega’s “xenophobia.” Six months since the International Court of Justice ruled that Nicaragua must remove its troops from Isla Calero, Costa Rica’s new foreign minister insisted that Ortega’s government remains an “enemy” of Costa Rica. “I think that we have to consider Nicaragua as an enemy while they continue to usurp [our territory],” said Enrique Castillo, in an interview with San Jose’s La Nación daily. He continued:
There is a vengeful motivation that is based in the xenophobia that the government of Ortega feeds the Nicaragua people and is practiced by the Nicaraguan government. It is a xenophobic government against Costa Rica.
I think Nicaragua planned this in bad faith (and) with much anticipation. The execution occurred when it was thought to be a favorable moment during the transition period from one government to another. It was going to happen sooner or later.
Castillo served previously as Costa Rica’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington DC, where he argued the case against Nicaragua in November 2010. He assumed the role of foreign minister when René Castro stepped down to become the minister of energy, environment and telecommunications. In December of last year, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla also said she considered Nicaragua to be an enemy (Tico Times, December 6, 2010).
In Mexico, still in the grip of a ferocious five-year-old narco-insurgency that has left dozens of corpses lately in the Gulf Coast city of Veracruz, leftists are organizing a common front to once again try to place their candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in the presidency. The leader of the Dialogue for the Reconstruction of Mexico (DIA in Spanish), Manuel Camacho Solis, has revealed that the first poll to elect DIA’s common presidential candidate is scheduled to take place in November and, if a run-off poll is necessary, in February. The DIA consists of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), formed in 1989 from the Mexican Communist Party and other leftist groupings; the Labour Party; and the Citizens’ Movement. Obrador’s main rival for the DIA candidacy is Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard.
Obrador is not in favor of continuing the federal government’s war against the drug cartels but, rather, intends to shift the focus of the Mexican state toward economic development. “Cooperation for development is more effective and humane than the emphasis on military assistance, intelligence services and armaments,” the former Mexico City mayor said in a speech at Washington’s Woodrow Wilson Center last week. Obrador added: “Development and job creation should come first. It is not with military assistance … nor with more weapons that those problems will be resolved. It is not with a wall that the border will be secured.”
How job creation programs can be implemented in Mexico when a major insurgency is taking place, however, remains to be explained.
In 2006, Obrador made a previous bid for the presidency, refusing to this day to recognize Felipe Calderon’s victory. Last year, Obrador lauded Fidel Castro and, in April 2007, following his failure at the ballot box, quietly received Russian Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov in Mexico City. Zyuganov, who is also taking a stab at the Russian Federation presidency in March 2012, was then making a regional tour that included pit stops in Havana and Caracas. Needless to say, important incidents of communist power networking such as the Zyuganov-Obrador pow-wow were totally ignored in the MSM, which still holds to the unbelievable “communism is dead” line, a mantra invented by the communists themselves.
Elections for the Mexican presidency and Congress will take place in July 2012. According to public opinion polls, the candidate of the once long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, Enrique Pena Nieto, appears poised to restore Mexico’s “perfect dictatorship.” The centrist PRI belongs to the Socialist International, but the PDR and its allies are even further to the left, transforming a potential Obrador victory into a national security issue for the USA.
USSR2 File: Putin poised to return to Russian presidency in March 2012, presents first foreign policy initiative with advocacy of “Eurasian Union,” integrating Russia, former Soviet republics, and European Union in “common economic space”
October 5, 2011Posted by on
– Eurasian Union Warmed-Over Version of Gorbachev’s “Common European Home,” Stepping Stone to Lenin’s Goal of “World Soviet Republic”
Pictured above: A man looks at a caricature depicting Russian Premier Vladimir Putin as past Soviet dictator Leonid Brezhnev on his computer screen in Moscow on October 5, 2011.
By the end of the 1980s, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ command economy could not outpace the USA in the arms race, could not provide a comparable standard of living for Soviet citizens vis-à-vis the West, and could no longer bear the burden of maintaining a massive conventional military presence in Eastern Europe since 1945. For these reasons, most Western conservatives/classic liberals and libertarians believe, the Soviet Union collapsed. This is only part of the story, though.
Within the conservative/libertarian movement, an “end-time remnant” of fervent, intellectually robust anti-communists exists, a clique which to this day maintains that the North Atlantic Alliance did not win the Cold War’s ideological battle, that is, in the sense of finally discrediting the idea of communism once and for all.
This vanguard of freedom heeded the warnings of KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn—whose 27-year-old published predictions are corroborated by other Soviet Bloc defectors like Czech Major General Jan Sejna and political developments in the “post”-communist states—that Soviet communism would feign its demise, promote European integration, remove any justification for NATO’s existence, and end the Sino-Soviet split with an alliance with the Red Chinese, all with the intent of returning another day to either smash the “bourgeois” nations in an unexpected nuclear war, or lure them into a world federation of repackaged communist states.
In his first book, New Lies for Old (1984), Golitsyn writes: “In the new worldwide communist federation the present different brands of communism would disappear, to be replaced by a uniform, rigorous brand of Leninism” (page 346). Most of Golitsyn’s published predictions, writes Mark Riebling in Wedge: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11–How the Secret War between the FBI and CIA Has Endangered National Security (2002), came to pass by the early 1990s, proving that this East Bloc defector had real “inside information” from the heart of the Politburo.
Fast forward to 2011. President Dmitry Medvedev’s commitment to modernizing the Russian military in collaboration with Moscow’s allies in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Kremlin’s frequent overtures for a security arrangement embracing both Russia and the European Union (or NATO sans the USA) show that the Moscow Leninists hold both cards in their hands. Although only 26 years old when the Soviet Union was dismantled, Medvedev is a graduate of the Komsomol and, thus, indoctrinated in Marxism-Leninism.
Russian “voters” face a parliamentary election in December and a presidential election in March. As in the days of open communism, they have few if any real options. The two top presidential candidates, for example, are Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, an “ex”-communist and career Chekist, versus Gennady Zyuganov, head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, legal successor of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Putin, Medvedev, and Zyuganov hold regular closed-door meetings. Due to the global recession, Putin’s popularity has slipped somewhat but he still holds a commanding lead over unabashed Stalinist Zyuganov.
Whether an “ex”-communist or open communist holds the post is almost irrelevant. Either way, the Soviet strategists will advance their stealth plan for global domination and the demise of their principal enemy, the USA.
In an article published in the October 4 issue of Izvestia, Putin has essentially called for the restoration of the Soviet Union, albeit in a new and improved form that will include the European Union, an entity that former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has called the “new European Soviet.” In what amounts to his first foreign policy initiative, Putin writes:
We must bring the ex-Soviet states into a Eurasian Union. The new union will be built on Russia’s existing Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, which in 2012 will remove all barriers to trade, capital, and labor movement between the three countries.
We are not going to stop there and are setting an ambitious goal — to achieve an even higher integration level in the Eurasian Union.
The new union will be a supra-national body that would coordinate economic and currency policy between its members. It will also be open to new members.
In the Izvestia article, Putin did not hide his disapproval of the World Trade Organization: “The process of finding new post-crisis global development models is moving forward with difficulty. For example, the Doha round [of international trade talks] has practically stopped. There are objective difficulties inside the WTO.” In 2009, Putin threw Russia’s 18-year-old bid to join the WTO into confusion by committing Russia to the Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Putin, who in 2005 called the collapse of the USSR “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century,” assures readers that this new project would not resemble the Soviet Union. “It would be naive to attempt to restore or copy something from the past,” he soothed. “However, a stronger integration on a new political and economic basis and a new system of values is an imperative of our era.”
Even though pro-Russian politicians rule in Kiev and Minsk and may shortly lead a government in Latvia, Russia’s relationship with its ex-Soviet neighbors has been tempestuous, disrupted by energy and trade disputes, and the armed conflict with Georgia in 2008. However, Putin predicts that the Customs Union will at least absorb the Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
In his article, the Russian PM issued a veiled criticism of Ukraine, which has joined neither the Customs Union nor the CSTO military alliance. “This was a wrong choice,” he complains, adding:
The Customs Union and in future the Eurasian Union would be the European Union’s partner in talks over the creation of a common economic space, guaranteeing its members a stronger voice. Membership in the Eurasian Union, apart from direct economic benefits, will enable its members to integrate into Europe faster and from a much stronger position.
Putin concludes that “the way out of the global crisis” is to be found through regional integration, mentioning as positive examples the European Union, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, North American Free Trade Agreement, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations. “These ‘bricks’ can assemble into a more stable global economy,” he states.
In 1989, in his propaganda offensive against the West, Soviet dictator Gorbachev, who still draws audiences at various speaking events, urged the formation of a “common European home,” from the Ural Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. More than 20 years later, enough building blocks exist to realize Putin’s “Eurasian Union,” which also replicates Vladimir Lenin’s dream of a “world Soviet republic.” All Moscow needs to do is to fold the EU, Commonwealth of “Independent” States, Union State of Russia and Belarus, Customs Union, and CSTO into one enormous political-economic-military entity.
Afterward, Red China and Iran can join the Eurasian Union via the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The African Union and Union of South American Nations will be compliant allies, while North America remains a stubborn holdout against world government.