>Blast from the Past File: Grenada once again under Cuban influence, PM Thomas’ finance minister former technocrat in Bishop’s Marxist regime

>At Once Upon a Time in the West we not only monitor Communist Bloc developments in Latin America and the Caribbean Basin in general, but watch with special interest the second Sandinista regime in Managua and Grenada’s new pro-Cuban government. In the latter case, Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, who is center-left in political orientation, has subverted any good accomplished by the US invasion of his island in 1983.

At the time Cuban engineers and workers were helping the Marxist dictatorship of “Comrade” Maurice Bishop extend the island’s runway at St. George’s to 10,000 feet. This would effectively accommodate Soviet strategic bombers, a fact that rightly alarmed US President Ronald Reagan and the Pentagon. After securing the political and military support of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and under the pretext of rescuing US medical students attending St. George’s University, the White House dispatched land and naval forces to oust the communist regime and its 700 Cuban “guests.”

Following Operation Urgent Fury, the Soviet media raged against “US imperialism” and the first Sandinista regime in Managua feared that it too would be ousted in a US invasion, a spectre that haunts the rhetoric of President Daniel Ortega to this day.

Last May Thomas renamed Grenada’s Point Salines International Airport after deceased dictator Bishop and pledged closer relations with Cuba. On March 2 Thomas, making good on his vow, wrapped up a two-day state visit to Cuba, where he met with Cuban President Raul Castro, attended a dinner in his honor, inspected an agricultural cooperative and a meat processing plant, and toured Spanish-built forts in Havana. In the picture above the Grenadian PM, second from left, meets Cuban dignitaries. Castro is first on the left.

“We are still able to work together to our mutual benefit, whether its health, education or in the international community in areas such as climate change,” Thomas gushed to his host Castro. He added: “Grenada and Cuba have a long history of collaborating on major issues, such as Cuba’s assistance in the construction of Grenada’s largest economic project, the Maurice Bishop International Airport.” Meanwhile Grenadian government ministers drafted new agreements with their Cuban counterparts on the Grenada-Cuba Joint Commission.

As Grenada again snuggles up to Cuba, Thomas has also welcomed Red Chinese and Venezuelan participation in the construction of low-income housing for Grenadians. On March 1 16 workers from the People’s Republic of China arrived in Grenada to erect dwellings using materials already shipped to the island in 23 containers. The first set of houses will be built at Mt. Gay in St. George’s and Soubise in St. Andrew, and will be completed within 18 months. The sod-turning ceremony for the construction took place last November in St. Andrew and was attended by Grenadian and Chinese officials.

In September 2009 Venezuela made good on a promise given in 2004, after Hurricane Ivan roared through the Eastern Caribbean, by handing over more than 100 homes to Grenadians. At the time, Thomas enthused: “On behalf of the people of Grenada, I express our profound gratitude and thanks to the government and people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for their donation and continued support particularly in the area of housing. This project is a tangible manifestation of the strong relationship that exists between our two countries.” The houses, which were built by the Venezuelan military, were completed in 2006, before Thomas became prime minister, but remained vacant due to the different electrical standards between Grenada and Venezuela.

There should be no surprise that Grenada’s PM is aligning his country with Cuba, Venezuela, and Red China. At least one high-ranking cadre from the New Jewel Movement can be found in Thomas’ cabinet, Nazim Burke, Minister of Finance and Economic Development. During the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG), which came to power in an armed 1979 coup, Burke was a senior technocrat and, after the collapse of the PRG, briefly finance minister. In terms of managing Grenada’s finances, Burke, pictured above, had this to say in a March 9 interview with Caribbean Net News:

In a time like this, you really have to be fairly certain about what you do. We do not have the space to make very serious mistakes. Our debt situation is not good. I don’t think it is uncommon for a minister for finance to be cautious.

The element of caution is inextricably connected with the prerequisite of prudence. Prudence necessarily involves a measure of caution. We cannot be reckless in the assignment because the resources that we have do not allow us the space to make up if we did something that was terribly wrong.

Burke is cautiously considering the possibility of accepting a US$100 million loan from the PRC to build a hotel in South St. George’s:

Government would not seek to borrow an additional $100 million if there is really no pressing need to do so. Remember at the end of the day, you have to service the loan. If we can get a very concessional loan from China and we can put that to productive use to increase the room stock, to create jobs and to expand the tourism and hospitality sector, then it would be in Grenada’s interest to do so.

More than 18 years after the Cold War ended, reconceptualized cadres of “defunct” communist regimes amass personal fortunes or seek foreign investments for their impoverished countries. Is it possible, however, that the Communist Bloc is still eyeballing Grenada’s airport as a possible staging point for attacking the Continental USA? We can’t say for sure, but the scenario of strategic encirclement of the USA deserves continued scrutiny. The Communist Party of China, hiding behind front company Hutchison-Whampoa, controls port facilities at either end of the Panama Canal and at Freeport in the Bahamas.

In 2008 the Kremlin media floated several trial balloons concerning the basing or refuelling of Russia’s strategic bombers in Cuba, Venezuela, and Algeria. Promises to renovate the Soviet-built, never-used runway at Punta Huete in Nicaragua and Nauru International Airport in the South Pacific also deserve scrutiny. If Russian strategic aviation had access to Nicaragua and/or Nauru, Tu-95s or Tu-160s could theoretically launch cruise missiles against the US West Coast from southeast of Hawaii, presumably beyond the normal patrol zones of NATO-NORAD. Just a thought, but will someone in the Pentagon entertain the same thought?

>Latin America File: Putin to visit Venezuela ahead of Russian, Communist Bloc military participation in independence day march-past

>The Soviet strategists are quickly and boldly re-consolidating Cold War-era alliances in Latin America, especially with Cuba and Nicaragua, and building new ones, such as with Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Mexico. To that end, Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, will visit Caracas some time this month.

In a televised cabinet meeting this Wednesday, red dictator Hugo Chavez, who established a strategic partnership with Putin in 2001, announced that his KGB handler will visit Venezuela. “I touched upon this issue in Montevideo with Russia’s special envoy… They confirmed to me that Putin’s visit will be held.” Putin spokesentity Dmitry Peskov acknowledged that his boss received an invitation from Chavez, adding: “The final date will be made public in line with the relevant procedure.” The two leaders are pictured above in a previous meeting at the Kremlin, apparently in 2006.

For his part, Chavez makes annual pilgrimages to Moscow, where he has not only rubbed elbows with Putin, but also Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov, who refers to “Comrade” Chavez as a “reliable friend.” Over the last 10 years Chavez has purchased more than US$4 billion in armament, including fighter jets, military helicopters, thousands of tactical missiles, diesel-powered submarines, and automatic rifles. Russian engineers are presently at two sites in Venezuela overseeing the construction of plants that will manufacture under license Kalashnikov rifles and their clips. The Venezuelan military is presently awaiting the arrival of 92 T-72 main battle tanks from Russia which, Chavez’s admission, are destined for the Colombian border. This item could be high on the agenda when Putin and Chavez next meet.

Chavez is training his firepower on neighbour Colombia, a nation that will shortly host 800 US counter-narcotics troops for the purpose of suppressing the country’s Marxist guerrillas. In many posts we have established the fact that the Chavezista regime is actively harboring the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on Venezuelan soil, while the Russian Mafia, a front for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service and Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the Russian Armed Forces, is using Ecuador as a base to sell weapons to FARC.

In his prior capacity as president of the Russian Federation, Putin made official visits to Latin America but, apparently, never Venezuela. He travelled to Cuba in 2000, Brazil in 2004, and Guatemala in 2007. Current president Dmitry Medvedev, however, materialized in Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, and Cuba in November 2008. The Soviet Komsomol graduate is slated to repeat this itinerary in 2010.

In 2008 and 2009 Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, a GRU agent who served as the Soviet Union’s liaison with Latin America’s guerrilla armies during the Cold War, made several trips to Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. In 2008 Nikolai Patrushev, former head of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB) and current secretary of the Russian Security Council, showed up in Venezuela, Argentina and Ecuador to expand and/or establish political-military linkages with those countries.

Finally, last month Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov completed a four-nation tour of the region, including Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico. At this time he announced that Moscow and Managua will hold joint military exercises, a development that 25 years ago could have touched off World War 3 but which now troubles no one in the White House. Larvov also indicated that Russia will sell military helicopters and weapons to Mexico to help President Felipe Calderon suppress the out-of-control drug cartels. Like FARC, Mexico’s drug lords rely on the Russian Mafia for weapons support.

Several days ago, in a related story, we reported that Communist Bloc troops from Russia, Belarus, Vietnam, and the People’s Republic of China will participate in Venezuela’s 200th Independence Day bash in April. In light of these and other developments, Moscow’s message to the Obama White House is clear: We will no longer cower before US “unipolarity,” which is just a fancy communist codeword for “imperialism.”

>Latin America File: Russia hails formation of Latin American-Caribbean super-bloc at Cancun summit; Chavez predicts new organization will replace OAS

>– Don’t Come for Tea, Argentina: Chavez Defends the Falklands from British “Colonialism,” Puts Down Queen Elizabeth II

– Reds Have Fun in the Sun: Raul Castro Breaks Up Shouting Match between Hugo Chavez and Alvaro Uribe

– Spanish Judge: Venezuelan Government Conspired with FARC and ETA to Bump Off Uribe, Chavezista Official Chief FARC-ETA Liaison

On February 26 Russia hailed the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CLACS), the fruition of a super-summit in Cancun that on February 22 and 23 brought together members of the Rio Group–which includes Cuba–the Union of South American Nations, and the Caribbean Community. The Russian Foreign Ministry gushed in a communiqué:

The new structure, added to other regional and multilateral mechanisms, will contribute to increased cooperation among the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. The decision reflects Latin America’s growing aspirations for closer political cooperation and coordination to give its countries a bigger role in world affairs. The new organization can be an important factor for the formation of a multipolar [anti-USA] world order. Russia is ready to undertake cooperation and political dialogue with it to strengthen the equilibrium of international relations.

After nearly 20 years of paying very little attention to Latin America, Moscow is anxious to drive a wedge between the USA and the largely leftist regimes to its south, even as it re-establishes Cold War-era political-military-economic linkages with Cuba and Nicaragua, and new “communists on the bloc” like Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia.

In November 2008 the Soviet strategists dispatched figurehead president Dmitry Medvedev to Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, and Cuba. While visiting Caracas, Medvedev suggested that Russia is looking into the possibility of joining the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), which would certain expand Soviet influence in “America’s backyard.” Moscow is already propping up ALBA states through its participation in a joint Russian-Venezuelan bank. Medvedev will make a repeat visit to the Western Hemisphere this year. Then President Vladimir Putin, now prime minister, also visited Cuba in 2000.

Over the last two years, a parade of pan-handling leftist leaders from the region has made its way to Moscow. These supplicants include Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who makes at least one pilgrimage to Russia each year; Cuba’s Raul Castro, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, and Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner. Moscow will roll out the red carpet (pun intended) for Guatemala’s Alvaro Colom this month.

Everyone was invited to the Cancun super-summit except the USA, Canada, Honduras, and the United Kingdom. The nations of the Western Hemisphere elected not to invite delegates from Washington and Ottawa because together these two capitals are perceived as embodying “US/North American imperialism.” The leftist regimes that dominate the region apparently concluded that because the USA and Canada already exert influence via the Organization of American States (OAS) their participation in CLACS is unwanted.

Honduras’ duly elected president Porfirio Lobo was not invited because only some countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have extended recognition to the new government there.

Lastly, no one from Britain was invited because all of the attendees at the summit agreed that London should relinquish its claims of sovereignty over the Falklands Islands and the adjacent archipelagos of South Georgia and South Sandwich. In fact, Venezuela’s big-mouth communist dictator Hugo Chavez, who has choice words for just about anyone he doesn’t like, had some choice words for Queen Elizabeth II:

Look, England, how long are you going to be in Las Malvinas? Queen of England, I’m talking to you. The time for empires is over, haven’t you noticed? Return the Malvinas to the Argentine people. The English are still threatening Argentina. Things have changed. We are no longer in 1982. If conflict breaks out, be sure Argentina will not be alone like it was back then. Why do the English speak of democracy but still have a Queen?

The British monarch, who is also head of state for a number of countries in the Western Hemisphere, has reigned since 1952.

In 2007 Chavez threatened to attack the Royal Navy if Argentina and Britain once again come to blows over the latter’s South Atlantic Overseas Territory, otherwise known as the Islas Malvinas. For its part Argentina recently imposed a somewhat ineffective blockade in the sea lanes between South America and the Falklands. At stake in the region are offshore oil reserves that British company Desire Petroleum tapped into with its Ocean Guardian drilling rig on February 22.

Not surprisingly, during a private luncheon in Cancun for the visiting national leaders a shouting match erupted between Chavez and his arch-nemesis Alvaro Uribe, Colombia’s president. In an exclusive interview with CNN en Español’s Carmen Aristegui, Chavez offered his version of the headline-grabbing incident:

What I did was respond. [Uribe] could not stand my reasoning and exploded. He said harsh things, I said harsh things, and then Raul Castro came and [summit host Felipe] Calderon [Mexico’s president] came and we sat down and talked, and continued. He [Uribe] accused me of enforcing an economic embargo on many Colombian goods, which is not true.

I think that if the table hadn’t been there as an obstacle, and our friends weren’t sitting right there, that President Uribe physically would’ve attacked me. If this unfortunate incident served as catharsis for Uribe, and he can sleep well tonight because he told me what he wanted to tell me, then may he sleep peacefully. I am willing to speak with him, just like we have talked about a million times.

Major newspapers in Colombia, Argentina, and Spain reported that Uribe told Chavez to “be a man,” while the Venezuelan leader told his Colombian counterpart to “go to hell.” Chavez confirmed the details of the exchange to CNN’s Aristegui. In the same interview, Chavez denied that the new Latin American-Caribbean super-bloc would compete with the Washington-led OAS. “I think that it will be in addition to the OAS, and that the OAS will disappear in the future,” Chavez opined hopefully. Chavez and Uribe are pictured above.

Following Chavez’s dust-up with Uribe, a Spanish judge accused Venezuelan officials of plotting with rebel groups to assassinate the Colombian president. On March 1 Spanish National Court Judge Eloy Velasco charged that Caracas has been acting as an intermediary between Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), the Basque separatist group, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Spanish officials ordered that 12 alleged guerrillas of ETA and FARC stand trial for conspiracy to commit murder and conduct terrorist acts. “There is evidence … showing the cooperation of the Venezuelan government in the illegal collaboration between FARC and ETA,” according to the indictment.

According to Judge Velasco’s 26-page report, as many as six ETA members traveled to Venezuela to train FARC members how to incorporate C4 explosives in cell phone bombs. In at least one instance, the Venezuelan military may have been present for demolitions training. The report also alleges that ETA members may have traveled through Venezuela en route to FARC training camps in Colombia. A Venezuelan agriculture ministry official, identified as Arturo Cubillas Fontan, is believed to be the ETA’s “ringleader” in Latin America and the liaison with FARC. Cubillas Fontan serves as security chief for a Venezuelan government agency called the National Land Institute, which coordinates Chavez’s land redistribution program. The Chavezista regime denies everything. Of course.

So, will Caracas make the US State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism? Last October Florida Representative Connie Mack, ranking Republican in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, introduced a bill calling on the White House to add Venezuela to the list because of its support for Iran, Hezbollah, and FARC. “United States law clearly states that a state sponsor of terrorism is one that repeatedly provides support to acts of international terrorism,” Mack contended at the time, adding: “Hugo Chavez has done so and is a clear threat to our hemisphere.”

On Tuesday Ray Walser of the Heritage Foundation insisted that the Spanish report reinforced the case for President Barack Hussein Obama to place Venezuela outside the pale of “civilized nations.” This past January, in a detailed report on the subject, Walser called Obama’s view that Venezuela is not a threat to US national security “dangerous.” In view of the Russian, Belarusian, Chinese, and Vietnamese troops that will visit Venezuela next month for an independence day march-past, we concur.

>Red Dawn Alert: Communist troops from Russia, Belarus, Red China, Vietnam to participate in Venezuelan Independence Day march-past

>Your resident blogger missed this eye-popping new items several weeks ago. However, it is no less timely now. On February 12 state-run Voice of Russia reported that “Army units from Russia, Belarus, Vietnam and China will participate in the April Independence Day military parade in Venezuela marking the country’s 200th independence anniversary, President Hugo Chavez announced Thursday.”

While this march-past by troops from the Not-So-Former Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, and Communist Vietnam may not be large enough to constitute an invasion force against the USA, the presence of Communist Bloc soldiers in South America accomplishes at least three things: 1) it shows how confident the Soviet strategists are of victory over the USA, especially under the socialist presidency of alleged Soviet mole Barack Hussein Obama, 2) it desensitizes US leaders and citizenry to the presence of communist troops in the Western Hemisphere, and 3) it reveals how confident Chavez is with respect to his own grip on power in Venezuela.

>Buncha Commies Corner: Your resident blogger on his feet again as reds prepare to re-invade USA

>Your resident blogger got bit by a nasty flu bug. In recovery phase. Hope to resume posts this week.

Pictured here: Personal trainer turned actor Michael Knight, starring as Colonel Ivanoff in the re-make of the iconic anti-communist movie Red Dawn, takes a coffee break in the streets of post-invasion Detroit. This time, the Russian invaders receive a lot of help from Red China’s People’s Liberation Army, which was oddly at war with the Soviets in the original film. BTW, those are PLA propaganda banners hanging from the streetlights.

Nearly five years of Sino-Russian military exercises, which were unheard of during the Cold War’s fake Sino-Soviet split, and a renewed Russian presence in Latin America lend credence to this cinematic scenario. Incidentally, the re-tooled version of John Milius’ film will hit the screens several months after Russia and the PRC carry out Peace Mission 2010 in Kazakhstan.

Is reality catching up with fiction?

>Latin America File: Russian FM ends regional tour in Mexico City, US State Dept. gives green light to Russian-Mexican plan to suppress drug cartels

>– Moscow Presents Mexico City with Its Own Version of US Merida Initiative, Offers to Sell Helicopters, Weapons; Russian Military “Advisers” Next?

– 200,000 People Flee Drug War in Ciudad Juarez since 2008, 30,000 Seek Shelter in Neighboring El Paso, Texas; Mexican City’s Once-Prosperous Economy in Danger of Collapsing

On February 16 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with Mexican counterpart Patricia Espinosa in Mexico City, wrapping up a four-nation tour of Latin America, which included stopovers in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Cuba and Nicaragua, of course, are reliable vassal states in the Communist Bloc.

While rubbing elbows with President Daniel Ortega in Managua, Lavrov announced that the two Cold War allies will hold joint military exercises. The date and place of these drills was not stated but, with the expectation that Russian troops could arrive in Central America in the near future, we published this news under a “Red Dawn Alert.” If a Soviet-Sandinista drill had taken place during US President Ronald Reagan’s watch, then the world would have trembled on the brink of nuclear war. Twenty years later, the Obama White House and the MSM cannot be roused from their self-delusions.

In any case, emerging from the Russian-Mexican tete-a-tete was an agreement to start direct flights between Moscow and Cancun. The 14-hour flight to the popular resort destination on the Yucatan Peninsula will offer Russian tourists another vacation hotspot in addition to Cuba. Both countries also emphasized their interest in signing an Investment Promotion and Reciprocal Protection accord, as well as advancing cooperation agreements in energy, nuclear power, maritime and air transportation, and customs clearance.

Espinosa repeated Mexico’s invitation for Russia to participate in events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, which transformed the USA’s southern neighbor into the world’s first socialist republic in February 1917. Mexico City later became a haven for Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, who was attempting to dodge Joseph Stalin’s assassins. The Bolshevik killers eventually caught up with Trotsky, who succumbed to a pickax in the head in 1940.

Pictured above: Espinosa and Lavrov at a previous meeting in Moscow, on October 8, 2008. At the time they discussed reforming the international financial system or, that is, making the world less dependent on the US dollar.

Many decades later, the Soviet strategists still have sinister plans for Mexico. State-run Novosti reports that while visiting Mexico City, Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s readiness to establish joint Russian-Mexican efforts to suppress the drug cartels, whose insurrection also threatens US national security, especially along the porous US-Mexican border.

Under the terms of the Merida Initiative, Washington pledged to supply weapons and other military equipment to the armed forces of Mexico and Central American allies like Honduras. In terms of combating international terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and money laundering, the Merida Initiative parallels Plan Colombia and the October 2009 US-Colombian military pact. In a New Year’s speech, President Felipe Calderon declared that his government’s top priority for 2010 is suppressing the cartels. The US government, though, has been slack in expediting the arrival of badly needed counter-insurgency hardware.

The presentation of a Russian version of the Merida Initiative, therefore, dovetails nicely with the Soviet strategy for destabilizing Mexico prior to attacking the USA. We have elsewhere documented that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the main source of South American coke, and the Mexican drug cartels are recipients of arms supplied by the Russian Mafia. The latter is a well-known front for Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), itself a repackaged version of the Soviet KGB’s overseas department, and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces (GRU).

Most troubling of all, the US State Department, long infiltrated by communist agents, has given Moscow the green light to arm the Mexican military. State Dept. spokesman Mark Toner recently soothed: “There are no grounds for anxiety. I mean, Mexico is a close neighbor, friend, partner with the United States. I would just say it’s welcome to pursue bilateral relationships with any country it wants to, including Russia.” When reporters asked Toner whether the strengthening of ties between Russia and Mexico would adversely affect US-Russian relations, Toner said: “No, I don’t believe so.”

Lavrov, too, downplayed Moscow’s geopolitical interest in Latin America, as well as its marketing campaign for Russian-built weapons:

We have recently increased supplies of Russian arms in various regions of the world, including Latin America; our interests are purely commercial.

Russia is still behind the United States [in terms of sales], but we’re seeing certain rather serious progress. The Mexican government is interested in acquiring different types of weapons, including helicopters for coastal monitoring, and other equipment to fight drug trafficking and organized crime, that I hope will help our Mexican friends to combat this scourge.

The epicenter of Mexico’s narco-insurgency is Ciudad Juarez, a once-prosperous city whose population of 1.5 million has contracted by 200,000 since mid-2008. Fearing for their lives, wealthy and middle class families, as well as skilled workers have fled the war zone for other cities such as Guadalajara and Monterrey. Nearly 30,000 residents have sought shelter over the border to El Paso, Texas.

About one quarter of the city’s houses is vacant. Many shops and restaurants are shuttered. Mounds of garbage fill streets where the only parked cars are bullet-riddled ones. Civilians are scarcely seen in streets patrolled by soldiers and elite police units. Drug gangs in league with corrupt law enforcement officers run extortion rackets.

Although factories continue to operate, US businessmen are curtailing investment in the region and the exodus of skilled workers threatens to create a labor shortage. In 2008 the region handled US$50 billion in trade, but now faces a bleak future.

Drug killings in Ciudad Juarez exploded in early 2008 when Mexico’s most-wanted drug lord, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, dispatched his henchmen to wrest the city’s drug corridor from the local cartel headed by Vicente Carrillo Fuentes. From the vantage of Latin America’s cocaine kingpins Ciudad Juarez is strategically situated at the midpoint of the US-Mexican border and boasts highway and rail links deep into the target country. Not so coincidentally, from the vantage of Russia’s military planners, the US Army’s second-largest installation in the Continental USA, Ford Bliss, is located nearby.

Since 2008 more than 4,500 drug operatives–working for half a dozen feuding cartels– civilians, soldiers, and police have been shot dead and/or decapitated in the city’s bloody turf wars. A dozen drug murders occur every day. Across Mexico 18,000 people have died since Calderon launched his crackdown in 2006. Casualty estimates vary and it is therefore likely that we have quoted different figures in different posts.

Having fomented Mexico’s narco-insurgency, the Soviet strategists now offer “solutions” consisting of an expanding net of bilateral relations and opportunities to legitimately insert Russian military “advisers” into Mexico. At the same time, the drug cartels can be expected to intensify their war against the government, while the beleaguered populace once again demands United Nations intervention, such as was issued by Ciudad Juarez business leaders last November. If either scenario comes to pass, then you can be assured that we will issue another “Red Dawn Alert.”

>Blast from the Past File: Possible repeat of 1982 Falklands war brewing as Argentina imposes blockade, Chavez threatened to attack Royal Navy in 2007

>On February 16 President Cristina Kirchner, a close ally of Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela, issued a decree asserting the right to control all shipping between Argentina’s coast and the Falkland Islands, in effect granting her government the power to blockade the disputed islands. Argentina is trying to prevent British companies exploiting what geologists estimate could be 60 billion barrels of crude in the seabed around the islands.

“Any boat that wants to travel between ports on the Argentine mainland to the Islas Malvinas, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands . . . must first ask for permission from the Argentine Government,” threatened Aníbal Fernández, chief of Kirchner’s cabinet.

Buenos Aires is annoyed by London’s refusal to halt oil explorations in the face of its long-standing claim of sovereignty over the “Islas Malvinas,” which Argentina controlled between 1774 and 1883. At this point Britain seized the archipelago on the basis of reestablishing a still earlier settlement.

Pictured above: Kirchner visits the ailing Fidel Castro in Havana in 2009.

Last week, Argentine authorities detained a ship, Thor Leader, which they contended had been illegally transporting pipes to the Falklands. The impending arrival of the Ocean Guardian drilling rig has exacerbated tensions, amid reports the platform has been shadowed by Argentine fighter jets during the final leg of its transatlantic journey from Scotland. The majority of the exploration rights in Britain’s South Atlantic Overseas Territories has been awarded to London-based Desire Petroleum, which will drill in the area for the first time since Royal Dutch Shell gave up its bid in 1998.

Britain has stationed a large garrison of soldiers and four Typhoon fighter jets in the capital, Port Stanley, while more than 300 sailors aboard the HMS York destroyer are patrolling the waters around the Falklands. This week a spokesman for the British Ministry of Defense (MOD) related:

The Government is fully committed to the South Atlantic Overseas Territories which include the Falkland Islands. A deterrence force is maintained on the Islands. That deterrence force comprises a wide range of land, air and maritime assets which collectively maintain our defence posture. We have a permanent presence in the South Atlantic including one frigate/destroyer, a patrol vessel, a survey ship and a replenishment vessel. We also have 1,076 service personnel on land.

Referring to the HMS York, a senior Royal Navy source reportedly stated “The ship will discourage the Argentines from trying anything with our shipping. If they do, the Navy are there to stop them.”

Falklanders are complacent about the prospect of a new conflict. “There has been an economic blockade of the Falklands from Argentina for many years,” observed Roger Spink, director of the Falkland Islands Company, adding: “It’s something we’ve come to expect.”

On February 18, BBC News quoted Prime Minister Gordon Brown as saying that “We have made all the preparations that are necessary to protect the Falkland Islands.” The MOD also denied reports that a naval taskforce has been dispatched to the Falklands.

Britain and Argentina last crossed swords over the South Atlantic archipelago in 1982, beginning on April 2, when Argentine troops invaded and occupied the Falklands and South Georgia. Argentina surrendered on June 14, but only after the deaths of 255 British and 649 Argentine soldiers, sailors, and airmen, and three civilian Falklanders. At the time Margaret Thatcher, a close ally of the USA and personal friend of US President Ronald Reagan, was the British prime minister, while General Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri Castelli led the military junta that ruled Argentina. Galtieri was ousted from power soon after the British retook the “Islas Malvinas,” whose invasion he ordered.

Nearly 30 years later the political climate in Latin America has changed dramatically. Anti-communist military dictatorships no longer prevail throughout the region. Instead, the Soviet/Cuban-backed guerrillas operating throughout the Western Hemisphere relinquished their guns (for now), donned dress jackets, and achieved power through the ballot box. These are the politicians who will now most likely cluster in support around President Kirchner.

In September 2007 Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez rushed to the defense of his Argentine ally by denouncing the “British occupation” of the Falkland, South Georgia, and South Sandwich Islands. At the time Cristina’s husband, Nestor, was president. Ranting on his weekly show Alo Presidente, Chavez explained how the Venezuelan armed forces would trounce the Royal Navy if London and Buenos Aires come to blows again: “If we [Venezuela and Argentina] had been united in the last war, we could have stopped the old empire. Today we could sink the British fleet. British history is stained with the blood of South America’s indigenous people. We will avenge the cowardly sinking of the General Belgrano.” The last is a reference to the ARA General Belgrano, an Argentine Navy cruiser sunk during the Falklands War by the Royal Navy submarine HMS Conqueror, with the loss of 323 lives.

Journalist Martin Arostegui, writing for The Times, opined: “Military analysts say Venezuela’s lengthening military reach might seriously impede any British attempt to dispatch a new task force.”

>Red Dawn Alert: Russia to potentially deploy troops in Central America as Lavrov arrives in Managua, announces joint military drills with Nicaragua

>– Russian Foreign Minister on Four-Nation Latin America Tour, Visits Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico

– Lavrov Denies Rumors that Russia and Guatemala also Contemplating Joint Military Drills; Center-Left President Colom to Visit Moscow in March

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is in the midst of a four-nation Latin America tour that took him to Cuba and Nicaragua, both communist-controlled states, as well as Guatemala and Mexico. Guatemala’s center-left government is pro-Cuban and also beholden to Venezuela’s red dictator Hugo Chavez by way of Petrocaribe, which sells oil to participating states on preferential terms. Meanwhile, the Soviet strategists are arming the Mexican drug cartels with the intent of destabilizing US national security by creating a failed state south of the Rio Grande.

On February 11 Lavrov arrived in Havana where he met with Cuban President Raul Castro, a long-time KGB asset along with his cadaverous older brother Fidel. Cuban state television showed images of the cordial exchange, which follows the official visits of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Cuba in November 2008, of President Castro to Russia in January 2009, and Russia’s top general, Nikolai Makarov, to Cuba in September 2009. Comrade Raul asked Lavrov to convey his greetings to the Russian president and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russia’s KGB-communist dictator. Also participating in the meeting were Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and Russia’s ambassador to Havana, Mikhail Kamynin.

Upon signing three documents of bilateral cooperation, former Soviet apparatchik Lavrov gushed: “I believe that all this work has enriched and strengthened our relations, converting them into a truly strategic association.” Granma, the website of the Communist Party of Cuba, relates that the Russian and Cuban foreign ministries established a plan covering the 2010-2011 period that will “fortify the excellent existing political links between the two governments via periodic interchanges on general, regional and multilateral issues.” Russia has already pledged to upgrade the Soviet-era weapons and air defense systems of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, as well as train Cuban soldiers in up-to-date combat techniques.

In true communist fashion, Moscow and Havana released a joint statement that acknowledged the 65th anniversary of the victory over fascism, which “underlines its significance and contains the parties’ intention to contribute to the consolidation of the ideals of peace, greater understanding and friendship among the peoples.” The joint statement also acknowledged the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the reestablishing of diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and Cuba, significantly “confirming a will to celebrate that important date.”

For his part, relates Granma, Lavrov reiterated Russia’s “total condemnation” of the US economic blockade against the communist island. Russia’s foreign minister intoned: “Russia and Cuba share many things, such as our adherence to common ideals, international law and legality, to the UN and to joint efforts to resolve all kinds of problems. We share a very strong human warmth between the Russian and Cuban peoples and this warmth gives our relations a solid foundation.” Lavrov wrapped up his Cuban cruise by placing a wreath at the monument to Jose Marti in the Plaza of the Revolution.

The Kremlin-run media has been gloating over the resumption of open ties between Russia and Cuba, right under the nose of “US imperialism.” On February 12 Russia Today showed its true color (red), by extensively quoting a Kommersant article by Vitaly Makarov. Prior to the staged dissolution of communism, Comrade Makarov worked in the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. “There is no longer an ideological opposition between Russia and the US,” he writes, “and the opportunities of Russian and American cooperation with Cuba have grown significantly.” Comrade Makarov continues:

Lavrov’s visit to Cuba is devoted not only to the bilateral relations. The agenda is much broader, which is only logical. Cuba may occupy a new place in the world architecture if the process of creating polycentric international system is successful.

One of the main issues of current politics–resetting Russian-US relations–requires not only overhauling many bilateral principles, but also taking into account a number of international factors, including those linked to Cuba.

That country was one of the main irritants in our relations with Washington for many years. Since the breakup of the USSR we have become estranged from Cuba, which we once called the Island of freedom. However, not long ago a new rapprochement between Moscow and Havana began.

Clearly, Washington is watching this suspiciously, and it could not be otherwise. Cuban geopolitical situation for centuries has determined the competition between the Old World and the New World for influence on that country. And this competition continues, affecting, in particular, Russian-US relations.”

Cubans have already been following the way of independence for half a century. There is no longer an ideological opposition between Russia and the US, and the opportunities of Russian and American cooperation with Cuba have grown significantly.

At the same time, these opportunities depend in many ways on taking into account the positions of all sides, especially Cuba as the most sensitive partner in relations with the giants in this group of three. That is why Moscow supports the demand that the blockade against Cuba should be lifted.

South American countries are increasingly becoming a new center of international political alignment. They now have their own interests in world politics that in many ways do not coincide with US interests. But Russia’s course towards strengthening partnership with the countries of the region is a strategic one, and is not aimed against other states, as some analysts say.

Of course there’s no longer any “ideological opposition” between Russia and the USA, as Makarov comments above. The Soviets feigned their demise and a socialist president, Barack Hussein Obama, sits in the Oval Office. Peaceful East-West convergence is precisely what the Soviet strategists wanted and have thus far achieved.

After pumping up Russia’s Cuban allies, Lavrov flew to Managua where he met with his Nicaraguan counterpart Samuel Santos Lopez (pictured below) and Lopez’s boss, Daniel Ortega (pictured above). Afterward, Lavrov made the following announcement that conjures up the unpleasant scenario of Russian troops arriving in Central America: “Russia and Nicaragua are preparing for joint military exercises. Russia will continue its humanitarian aid to Nicaragua.”

For his part, Ortega announced that Nicaragua and Russia plan to boost efforts to eradicate drug trafficking and organized crime: “We have military and technical cooperation to jointly strengthen the potential of our army and police in fighting against drug trafficking and organized crime.” To further that cooperation, the Nicaraguan and Russian foreign ministers announced the creation of a Nicaragua-Russia Commission that will not only coordinate cooperation in the suppression of the narcotics trade, but also in the areas of telecommunications, transportation, infrastructure, and agriculture.

Incidentally, that the Moscow-Managua Axis would announce its commitment to combating the drug cartels is disingenuous at best since the role of Ortega in the Soviets’ narco-subversion plot against the West, at least back in the 1980s, has been well documented at this blog and in books like Joseph Douglass’ Red Cocaine (1990).

Lavrov’s official trip to Nicaragua was an historic first, since no Soviet/Russian foreign minister has ever travelled to Managua since the two countries established formal diplomatic ties in 1944. Lavrov, however, is not the first high-ranking Russian official to visit Nicaragua since Ortega became president again in January 2007. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, the GRU’s liaison with Latin America’s guerrilla armies during the Cold War, travelled to Managua twice in 2008 and once in 2009. Reliable KGB asset Ortega made his first post-Cold War pilgrimage to Moscow in December 2008. Fellow Sandinistas Lopez and the country’s previous top army commander, General Omar Halleslevens, have also materialized in Moscow.

After conspiring with Ortega, Lavrov flew to Guatemala City where he was welcomed by President Alvaro Colom, the country’s first center-left leader since the military deposed the communist-backed President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in 1954. Lavrov also conferred with his Guatemalan counterpart, Haroldo Rodas. In a joint press conference with Rodas, Lavrov announced that Russia and Guatemala had developed a framework to jointly combat drug trafficking and organized crime that will involve training, joint exercises and technology transfer. As with the first and second Sandinista regimes in Nicaragua, any Kremlin involvement in the war against drugs must be viewed as a tactical feint to hide the fact that the Red Mafiya/SVR/GRU is arming the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Mexican drug cartels.

Colom, moreover, indicated that he was interested in seeing Russian oil and gas companies exploit Guatemala’s energy reserves, as well as Russian companies develop the Central American country’s telecommunications and tourism industries. Lavrov denied reports that he and Colom had discussed the subject of “military exchange” (drills?), although his host had apparently voiced interest in that prospect. Apart from then President Vladimir Putin, who visited Guatemala in 2007 to inaugurate Russia’s first embassy, this is the first time that a Soviet/Russian foreign minister has visited Guatemala. President Colom plans to visit Moscow in March.

The Guatemala Times summarized Guatemalan-Russian relations in the following way: “Both countries advocate the creation of a democratic multipolar world order, respect for the principles of international law, sovereignty and consideration of the legitimate interests of all countries, and a stronger role for the UN as a universal mechanism for preserving peace and strategic stability.” In other words, Guatemala City and Moscow both reject a US-dominated world and support world government.

After rubbing elbows with the Guatemalan president, Lavrov wound up his Latin American excursion by flying to Mexico City, where he was received by President Felipe Calderon and Calderon’s foreign minister Patricia Espinoza Castellano. In the Mexican capital Lavrov attended the opening of a Russian Language Center at the National Polytechnical Institute. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesentity Andrei Nesterenko provided a synopsis of the agenda under consideration by Russian and Mexican leaders. Joint cooperation in the oil and gas sectors was high on that agenda. Nesterenko comments:

The visit is intended to promote a further strengthening of the political dialogue between our two countries, and practical headway in mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields.

People in Russia regard Mexico as a state that is traditionally friendly to us, and as earnest and trusted partner in the international arena. Our relations are one of the main orientations of Russia’s foreign policy in Latin America region.

Russia and Mexico are brought together by striving to exercise democratic principles in practice in efforts to settle international problems of current concern, and strictly observe international law, primarily the United Nations Charter, and strengthen the central role of the UN and the UN Security Council as the universal instrument for the maintenance of peace and settlement of conflict situations.

Both countries agree that a serious threat to universal security is posed by such phenomena as international terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism. Moscow and Mexico City are interested in establishing an effective interaction in the interests of counteracting new threats and challenges of our times, first of all the trafficking of narcotics, and transnational organized crime.

Our two countries devote appreciable attention to the problems of overcoming the global financial and economic downturn and with this end in view actively interact in a multilateral format in the interest of reforming international financial institutions, and raising the efficiency of regulation and transparency of the financial sector.

Our cultural and humanitarian contacts are notable for traditional dynamism. Days of Russia in Mexico and Days of Mexico in Russia (festivals) are held on a regular basis, and a wide experience has been gained in exchanges of cultural treasures.

Nesterenko concludes with the troubling observation: “Many Russian scientists work in Mexico on a contractual basis; joint research projects are being implemented, and Mexican specialists are trained in Russian institutions of higher learning.” As with Russia’s other Latin American allies, we see that Mexico City and Moscow both reject a US-dominated world and support world government. As above, too, any Kremlin involvement in the war against drugs must be viewed as a tactical feint to hide the fact that the Red Mafiya/SVR/GRU is arming the FARC and the Mexican drug cartels.

Analyzing Soviet Strategy in Latin America in Light of the Announced Russian-Nicaraguan Military Drills

The announcement of Russian-Nicaraguan military drills should be viewed, we believe, in the context of other developments that suggest the incremental formation by Moscow of a Red Dawn-style military coalition in Latin America:

1) On September 10, 2008, one day before the seventh anniversary of the 911 attacks, the Russian Air Force dispatched two supersonic Blackjack bombers to Venezuela, providing President Chavez another opportunity to thumb his nose at the USA. Under the watchful presence of two Russian bomber crews, the Venezuelan armed forces repulsed a mock US invasion. In November the Russian and Venezuelan navies held a combined drill in the southern Caribbean Sea. Afterwards the Russian destroyer Admiral Chabanenko transited the Panama Canal in a “first” not witnessed since the Second World War.

2) In October 2008 Nicaragua Today published an article alleging that Ortega and Chavez are plotting to provoke a war with Colombia in order to justify a military assault against the US ally and summon Russian intervention in the Caribbean region. Both Venezuela and Colombia are presently militarizing their common border in expectation of hostilities as Chavez rants against the US-Colombian pact that will see the deployment of 800 US counter-narcotics troops in the South American country. The same Nicaragua Today article contends that Russian special forces, as they reportedly did in the 1980s, are training in Nicaragua’s remote North Atlantic Autonomous Region, a haven for cocaine trafficking.

3) In November 2008 Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Sechin travelled to Managua, where he pledged to rehabilitate the Soviet/Cuban-built runway at Punta Huete, north of Lake Managua. This never-used military airstrip, which featured anti-aircraft batteries, can accommodate the Kremlin’s Tu-160 and Tu-95 strategic bombers. These, of course, could be brought into Nicaragua under the guise of the military drills announced last week. Moscow has also pledged to upgrade the weapons systems of the Nicaraguan National Army, known as the Sandinista Popular Army until 1995 and still under Sandinista control. In December 2008 the Russian destroyer mentioned above weighed anchor at the port of Bluefields, on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast. There it unloaded what was supposedly generators and computers for the Nicaraguan army and police.

4) Last September it was first announced that the Nicaraguan military is scheduled to hold a two-month drill with its Venezuelan counterpart between May 1 and June 30, 2010. Although a skeleton crew of 30 Venezuelan soldiers is expected, the number of Venezuelan warplanes and warships to be brought into Nicaragua has not been revealed. Both Ortega and Chavez have articulated their commitment to transforming the political-economic-cultural bloc known as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas into an “anti-imperialist” (meaning anti-USA) military pact. Russia, moreover, has expressed its interest in joining this international alliance, which includes Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador and several Caribbean states.

During last year’s Honduran crisis, the interim government of President Roberto Micheletti charged that Venezuela and Nicaragua were planning to invade Honduras and re-install Manuel Zelaya, now in exile in the Dominican Republic. It is a published fact that within 24 hours of the June 28 coup that deposed Zelaya, Chavez threatened to throw his military against Honduras. Latin America’s Red Axis does not accept the legitimacy of duly elected President Porfirio Lobo and, thus, Honduras remains an irritant to the region’s leftist leaders.

5) In a possibly related story, last December state-controlled Russian wireless communication company Yota installed a 4th-generation Internet network in Nicaragua in record time. In a previous post we speculated that one day the Russian Armed Forces might show up in Central America and utilize this communication system that has definite military application. It seems this may be the case. On February 12 Russian Foreign Ministry spokesentity Nesterenko, quoted above, commented on Nicaragua’s Kremlin-assisted boost into the Cyber Age:

The past year saw the realization of the first stage of the project to deploy a Mobile WiMAX-based fourth generation wireless communication network in Nicaragua. There has been created a Russian-Nicaraguan joint venture “Yota – Nicaragua” (founder from the Russian side being the company “Yota”,” which is a part of the Rostekhnologii State Corporation). In December 2009, in Managua, the Yota-Nicaragua telecommunications network was put into trial operation.

Just in time for the retooled version of Red Dawn to hit the screens, we are awaiting word for the return of Cuban troops to Central America in what appears to be a quietly growing Soviet-Cuban-Venezuelan-Nicaraguan military quartet.

>Latin America File: Colombia captures 10 Marxist rebels, FARC allied with Venezuelan insurgents; Peru arrests 3 Shining Path guerrillas

>– Colombia Establishes Anti-FARC Security Pact with Panama, Alliances with Region’s Few Center-Right Governments Include Honduras

– Communist Party of Venezuela Lifts Page from Chavez Script, Alleges USA, Colombia, and Rightist Paramilitaries Conspiring to Subvert “Bolivarian Revolution” and Provoke War with Venezuela

– Chavez Avoids Encounter with Colombian Counterpart Uribe, Bails out of Unasur’s Haiti Aid Summit in Quito

The “Red Spread” in Latin America that we closely monitor at this blog consists not only of democratically elected leftist regimes, but also leftist insurgencies that sometimes cultivate not-so-covert ties to the former. The region’s Red Axis, as we have documented on many occasions, is also inextricably entwined with the illegal narcotics trade.

Last Tuesday the Colombian army captured 10 Marxist rebels in several operations in Norte de Santander province, which borders Venezuela. The detentions were made in the towns of Teorama, El Tarra, and Convencion. All of the detainees are accused of belonging to the financial and military network of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the larger of the two communist insurgent armies in that country. The FARC operates from bases in Venezuela and Ecuador, both of which sport leftist regimes sympathetic to the aims of the guerrillas, which is to overthrow the “bourgeois” government of President Alvaro Uribe and establish a “proletarian dictatorship.” Uribe is pictured above at the Unasur summit in Quito, on February 9, 2010.

Yesterday, according to Reuters, five people were killed and four wounded after FARC guerrillas ambushed and attempted to kidnap a candidate for the governor’s post in the southern province of Guaviare. Gunmen shot up a convoy transporting Conservative Party candidate Jose Alberto Perez. Perez, who will be running in a special February 28 election organized after the previous governor resigned, was among the wounded. “Once a mighty peasant army that controlled large swaths of Colombia,” relates Reuters, “the FARC has been battered by the loss of several top commanders and a flood of desertions as its fighters come under increasing military pressure.”

Still, Colombia’s communist insurgency is not dead yet, which is one reason why Bogota is seeking to establish a security pact with the center-right government in Panama City. On Friday Colombian Foreign Minister Gabriel Silva traveled to Panama where he met with President Ricardo Martinelli to discuss deeper cooperation between the two countries in suppressing the FARC along their short common border. Earlier this month President Uribe flew to Tegucigalpa where he met with Honduran counterpart Porfirio Lobo. There the two leaders established a similar security pact to crush the region’s narcotics trade. At the time we suggested that Bogota would be well-advised to expand its alliances with the few center-right governments in Latin America. It appears we are vindicated in that prediction.

According to Bogota’s El Tiempo daily, since at least 2002 four armed militias in Venezuela are in close contact with the FARC. Citing Colombia’s spy agency, the Department of Administrative Security (DAS), El Tiempo reports that the FARC has “direct connections” to the Carapaica Revolutionary Movement, Tupamaro Popular Resistance Front, Bolivarian Liberation Forces, and Cuban-Venezuelan Liberation Troops.

The DAS obtained much of this evidence from the now infamous laptop computers of FARC leader Raul Reyes, who was killed when the Colombian army stormed his jungle camp in Ecuador in March 2008. The data on Reyes’ computers, which were authenticated by Interpol, has in fact yielded a wealth of incriminating evidence that links the FARC to the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador, as well as to alleged Russian GRU agent and arms dealer Viktor Bout. Bout, who was arrested about the same time as Reyes’ death and is still cooling his heels in a Thai jail, is the subject of a US extradition request. Moscow disavows any connection with the self-avowed “businessman,” who was a young soldier when the Soviet Union “collapsed” more than 18 years ago.

According to the DAS, archives and emails from the FARC laptops show how the Venezuelan militias plan to undertake military training with the FARC. The liaison between the Venezuelan and Colombian rebels is a man named “Simon Leguizamon,” who apparently moves freely across the border.

An email from the FARC’s 33rd Front reportedly gave instructions to “people from the Sector 23 de Enero” in Venezuela. In January 2009 the Carapaica Revolutionary Movement released a video that depicted armed and masked members of the group in Barrio 23 de Enero, a neighborhood in Caracas. In the video the group’s leader, known as “Commander Murachi,” denounced the “pseudo-revolutionaries” in President Hugo Chavez’s government. A US intelligence report estimates that in 2008 there were 40 members of Carapaica.

Apparently hard-core commie Chavez, who has appointed Cuban Vice President Ramiro Valdez to head a commission to resolve Venezuela’s energy crisis, is not hard-core enough for Venezuela’s armed leftist formations. Of course, Venezuela’s guerrillas could very well be in cahoots with Chavez, who will one day sick them on the Venezuelan people in a final bid to crush the opposition.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), which has representation in the National Assembly and openly supports the Chavezista regime, alleges that the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia is conspiring with the Colombian government to assassinate and kidnap “social fighters and revolutionary personalities” in Venezuela, especially in the western state of Zulia. PCV spokesman Eduardo Marmol issued this claim to the press in Maracaibo this week. On the anti-communist paramilitaries’ hit list is reportedly Oscar Figuera, secretary general of the PCV.

Taking a page from President Chavez’s monotonous “anti-imperialist” script, the PCV Politburo charges that the USA is prodding both the Colombian government and paramilitaries into taking actions that will subvert Chavez’s “Bolivarian Revolution.” One such plot hatched by Washington and Bogota, contends PCV Politburo member Yul Jabour, is to kidnap revolutionary leaders, transport them across the border to Colombia, simulate a clash with the FARC, and then accuse Venezuelan leftists of aiding the Colombian guerillas.

The reality, of course, as reported above, is that the Venezuelan government and assorted state and non-state actors in the region are in fact colluding with FARC. We rather suspect, however, that all of the conspiracy theories floated by Red Axis actors are simply providing cover, or plausible deniability, for their own secret plan to provoke war with US ally Colombia. When a border clash finally erupts between Venezuelan and Colombian soldiers Chavez and his red buddies in the region will very likely use this incident to justify their own aggression.

In a related story, Chavez, in a last-minute decision, bailed out of last Tuesday’s Union of South American Nations (Unasur) summit in Quito, called by Ecuadorean counterpart Rafael Correa to pool resources to help quake-ravaged Haiti. According to Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, Chavez elected to stay in Caracas to manage problems related to the domestic power shortage. It may be, too, that Venezuela’s red dictator hoped to avoid his arch-nemesis, Uribe, who was also scheduled to attend the Unasur meeting.

Diminished Shining Path Approaches Fourth Decade of Insurgency

Although nowhere near the force it was during the 1980s and 1990s, when Communist Party of Peru cadres killed nearly 70,000 civilians and soldiers, a numerically diminished Shining Path still operates in Peru’s Upper Huallaga Valley and the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene Rivers, or VRAE, region. Both territories are centers of coca cultivation and cocaine production. This past week, Peruvian police arrested three suspected Shining Path guerrillas in Huanuco province, located 250 miles northeast of Lima, the national capital.

The Maoist insurgents, who were captured in different towns, are accused of belonging to the Shining Path’s Huallaga Regional Committee. The men were arrested at their homes under court-issued warrants as part of the investigation into the murder of two people in 2009 and the murders of seven family members in 2005. Police counterinsurgency units captured two other suspected Shining Path commanders last week in the same province. Peru’s Interior Minister Octavio Salazar insists that the police operations are “closing the circle” around the rebel army’s “Comrade Artemio,” the nom de guerre of Filomeno Cerron Cardoso.

On January 27, possibly with the intent of regrouping and rearming, “Comrade Artemio” proclaimed a cessation of armed actions and called on the government to “enter a dialogue.” “This is an announcement of the suspension of military actions and we will limit ourselves to agitation and propaganda. [But] we will respond if we are attacked,” stated Cardoso in a message broadcast over Amistad radio, in the jungle region of Ucayali. “Comrade Artemio” rejected the label of “narco-terrorists” that Peruvian officials have sought to pin on the insurgents. He also denounced another Shining Path faction under the command of “Comrade Jose” and “Comrade Raul,” who have publicly urged the execution of the guerrilla group’s jailed founder, Abimael Guzman, who was captured in 1992. Lately, more than 40 Peruvian soldiers have died in ambushes and attacks by Shining Path fighters in the VRAE.

Chinchilla Likely to Reprise Arias’ Role as Regional Voice of Dialogue and Moderation

Meanwhile, one week ago Costa Rican voters elected their first female president, Laura Chinchilla, outgoing president Oscar Arias’ anointed successor from the center-left National Liberation Party. A social conservative opposed to abortion and “gay marriage,” Chinchilla has promised to continue President Arias’ welfare and free trade policies. In the late 1980s, during his first presidential term, Arias won a Nobel prize for facilitating a peace deal that ended the ideological civil wars in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

This past weekend’s election in Costa Rica is also historically significant because Chinchilla’s running mate was Luis Lieberman, a Polish Jew by descent. The former banker, now Costa Rica’s first Jewish vice president, denied that his religion had any bearing on his candidacy. About 3,000 Jews live in the Central American country, out of a total population of 4.2 million.

Chinchilla’s victory was hailed from various quarters, including the Organization of American States; the US ambassador in San Jose, Anne S. Andrew; the Spanish and Colombian governments; and Central American leaders such as Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom, a center-leftist like Chinchilla,Link and Nicaraguan Vice President Jaime Morales, a former Contra who was invited by Sandinista Comandante Daniel Ortega to run on a national reconciliation platform in 2006.

The only other female head of state in Latin America is Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner, yet another center-leftist, but one who is a close ally of Chavez. Michelle Bachelet, the socialist president of Chile, will finish her term next month, when she is replaced by Sebastian Pinera, an economic conservative who has promised to retain the outgoing Concertacion government’s social welfare policies.

No doubt, upon her inauguration in May, Chinchilla will reprise Arias’ role as a voice for dialogue and moderation, a position that will very likely irk communist demagogues like Chavez and his buddies in Latin America’s Red Axis. The fact that Costa Rica’s new VP is Jewish will also probably annoy Chavez in view of his anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian/Iranian/Hezbollah sentiments.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Kremlin bold over Yanukovich win: Russia, Ukraine, other "ex"-Soviet Bloc states to hold joint military drills

>The government daily Komsomolskaya Pravda announced yesterday and the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that the Russian and Ukrainian armed forces will stage a combined air force exercise this autumn. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has refused to comment on the news. Russian Air Force commander General Alexander Zelin acknowledged that his country will also conduct military drills with Belarus, Armenia, Uzbekistan, and “former” Soviet Bloc states, not just apparently “former” Soviet republics.

Pictured above: Supporters of presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich attend a rally outside Ukraine’s central electoral commission in Kiev, on February 10, 2010.

Tellingly, Komsomolskaya Pravda admits that since pro-Moscow candidate Victor Yanukovich won the presidential run-off election in Ukraine last Sunday, joint military exercises involving both Russia and Ukraine are likely to happen more often. “The vast air space will fit both [nations] again,” gushes the Kremlin-connected tabloid. Yanukovich, it should be noted, is an “ex”-cadre of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union so he has much in common with Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin has repeatedly fulminated against NATO’s enlargement into its old turf in Eastern Europe. However, Yanukovich’s victory–which he was denied in 2004 when Viktor Yushchenko was awarded the presidency by Ukraine’s Supreme Court–will once again firmly place Kiev in Moscow’s orbit and halt the “Orange” regime’s march toward NATO. Recently, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council and former chief of the Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB), accused “former” Warsaw Pact countries that bolted to NATO in the late 1990s and early 2000s of trying to “drag” Ukraine and Georgia into the treaty.

“The Russian-Ukraine military exercise,” opines the Polish media, “might be interpreted as a demonstration of how close the ties between the two countries my be currently construed, as the post of the president of Ukraine was taken by Victor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian politician who opposes Ukraine’s membership in NATO.” Under a Yanukovich presidency Ukraine could very well join the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which may as well be a placeholder for the supposedly defunct Soviet Armed Forces.

Meanwhile, twice-convicted violent felon Yanukovich is demanding that his chief electoral rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko step down from her post: “I call on the prime minister to resign and go into opposition. I want to remind Mrs Tymoshenko that the basis of democracy is the will of the people. Democratic leaders always accept the results of the elections. The country does not need a new crisis.” Yanukovich is widely perceived as being in the backpocket of the Donetsk mafia, a clique of powerful businessmen in the province over which the president elect was governor between 1997 and 2002. For her part, Komsomol businesswoman Tymoshenko intends to launch a legal challenge against the election results.

Elsewhere in the “post”-Soviet space Tajiks are despairing over the available options in the parliamentary election to take place on February 28. President Emomalii Rahmon’s allies are poised to win most of the seats in the lower house of parliament. The opposition Islamic Renaissance Party holds only two seats in the 63-seat chamber, while the pro-government People’s Democratic Party of Tajikistan and Tajik Communist Party control the rest. “Ex”-CPSU cadre Rahmon led pro-Russian forces in a devastating 1992-1997 civil war against an alliance of Islamists and liberal democrats.

>EU/USSR2 Files: Belarusian police arrest ethnic Polish activists, journalist employed by Warsaw’s Belsat TV; Poland withdraws ambassador from Minsk

>As we suspected in a previous post, the Soviet strategists are enflaming nationalist tensions between Belarusians and ethnic Poles in Belarus in order to drive a wedge between Warsaw Pact-turned-NATO state Poland and “former” Soviet republic Belarus.

On Monday police evicted the staff of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB) from their building in the town of Ivyanets, 50 kilometers from Minsk. The ZPB staff included elderly Belarusian Poles, as pictured above. ZPB activist Andrzej Poczobut related that he was prevented by police from driving to Ivyanets. In protest, the Polish government has withdrawn its ambassador from Minsk and summoned Belarus’ ambassador Viktar Haysionak to the foreign ministry building in Warsaw. There Haysionak was told by Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer that “Poland considers such repressive actions to be unacceptable.”

The ZPB, which is led by Anzhelika Borys, has spent years trying unsuccessfully to register with the Belarusian government. The ZPB, which boasts 20,000 members, promotes the Polish language and cultural traditions among ethnic Poles living in Belarus. About four percent of Belarus’ 9.7 million people are ethnic Poles.

In an attempt to manipulate the country’s Polish minority, Belarusian officials have registered an alternative organization called the Union of Belarusian Poles, which is loyal to President Alexander Lukashenko. This phony group is led by Stanislaw Semaczko, who recently urged officials in Ivyanets to confiscate the ZPB’s building and give it to his organization.

This past Monday’s detentions follow the February 3 arrest of independent Belarusian journalist Ivan Shulha, who was convicted of petty hooliganism and sentenced to 10 days in jail. Shulha was detained when police showed up at the apartment of Mikhail Yanchuk, a correspondent of the Warsaw-based Belsat television channel. Belsat director Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy complained that “The police action was an attempt to discredit independent journalists in Belarus.”

Shulha is a member of the nongovernmental organization Belarusian Journalists Association and is a contributor to Belsat TV programs. Belsat is a satellite television channel founded by the Polish Foreign Ministry and the Polish public television company Telewizja Polska in 2007. Belsat broadcasts to Belarus and operates a network of journalists in Poland, Belarus, and Lithuania.

In a related story, on Monday Krzysztof Skubiszewski, Poland’s first post-communist foreign minister, died at the age of 83 years. Skubiszewski served in four successive governments from 1989, when non-communists were admitted into a power-sharing arrangement with the ruling Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR), until 1993. He helped to improve ties between Poland and the newly reunited Germany with an accord confirming their shared border. He also coordinated negotiations with NATO and the European Union which ended with Poland joining both groups, in 1999 and 2004 respectively. During the communist era Skubiszewski was an informer for the Security Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where he was known under the code name “Kosk.”

In New Lies for Old (1984) Anatoliy Golitsyn predicted the PZPR’s abdication of the open monopoly of power and Poland’s subsequent “flight” from the Soviet Bloc. The KGB defector explained that these were contrived exercises designed to confuse the West about communist intentions and permit the Soviets to carry out a strategic military withdrawal from Central Europe. Risk of exposure and prosecution after the “fall of communism” no doubt made Foreign Minister Skubiszewski a pliable tool in the hands of the Soviet strategists.

Last September Belarus was the site of a joint Russian-Belarusian military drill, Zapad-2009, that simulated a nuclear attack against Poland–a US ally that will begin hosting Patriot Air Defense Units next month–and follow-up amphibious landing. Moscow’s saber rattling along the Polish-Kaliningrad-Belarusian border suggests that this part of the world could once again, as it did in 1939, become a flashpoint for war. This is certainly the opinion of Pravda’s communist editors, as we related some weeks ago.

>Blast from the Past File: Russian co. buys Latvian military ghost town, Skrunda-1 housed 5,000 Soviet/Russian troops until 1994, radar base until 1998

>In another stealthy move that reflects the “creeping” re-Sovietization of the Baltic republics, Russian company Alekseevskyoe-Serviss has bought the military ghost town of Skrunda-1 for US$3.1 million.

The Latvian government was all too happy to divest itself of the 110-acre property that housed 5,000 Soviet/Russian troops, including their families and support personnel, until their withdrawal in 1994. At the time the Russian Defense Ministry cut a deal with the Latvians to lease the nearby radar base until 1998, when the last residents of Skrunda-1 departed. Finally, in 2008 the Latvian government decided to sell the property by auction.

Located 95 miles west of Riga, the national capital, Skrunda-1 consists of 70 dilapidated buildings, including a former barracks, officer’s club, warehouses, garages, 10 apartment blocks, hotel, shopping centre, and school. Built in the 1980s, Skrunda-1 was given a code name and not marked on Soviet maps since it boasted two “enormous” radar installations that scanned the skies for incoming NATO missiles.

The Latvian government has placed no restrictions on how the new owners develop the land. Internet search engines, moreover, yield no information on Alekseevskyoe-Serviss, such as whether this company is a Kremlin entity or whether its board of directors has personal links to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Anete Fridensteina-Bridina, spokeswoman for Latvia’s privatization agency, offered no details concerning the buyer’s intentions. However, according to the February 8 print edition of the Daily Telegraph, Fridensteina-Bridina gushed: “The successful privatization of Skundra-1 could give it a new lease of life.” Indeed. Perhaps in the not-so-distant future the Red Army, er, rather the Russian Ground Forces will return and plant some pretty flowers around those gray, Soviet-era apartment blocks.

>Latin America File: Cuba consolidates control over Venezuela, Chavez appoints Cuban VP to fix energy crisis; Russia gives Cuba 100,000 tons of wheat

>– Caracas’ El Universal, Citing “Sources Close to Havana”: 65,000 Cuban Agents in Venezuela

– Cuban Staff Helping Chavez Automate Personal Identification and Registration under Terms of 2005 Bilateral Agreement

Yup, communism’s dead. That’s why last week President Hugo Chavez appointed Cuban Vice President Ramiro Valdez to head a committee that will resolve Venezuela’s chronic power shortages. Outraged opponents of Venezuela’s Cubanization took to the streets in protest, painting their hands white to display their disapproval of Chavez and his Cuban masters. Police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of students who marched to the National Assembly in Caracas, where they hoped to deliver a proposal to tackle the energy crisis.

“We came to demonstrate and tell the national government that today is not a day of celebration. … There are many problems and the government is not attending to them,” opined student leader Roderick Navarro.

The 77-year-old Cuban VP, who is also the island’s information and communications minister, is a close ally of Fidel and Raul Castro, having taken up arms with the revolutionary duo in 1953 to overthrow dictator Fulgencio Batista. “Valdes has only governed Cuba with repression and a rifle in his hand. That’s all he is good for. He has never managed engineering issues,” protested Enrique Marquez, spokesman for opposition party Un Nuevo Tiempo. Valdez’ portfolio, however, does include supervising Cuba’s Basic Industry Ministry, which covers electricity.

Pictured above: Cuban VP Valdez salutes in front of an image of communist terrorist Ernesto “Che” Guevara during an event for the national election commission in Havana, on January 6, 2010.

Venezuela, which is observing the eleventh year of Chavez’s presidency, has already been rocked by several weeks of protest against the openly Marxist president, who lately shut down six opposition television stations and nationalized a chain of French-Colombian superstores. On the international stage a “mini Cold War” has festered between Venezuela and Colombia ever since the March 2008 Andean Crisis.

On January 3 Chavez, whose ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) faces a parliamentary election in September, blasted the “counter-revolutionaries.” “Keep trying to topple our revolutionary government with your white hands,” he ranted, adding: “If you challenge us with arms, we are ready with Bolivar’s sword. When the Cubans come the counter-revolutionary fury is immediately unleashed. I know the people pay no attention to these stupidities.”

Chavez uttered these threats against his countrymen while wearing an army uniform and brandishing Simon Bolivar’s sword at a rally in a military base. Some PSUV cadres waved the Cuban flag. Latin American leftists like Chavez have adopted nineteenth-century liberator Bolivar as their poster boy. Most analysts expect Chavez, whose popularity level has stabilized around 50 percent, to retain his majority in the next election, though with a reduced number of seats for the PSUV and its main supporters, like the Communist Party of Venezuela.

Pictured here: This political cartoon of Ramiro Valdez was emailed to us under the subject line “VENEZUELA: Confirmado el fin de la Democracia” by Brazilian blogger Luis Afonso Assumpcao. Luis hosts the blog Swimming Against the Red Tide.

Chavez blames drought for the low water levels in Venezuela’s hydroelectric reservoirs and rolling blackouts. Critics of his regime acknowledge the lack of rain, but blame the president for failing to upgrade power generation capacity. Ironically, Cuba itself has suffered numerous electricity crises since the collapse of the Soviet Union removed a major source of oil and financing. The Cuban dictatorship now imports much of its petroleum from Venezuela.

The appointment of the Cuban VP to head an important government committee in Venezuela is only the latest development in the communist island’s expanding control over this South American country. For example, Caracas-based El Universal reports that more than 65,000 Cubans reside in Venezuela, a figure that has “increased by the day” since October 2000, when the two countries signed their first cooperation agreement. Luis Alfonso Davila, who was minister of the interior during the first months of the Chavez government, was quoted as saying that there are more than 60,000 Cubans in Venezuela. According to “other sources close to Havana,” though, there are actually 65,000 Cubans in Venezuela.

In April 2003 the first Cuban doctors arrived in Caracas’ Libertador municipality to work in a social healthcare program called Barrio Adentro. According to Venezuelan official statistics, more than 30,000 Cuban doctors are posted across the country. No doubt all of them, we might add, are well versed in Marxist dogma. In addition, in 2006 there were 6,525 Cuban doctors training Venezuela’s medical practitioners and health technicians. This information comes from the website of the Venezuelan embassy in Havana. The same source notes that in 2006 there were 395 Cuban teachers in Venezuela’s school system. Lastly, in the same year there were 4,544 Cuban sport trainers working in the South American country.

Although most of the Cubans living in Venezuela are working in the health and education sectors, Chavez has requested Cuba’s assistance in many strategic areas related to national development. For example, Cuba provides technical and marketing assistance in both the sugar and hotel industries, in which the island has “great experience.” Cubans are also helping the Venezuelans improve and expand their railway and subway systems, as well as their food, construction, and shipbuilding industries. Most ominously, following a 2005 bilateral agreement, a “significant number of Cuban staff” is helping the Chavezista regime automate personal identification and registration.

In a 2004 article published by The Miami Herald, Alfonso Chardy reported on the “expanding influence” of Cuban advisors in the Venezuelan government. “We see a very worrisome spread in Castro’s infiltration of Venezuela under Chavez. Cuban advisors are always something more sinister than simple technicians,” commented a US State Department official at the time. Former officials of the Chavezista regime assert that most of the Cuban advisors have been spotted in the following key government ministries: Directorate of Intelligence and Preventive Investigations (DISIP), which was repackaged as the Bolivarian Intelligence Service in December 2009; Department of Military Intelligence (DIM), Interior Ministry, Central Bank, and Immigration Department (DIEX).

Since Cuba’s Intelligence Directorate was birthed by the Soviet KGB during the Cold War, one should be forgiven for speculating about the possibility that Chavez’s domestic spy outfit has now fallen indirectly under the baleful influence of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). In 2001 Washington “trimmed back” cooperation with DISIP because of its “increasing links to Cuban intelligence services.”

‘”It is fairly apparent that President Chavez does not consider himself the best friend of the United States,” opined Roger Noriega, assistant US secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, in 2004. He added: “But as for Fidel Castro, it is very clear that he is increasingly active in the region. And this has stirred great concern among Latin American leaders . . . because they understand that he’s not committed to the democratic process and may be trying to undermine it in their countries.’”

In January 2004 Fidel Castro hinted that Chavez has turned Venezuela into “something more than a friend.” “U.S. officials are saying that I will die soon and that once the dog is dead the rabies dies,” Castro demurred, but then remarked: “Well, now Venezuela has turned into a dog.’”

Meanwhile, as co-dependent communist states Cuba and Venezuela prop each other up, Russia under Vladimir Putin has once again become the island’s main benefactor. This past Thursday, a spokesentity for the Russian Foreign Ministry revealed that Russia will donate 100,000 tons of wheat to Cuba in 2010. In September 2008 Moscow dispatched four planeloads of humanitarian aid to Cuba, which had been battered by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Russia sent the island 23 tons of wheat last April.

In another worrisome development that will probably appear on the agenda of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as he begins his Caribbean tour later this week, Russian and Cuban civil aviation officials plan to increase cooperation. Last week Rogelio Acevedo, president of the Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Cuba, visited Russia, where he met with representatives of the Russian Ministry of Transport and the Kremlin-run United Aircraft Corporation. Together the Russians and Cubans analyzed the prospect of upgrading the island’s Soviet-era commercial aviation fleet with the An-148 or An-158 and the Su-100 Superjet, Russia’s newest airliner. Cuba will also receive six new Russian-built radars to replace 15-year-old equipment that has lost part of its capabilities.

Representatives of Aeroflot, which still sports the hammer and sickle on its logo, and Cubana airlines also proposed a joint flight plan in which Russian airplanes would carry passengers from Moscow to Havana. From there Cuban airplanes would fly these Russian travelers to leftist states like Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Brazil. Among the Russian “technicians,” “businessmen,” and “tourists” visiting Central and South America and the Caribbean will no doubt be hidden agents of the SVR and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces (GRU).

>WW4 File: Medvedev inks preemptive nuke strike doctrine, Bucharest to host Aegis missile units; Russian colonel: We will target US military in Romania

>This month, following the arrival in Moscow of delegations from the leftist regimes in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Guyana, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a former Soviet apparatchik, will make his first official visits to Nicaragua and Guatemala, as well as Cuba and Mexico. Lavrov will visit Cuba between February 11 and 13, Nicaragua on February 14, Guatemala on February 15, and Mexico on February 15 and 16. During his Latin American excursion Lavrov will discuss bilateral military, energy, and oil exploration cooperation.

Communist Cuba, of course, is a long-time Soviet ally, while the Sandinistas are once again trying to consolidate a communist dictatorship in Nicaragua.

Mexico’s ruling National Action Party is center-right in its orientation, but that country’s narco-insurgency has the potential to transform Mexico into a failed state, unless the US government expedites the delivery of badly needed military equipment, such as combat helicopters, to the Mexican army. Mexico’s drug cartels obtain much of their own firepower from the Russian Mafia, which provides a convenient cover for agents of the Kremlin’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), formerly the foreign component of the Soviet KGB, and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces (GRU).

Guatemala’s first center-left president in 50 years, Alvaro Colom, is not apparently a red, but he has hooked his country to the Havana-Caracas Axis by way of receiving subsidized petroleum via Hugo Chavez’s Petrocaribe. Although Colom was recently cleared by the United Nations of complicity in the 2009 murder of a Guatemalan lawyer, the primary internal threat against his presidency is the drug-related violence that has bumped up Guatemala’s murder rate to 18 corpses per day.

In 2008 Lavrov denied that the revitalization of Russia’s interest in Latin America was part of a “diplomatic tug of war” with the USA, which Moscow berates for fashioning a “unipolar” world around its own interests. “Disapproval of attempts to impose unilateral approaches, readiness to respect partners’ interests not in word but in deed, to honor the principle of non-interference in sovereign nations’ affairs, and to choose crisis and conflict settlement through talks has brought Russia closer to Latin America,” he intoned at the time. Sure, Comrade Sergei, whatever you say.

If one day Washington decides to take Moscow to task for “setting up shop” in America’s “backyard,” then the response from the Soviet strategists will be predictable. Moscow will simply take Washington to task for persisting in deploying anti-missile defenses in its old stomping grounds, Eastern Europe.

Indeed, the Kremlin has not only threatened to beef up its Baltic Fleet in response to next month’s planned deployment of a Patriot Air Defense Unit in Poland, near the border with Kaliningrad, but is now demanding “clarification” with respect to US plans to deploy “missile defense elements” in the “former” Soviet Bloc state of Romania by 2015. Although Obama scrapped predecessor George W. Bush’s plans to install long-range interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic, the White House is moving ahead with alternate plans to install the tactical missile defense offered by the Patriot system. On Thursday Romanian President Traian Basescu, moreover, announced that his country had approved a US plan to deploy Aegis interceptor missiles as part of a missile shield to protect Europe from Iranian attack.

This week the Islamo-Nazi regime in Tehran highlighted its long-range missile capabilities by launching a third satellite, Kavoshgar 3 (Explorer), into a short orbital insertion. On board were a rat, two turtles, and worms. In 2008 Iran fired two rockets, Kavoshgar 1 and 2, into space but neither was carrying any payload. Notwithstanding the drama in the Middle East, the Kremlin is not buying Washington’s specter of a menace from Middle East mullahs.

“We expect the United States to provide an exhaustive explanation, taking into account the fact that the Black Sea regime is regulated by the Montreux Convention,” Lavrov huffed on Friday. He added: “Russia acted on the assumption that there is an agreement between the two presidents [Obama and Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev] on the joint study of common threats, with the participation of the European Union. When we understand that we have a common understanding of possible threats, it will be possible to say what measures could be taken in response.”

A Russian military analyst, retired Colonel Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of National Defense magazine, is even less impressed by the new US-Romanian pact. “We are talking about the placement of the land-based Aegis system in Romania by 2015 which uses the new Standard Missile interceptor, SM-3. This weaponry, without a doubt, could significantly reduce Russia’s deterrent capability,” complained Korotchenko, adding:

SM-3 missiles would be able to intercept Russian ballistic missiles shortly after launch and on their initial flight trajectory. Russia must warn Romania that if the elements of the U.S. missile shield are placed in the country they will become a target of Russia’s preventive missile strikes.

With ship-based SM-3s in the North, Black and Mediterranean seas, and mobile land-based SM-3s in Central Europe the western borders of Russia will be surrounded by U.S. missile interceptors by 2015.

In that Korotchenko articulated these sentiments to state-run Novosti, it is very likely that an “offended” Kremlin is telling Washington to “back off.” That Romania’s “ex”-communist president would acquiesce to a US military presence in his country, however, only suggests that Basescu is purposely luring the USA into yet another confrontation with his masters in Moscow. Warsaw and Prague have also endorsed Washington’s new and improved missile plan. Much the same, therefore, can be said with respect to the Czech Republic’s interim prime minister, Jan Fischer, yet another “ex”-communist in the saddle in Eastern Europe. In this Soviet-scripted confrontation America plays the bully who needs to be “put in his place.”

The Kremlin’s new “preventive nuclear strike” doctrine, approved by President Dmitry Medvedev last week, will provide the Russian Armed Forces with the legal tool needed to “take out” US air defense units in “former” Soviet Bloc states. “The president informed the members of Russia’s Security Council on Friday that he has approved two documents – the military doctrine and the Fundamentals of the state policy on nuclear deterrence until 2020,” related Medvedev’s press secretary Natalia Timakova.

According to Russian officials, reports Novosti, the “adjustment” of the country’s military doctrine was prompted by “real threats and challenges.” The state-run news agency chronicles the transformation of Russia’s “post”-Soviet military doctrine from a purely “defensive” posture in 2000 to one of “prevention”:

Under the new doctrine, Russia will continue developing and modernizing its nuclear triad, increasing its capability to overcome missile defenses of a potential enemy. The new military doctrine also aims to transform the Armed Forces into a more effective and mobile military force. Their structures will be “optimized” through the use of combined arms units performing similar tasks. The previous document was adopted in 2000. It outlined the role of the Russian military in ensuring the defense of the country and, if necessary, preparing for and waging war, although it stressed that the Russian military doctrine is strictly defensive.

The Kremlin reportedly plans to hike the current defense budget of US$40 billion by 50% over the next three years.

>Latin America File: Medvedev hosts Guyana leader, reasserts Russia’s role in W. Hemisphere; Red Mafiya (KGB) moves into Ecuador, sells arms to FARC

>– February 5, 2010 Update: Russia’s “Merchant of Death” to Appear in Thai Court; USA Accuses Alleged GRU Agent Viktor Bout of Selling Arms to FARC

On February 3 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev affirmed again that “Russia will develop its relations with Latin America and the Caribbean.” The former Soviet Komsomol graduate issued the statement while hosting the communist president of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, in Moscow (pictured here).

Medvedev continued: “We made the strategic decision of revitalizing the links with Latin American countries, as a way to seek the balance of forces worldwide.” By this comment the Russian president means that the Kremlin intends to end the USA’s post-Cold War career as the world’s sole superpower. With a nod toward the International Left’s bogeyman, global warming, Medvedev said: “To boost the links with the region Russia could also help solve problems in the world, including those related to climate change.”

President of Guyana since 1999, Jagdeo obtained a master’s degree in economics from Patrice Lumumba University (PLU) in 1990. Once renowned as the Soviet Union’s terrorist indoctrination center for Third World recruits, Jagdeo’s alma mater is now called People’s Friendship University of Russia. Incidentally, Honduras’ new “center-right” president, Porfirio Lobo, is also a Soviet-era grad of PLU.

With a population of 907,000 inhabitants, Guyana borders Venezuela on the west and Suriname on the east. Guyana, which is a member of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), produces gold, bauxite, sugar, and rice. Two socialist parties have dominated the government since 1964, the People’s National Congress and after 1992 the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), which was co-founded by Afro-Guyanese Forbes Burnham. In 1955 there was a split in the PPP between Burnham and Indo-Guyanese Cheddi Jagan, prompting Burnham to form the PNC in 1958. Prime minister between 1966 and 1980 and president between 1980 and 1985, when he died, Burnham aligned Guyana with the Soviet Union and Cuba. As a testimony to his subservience to Moscow, Burnham’s body was mummified by the Laboratory of the Lenin Mausoleum.

To the east of Suriname is French Guiana, an overseas department of France and thus part of the European Union. In April Russia will launch a geosynchronous satellite from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou for the first time. Normally, the French space agency CNES and the European Space Agency launch satellites from this site. Two to three hundred Russian technicians are in French Guiana assembling the launch tower. Last November two Soyuz launchers arrived at the port of Pariacabo, after completing a transatlantic voyage from St. Petersburg. In past posts we have suggested that Russia could conceivably use French Guiana as a platform to launch ICBMs at the Continental USA, but no one in dot.gov appears to be paying attention.

Incidentally, Russian engineers are also present in Venezuela where they are supervising the construction of two plants that will build under license Kalashnikov automatic rifles and their ammunition.

In November 2008 Medvedev visited four Latin American countries: Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Cuba. While rubbing elbows with Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez in Caracas, he also met with Daniel Ortega and Evo Morales, the presidents of Nicaragua and Bolivia. The heads of state of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Venezuela reciprocated by making official trips to Moscow in 2009. All of these countries have communist or center-left governments that are to varying degrees anti-USA. Chile’s outgoing center-left Concertacion government will be replaced by a center-right coalition in March, when President-Elect Sebastian Pinera is inaugurated.

Meanwhile, Chavez and his nemesis Colombian President Alvaro Uribe both plan to attend the upcoming Union of South American Nations meeting in Quito to consider an aid package for quake-shattered Haiti. This will be the first time that the two leaders have been in the same venue at the same time in almost six months. Chavez and Uribe attended the last Unasur summit in Argentina last August. The presidents of Paraguay, Peru, and Bolivia have also confirmed their attendance. Ecuador currently holds Unasur’s rotating presidency.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, a slavish ally of Chavez, called the Unasur meeting several months after restoring low-level diplomatic relations with northern neighbor Colombia. These relations were severed in March 2008 when Colombian security forces stormed a jungle camp maintained by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on Ecuadorean soil. Ecuador and Venezuela dispatched troops and tanks to their borders with Colombia in anticipation of war. Tensions were diffused one week later and Venezuela’s ambassador returned to Bogota.

However, last October’s security pact between Colombia and the USA, which will permit the latter to deploy 800 counter-narcotics troops in the former, has provided Chavez with a pretext to once again sever diplomatic relations, end trade links, and militarize the Venezuelan-Colombian border. He is presently awaiting the arrival of Russian-made tanks and military helicopters to fortify border units, a move that has prompted the Colombian government to respond in kind. Uribe has accused Chavez of supporting Colombia’s Marxist guerrillas, a not-so-covert link that has been well documented at this blog and which Chavez himself has done little to hide (see picture below).

In this photo, snapped on November 8, 2007, Chavez (center) is accompanied by senior FARC commander Ivan Marquez (left) and Colombian senator Piedad Cordoba (right), a FARC groupie, as he leaves Miraflores Palace in Caracas.

Comrade Correa’s FARC-Friendly “Narco-Democracy”

That Ecuador’s socialist president is hosting the next Unasur meeting is ironic in that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is expected at its meeting in February in Abu Dhabi to include Ecuador on its “high-risk jurisdiction list” at the request of G20 finance ministers. FATF is the international body tasked with combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

FATF analysts, explains Deutsche Welle, admit that their concern about Ecuador has increased since an Ecuadorean government commission revealed last December that the FARC possesses an extensive support network in Ecuador that includes some of President Correa’s closest aides. FATF is also concerned that Colombia’s communist insurgents partly funded Correa’s 2006 election campaign. The commission relied heavily on 600 gigabytes of data mined from computers used by FARC second-in-command Raul Reyes, slain in the 2008 raid mentioned above. This data was later authenticated by Interpol, but Correa denounced the investigation results, which he initiated.

In 2007 the FATF warned that President Correa’s government had failed to comply with 48 of its 49 recommendations on money laundering and terrorist financing. FATF officials also identified two other factors that simplified the ability of international crime groups to work out of Ecuador. First, in 2000 the Ecuadorean government adopted the US dollar as the country’s national currency. Second, eight years later Quito removed visa requirements for nationals of most countries. A recent study by Ecuador’s San Francisco University concluded that up to US$1 billion (0.7 billion euros) are laundered annually through Ecuadorean banks.

The FARC has not only infiltrated supporters into Correa’s ruling Proud and Sovereign Fatherland Alliance, but has apparently also corrupted the Ecuadorean military. The commission initiated by Correa, for example, pointed out that Lieutenant Colonel José Hidalgo Obando was tried for frequently failing to arrest FARC patrols on Ecuadorean territory. “The judicial process was annulled on Oct. 1, 2008, and the reports of his actions rest in the archives of the armed forces,” the commission concluded. A similar situation prevails in Venezuela, where the armed forces are reportedly conducting joint patrols with FARC irregulars, ostensibly in order to thwart the activities of Colombia’s anti-communist paramilitaries.

Commission coordinator Francesco Huerta warned that “Ecuador is becoming a narco-democracy.” Journalists also quoted Huerta as saying: “FARC wields influence throughout Ecuadorian society in politics, the church, the military, justice, civil society and the media.” Huerta also charged the prosecutor general’s office with “dragging its feet” on investigating crimes listed in his report. He was careful, however, to avoid directly blaming President Correa.

Before he was killed in the Colombian raid on his jungle camp, Reyes, writing in his journal, was less tactful in his assessment of Correa:

This place is a trap. They have me tied up here under the pretext that I should receive the international delegations. All this stuff is very false… The revolutionaries who visit me, save for a few people, only want money and deals. I ask myself, how many of them are infiltrators who work as double agents? I feel the presence of double agents in Correa’s intimate group, without a doubt… Trusting Correa was suicide. All the contributions of money for Correa’s campaign weren’t worth a damn.

On the sidelines of Ecuador’s “narco-democracy,” US officials are also concerned that Ecuador has become a haven for Iranian funds. An agreement between Quito and Tehran has allowed the Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) to deposit US$120 million in Ecuador’s central bank to fund trade between the two countries, both of which are closely allied to Venezuela. The US Treasury imposed sanctions on EBDI one month before Ecuador concluded this agreement with Iran, which also allowed Bank Saderat, an EBDI subsidiary, to open a branch in Quito.

In a related story, also covered by Deutsche-Welle, the Washington-based International Assessment and Strategy Center (IASC) confirms that transnational criminal organizations from Latin America, Russia, China, India, and Africa have transformed Ecuador into a base of operations. A recent IASC report attributes this problem to the FARC’s penetration of the Ecuadorean government and judiciary, Ecuador’s weak institutions and anti-money laundering laws, nonexistent anti-terror financing laws, and porous borders with Colombia and Peru, where the FARC and Shining Path operate and/or protect drug labs.

The IASC report concludes that the Russian Mafia–which is a well-documented front for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU)–is arming FARC: “Ecuador is increasingly attractive for Russian organized criminal groups, both for weapon sales to the FARC and to launder money.” Before an organizational shuffle in the early to mid-1990s, the FSB and SVR represented the domestic and foreign components of the Soviet KGB.

Mainland China’s Triads, according to the IASC, have also set up shop in Ecuador: “Chinese triads, particularly those involved in smuggling human beings, have greatly increased their presence in Ecuador.” The Communist Party of China’s collaboration with these centuries-old criminal secret societies is well documented. “As these gangs have become more powerful, their existence depends entirely on the cooperation and tolerance of the Communist Party,” related Ko-lin Chin, professor of criminal justice at Rutgers University, to The New York Times last November. At the time Red Chinese officials held a mass public trial that exposed a vast web of corruption in the city of Chongqing.

Thus, while the Kremlin moves to either establish or re-establish, as in the case of Cuba and Nicaragua, formal political, military, and commercial linkages with Latin America’s leftist regimes, the Soviet strategists are also operating in the Western Hemisphere on a subversive, “unseen” level. The latter entails consolidating relationships between the KGB-controlled Red Mafiya and proxies such as the FARC, the Mexican drug cartels, and corrupt Latin American politicians. For these reasons we have indicated Ecuador as a “Red Cocaine State” on our Red World 2010 map, accessible via this blog’s right column.

>Latin America File: USA, allies recognize new Honduran govn’t; Uribe visits Tegucigalpa, signs security pact with Lobo; Ortega joins anti-Lobo chorus

>– FARC and ELN Forge Alliance to Launch Counter-Offensive against Colombian Government, US Troop Deployment

– Bogota’s El Tiempo: Cuban Agents Have Long-Standing Linkages with Colombia’s Marxist Insurgents; FARC to Open Office in Europe as “Bolivarian Continental Movement,” Establish Contacts with Leftists, Students

– Exporting Revolution 21st Century Style: Venezuelan Director Admits ALBA Company Bought Nicaraguan Opposition TV Station, Ortega Advisor Calls Paniagua “Crazy”

In the wake of Honduran President Porfirio Lobo’s January 27 inauguration, the countries of the Western Hemisphere are aligning into two groups, one recognizing the new Honduran government’s legitimacy, the other not. The pro-Lobo group includes the USA, Peru, Costa Rica, Canada, Panama, and Colombia, even though the first three countries sport center-left governments. Chile’s incoming center-right government has promised to recognize Lobo only if he “legitimizes” democracy in his country.

Washington, which has 600 counter-narcotics troops stationed in Honduras, is moving ahead aggressively to normalize diplomatic relations with Tegucigalpa. These were severed last June 28 when a transfer of power sanctioned by the Honduran Congress, Supreme Court, and military command ousted President Manuel Zelaya in the region’s first post-Cold War coup. Zelaya was rightly perceived as a slavish devotee of Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez, who within 24 hours of the coup threatened to hurl his armed forces at Honduras.

Last Friday newly sworn in President Lobo declared: “I am happy that with the visit of U.S. ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, we are practically normalizing the ties with the United States of America.” For his part, Llorens explained Washington’s position was in part tied to the presence of one million Hondurans living in the USA:

More than one million Honduran people living in the United States demanded a friendly tie between both countries. We always said that the elections [of November 29, 2009] were an essential condition, but not enough, and the other element was the fulfillment of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Agreement. Honduras will be able to appoint its ambassador [to the USA] without problem. That will be done with normality.

The anti-Lobo group pretty much represents the region’s Red Axis, consisting of hard-core communist regimes like Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua, as well as more moderate center-left governments, such as those in Brazil and Argentina. Hence, in an important sense the Honduran crisis continues to fester.

On Saturday night Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega voiced his opposition to President Lobo, but offered to maintain economic and trade relations with his northern neighbor. “I have no reason to believe that those who forced Zelaya out of office were no longer in power. We feel threatened,” Ortega protested, contributing to the wider Red Axis propaganda that portrays Lobo and allies like Colombian President Alvaro Uribe as “tools of US imperialism.”

Last summer Zelaya transformed Managua into a base of operations to overthrow the government of interim president Roberto Micheletti. Zelaya is now living in exile in the Dominican Republic, the president of which, Leonel Fernandez, mediated negotiations between Lobo and his predecessor.

In a somewhat surprising departure from the hard-line stance articulated by the Red Axis of which it is part, El Salvador’s ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), as we reported in a previous post, has recognized Lobo’s government. This divergence could possibly represent an internal party schism between President Mauricio Funes, the moderate face of the FMLN, and Vice President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a hardened Marxist-Leninist terrorist who is widely considered to be the country’s real ruler.

If San Salvador changes its tune toward Tegucigalpa in the near future, then this could signal a move by the FMLN Politburo to assert itself over Funes’ “compromised” position. We are watching the situation in El Salvador closely since many citizens there believe Sanchez Ceren would not hesitate to resort to assassination to usurp Funes’ post.

In a display of solidarity with Lobo, Uribe stopped by Tegucigalpa to sign a security pact with Honduras as he flew back to Colombia from a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. After conferring with Lobo and his government ministers, both presidents (pictured above) signed a brief declaration in which they pledged to implement an “action plan in security matters,” effective February 15.

Although the Latin American Herald Tribune does not specifically describe the new Honduran-Colombian security pact as a military defense pact, there appears to be “room” for this interpretation: “The accord states that the authorities responsible for security in the two countries will exchange experiences and best practices. They will also develop mechanisms for bilateral cooperation aimed at strengthening the institutional capabilities of the two countries in security matters, according to the declaration that Lobo and Uribe signed in Tegucigalpa.”

“Colombia and Honduras have maintained magnificent relations, we need to strengthen those relations every day, and we are very pleased that the action plan in matters of security will begin on Feb. 15,” enthused Uribe in a statement released to the press at the end of his meeting with Lobo. The Colombian president added: “Both Honduras and Colombia are harmed by drug trafficking and terrorism, scourges that destroy morality and ethics, while creating in society an attitude of contempt for the law.”

On the whole, the new Honduran-Colombian security pact appears to be a wise move and should be expanded to include other center-right states in the region, such as Panama and Mexico, not to mention Chile where billionaire businessman Sebastian Pinera will be inaugurated as president this March.

This past week El Tiempo published several revelations concerning the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and a smaller Marxist terrorist group known as the National Liberation Army (ELN). In line with one of our previous posts, VHeadline news editor Patrick J. O’Donoghue, citing the Bogota daily, reports that the two insurgent armies have signed a unity agreement for the purpose of “re-aligning for an offensive against the State and have established their rearguard in Venezuela.”

The main purpose behind the new FARC-ELN alliance is to prevent the USA from deploying 800 counter-narcotics troops at Colombian military bases. This plan has also outraged the guerrillas’ chief state sponsor, President Chavez, who has mobilized his country for war against Colombia. In summarizing the El Tiempo article, O’Donoghue writes:

After signing a unity agreement, both organizations have singled out as the enemy the USA and its military bases in Colombia. The salient point of the editorial is the use of Venezuela as rearguard for the chiefs of both groups. The editorial brings in the Cubans, alleging that Cubans intelligence can make contact with the guerrillas in Colombia … after all, it claims, the two groups’ ideology, diplomatic strategy and military training has its origin in Havana.

Thus, according to El Tiempo, Cuban agents have long-standing linkages with Colombia’s communist guerrillas.

Although it is not clear whether the Dutch media is citing the same El Tiempo article, Radio Netherlands reports that the FARC intends to open a storefront in Europe, possibly in Amsterdam, Brussels, or Paris. This news is based on an alleged email intercept by the DAS, Colombia’s security and intelligence agency. El Tiempo contends that the Marxist insurgents intend to use their European office to establish contact with leftists and students, as well as arrange a large meeting among FARC sympathizers next month. Like the US State Department, the European Union regards the FARC as a terrorist organization.

Accordingly, the Bogota daily reports that the insurgent army will open its office under the cover of the “Bolivarian Continental Movement” (MCB). This little-known cabal of subversives is perceived as a political branch of the FARC, but not mentioned on any official lists of terrorist organizations. Last December the MCB recently held a terrorist pow-wow in Caracas that was personally hosted by Chavez and attended by Salvadoran communists, and operatives of Spain’s Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna and Italy’s New Red Brigades.

This past Saturday four police officers and three soldiers were killed in northeastern Colombia when their patrol came under grenade attack and small arms fire by unknown assailants, presumed to be FARC irregulars. The encounter took place in Aruaca, a province on the border with Venezuela. “This is an attack by FARC, which has brutally and inhumanely taken the life of men who are serving the public good of our country,” announced regional police chief Marlon Granados. Radio Caracol quoted witnesses who stated the FARC guerrillas retreated across the border into Venezuela after the ambush.

If these reports are accurate, then they supply more evidence that the FARC has indeed, per El Tiempo’s assertions, “established their rearguard in Venezuela.” Last week the city of Aruaca was the sight of a reported incursion by a Venezuelan military helicopter, an incident that Bogota protested and that Caracas denied.

On Sunday Chavez mocked the DAS for alleging that a Venezuelan National Guard was attempting to carry out a military operation in Colombia when he sped across a river bordering the two countries in a smuggler’s boat. Sergeant Juan Gomez was expelled from Colombia for “reasons of national security” last Wednesday, the same day that the Venezuelan helicopter reportedly violated Colombian airspace. Chavez taunted: “Only people like Rambo or the Terminator undertake solo missions. The sergeant reacted well because he didn’t go crazy but was armed and shot out the [boat’s] motor.” Gomez, who was armed with an AK-103 rifle, was detained by Colombian soldiers when he reached the opposite side of the river.

Finally, the Venezuelan national who heads up ALBA de Nicaragua S.A. (Albanisa), Rafael Paniagua, has confirmed that US$10 million in company funds were used to buy Nicaragua’s most important private television station, Channel 8 (Telenica). Albanisa is a petroleum consortium created by Ortega and Chavez as part of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA). “It is true that we bought Channel 8,” Paniagua told Managua’s El Nuevo Diario without blushing. “What’s wrong with that?” he challenged.

Nicaraguan law, however, prohibits foreign capital to control more than 50 percent of the shares of a news company, but Caracas’ PDVSA holds a controlling interest of 51 percent in Albanisa, while Managua’s Petronic holds 49 percent. Ortega was apparently not happy about Paniagua’s candor. Bayardo Arce, Ortega’s top economic advisor, insisted on Tuesday that “The Nicaraguan government did not purchase the private TV network Canal 8 as Rafael Paniagua said last week. Paniagua is crazy and spoke too much.” Indeed.

Thus, even as Chavez cracks down on media freedom in Venezuela, sparking country-wide street protests, he is helping not-so-wealthy red comrades elsewhere in Latin America, like veteran KGB asset Ortega, to do the same.

>Middle East File: S. Yemenis agitate for revived Marxist state, gunmen attack security forces in 2 S. provinces, police arrest secessionist editor

>Although northern Yemen’s Iran-backed Shia insurgency has attracted more media attention, a concurrent rebellion in the southern part of the country, instigated by the formerly ruling communists, is prompting some Middle East analysts to ponder the possibility that Yemen is fast becoming an incipient failed state like Pakistan or Mexico or, worse still, an outright failed state like Somalia.

Pictured above: Saudi soldiers walk near the border with Yemen, on January 27, 2010.

In early January, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, fearing that Al Qaeda had established a stronghold in the country, warned that “instability in Yemen is a global as well as regional threat.” This observation will no doubt serve as a pretext for Washington and its allies to throw more money at the despotic regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In the north, unrest, which has erupted sporadically since 2004, has spilled over into Saudi Arabia. On January 25 Prince Khalid bin Sultan, the Saudi deputy defense minister, acknowledged that the Shia rebels had been forced out of the border area between the kingdom and Yemen. Prince Sultan admitted that 109 Saudi troops were killed in the three-month operation to recapture the area.

Notwithstanding these claims from officialdom in Riyahd, on Tuesday Reuters reported that fighting continues between Saudi troops and Yemen’s Shia rebels: “Saudi Arabia had said rebel snipers were still entering Saudi territory. The insurgents later denied this and said they were still being attacked by Saudi military. Saudi fighter jets carried out 24 strikes on 10 northern districts on Monday and fired more than 200 rounds of rockets and heavy artillery, the rebels said on their website.”

The southern separatist insurgency began in earnest in the spring of 2009. On January 24 of this year unknown gunmen suspected of belonging to the Southern Movement killed three soldiers in Ataq, capital of Shabwa province. Two other soldiers survived the attack. The Chinese state media commented that “some voices rise in the south, calling for disengagement from the north and the restoration of the southern state.”

Two days later a security officer was shot dead and another policeman injured when Yemeni security forces dispersed dozens of Southern Movement protestors in al- Ghaidha, capital of al-Maharah province. The protesters were urging for the inclusion of their region’s troubles in the agenda of a conference on Yemen’s development, sponsored by the British government in London the following day.

This past Friday, the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), which once ruled southern Yemen, stated that party cadre Saeed Ahmed Abdullah bin Daoud was shot dead in the southern town of Zanjibar in Abyan province. The party website admitted that the province was in “an unprecedented state of disorder.” Zanjibar residents acknowledged that bin Daoud was “involved with separatists seeking independence from the central government.”

Nearly one month ago, on January 6, Yemeni police arrested the owner and editor of the largest southern newspaper, Al-Ayyam, which was banned along with seven other publications last May on charges of inciting separatism. The 66-year-old Hisham Bashraheel was taken into custody two days after police laid siege to the daily’s offices to dislodge 30 supporters and 20 security guards holed up on the premises. A policeman and guard were killed and seven people wounded at the time. Among those who gave themselves up on January 5 was Bashraheel’s son and Ali Munassar, a cadre of the “ex”-communist YSP.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s opposition has chosen a new leader, Abdul-Wahab Mahmmoud, Secretary-General of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party (ASBP), to lead the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) against President Saleh’s ruling General People’s Congress (GPC). The JMP includes the YSP, ASBP, Islamic Islah Party, Nasserite Union Party, al-Haq Party, and Popular Forces. The ASBP is a pan-Arabic party that has ruled Syria since 1963 and which ruled Iraq until 2003, when the US and British militaries ousted the regime of Saddam Hussein. US soldiers captured Hussein after the invasion and Iraqi authorities executed the dictator in 2006. The ASBP maintains a presence in the Palestine Liberation Organization, which is the de jure government of the so-called West Bank (Judea and Samaria), and other Arab states.

The Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) were unified in 1990 according to a treaty between the GPC and the YSP. However, the deal fell apart four years later, leading to a short civil war, which the “ex”-communists lost. Although the PDRY was openly allied with the Soviet Union, which maintained a naval base in Aden, President Saleh, who was first president of the YAR and since then of the current Republic of Yemen, is any case a reliable ally of Moscow. Saleh lately purchased millions of dollars of weaponry from Russia.

It is believed too that Moscow is hoping to reestablish a naval presence in Yemen. Since the Soviet strategists are always careful to control both sides of any conflict, this is quite possible, whether Saleh or Yemen’s communists prevail.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Putin lauds maiden flight of Russia’s 1st stealth fighter; T-50 to enter evaluation unit by 2013, production by 2015

>Russian aeronautical technology finally caught up with the 21st century on January 29, 2010. The country’s first stealth fighter intended to match the latest “radar-invisible” US design made its maiden flight on Friday, boosting the Kremlin’s efforts to modernize its air force and retain its global export market. The Sukhoi PAKFA T-50 flew for 47 minutes, taking off from an airfield at the manufacturer’s production plant in the Far Eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. After the test flight, the aircraft’s pilot, Sergei Bogdan, remarked that the T-50 was “easy and pleasant to fly.”

“The flight is a big step forward,” trumpeted Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. However, Russia’s KGB-communist dictator admitted: “A lot remains to be done in terms of engines and armament. The first batch of new fighters is set to enter an Air Force evaluation unit in 2013 and serial production is set to begin in 2015.”

Development of Russia’s fifth-generation combat aircraft has been cloaked in secrecy and no images of it had been released before the flight. Strategic partner India played an important role in the creation of the T-50. The fighter’s maiden flight comes nearly 20 years after the first prototype of the US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor, the aircraft the T-50 is designed to counter, took to the air. Still, the flight also marked a major step in Moscow’s efforts to restore the faded glory of its Soviet-era aviation bureaus, now largely consolidated in the Kremlin-run United Aircraft Corporation (Obyedinyonnaya Aviasroitelnaya Korporatsiya).

Following the T-50’s initial flight, Russian and foreign military analysts offered different assessments of the airplane’s performance and potential.

Craig Caffrey, analyst for Jane’s Defense Procurement-Military Aircraft, opined: “The T-50 should offer the Russian Air Force a significant boost in its capabilities and ensure that it remains one of the best equipped air forces in the world. For those countries that don’t traditionally purchase military equipment from the U.S. it will be the only fifth generation aircraft available.”

The NPO Saturn company acknowledged that the jet has new engines. Independent military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer, however, was not impressed, explaining: “It’s a humbug. It’s just a prototype lacking new engines and a new radar. It takes new materials to build a fifth-generation fighter, and Russia lacks them.” Alexander Konovalov, director of the Moscow-based Institute of Strategic Assessment, an independent think tank, was even more dubious about the T-50’s future: “The schedule will likely be pushed back as usual. There is no mission and no adversary for such plane. It would be more expedient to fit modern avionics to older generation jets.”

If further tests of the T-50 prove successful, its technology will no doubt be incorporated into the stealth bomber that Russia intends to introduce into service by 2025. Unless political events between the Communist Bloc and what’s left of the Free World spiral out of control in the next few months or years, it’s likely that the Soviet strategists will wait until their military is mostly or fully modernized before taking on NATO.

Last year the US Senate voted to halt production of the F-22 Raptor, the world’s most expensive fighter jet at more than US$140 million per machine, capping the fleet at 186, the number already ordered. In doing so, the Democrat-dominated Senate handed President Barack Hussein Obama the victory he needed to curb defense spending.

>WW4 File: Colombia protests airspace violation by Venezuelan combat helicopter, National Guard takes control of major cities amid anti-Chavez protests

>– Will Chavez Shortly Provoke War with Colombia to Divert Attention Away from the Failure of His Socialist Revolution to “Deliver the Goods?”

The simmering political tensions in the “mini Cold War” between Colombia and Venezuela erupted again this week when Bogota lodged a formal diplomatic protest against Caracas, alleging that a Venezuelan combat helicopter hovered over the Colombian border city of Arauca for 20 minutes today. Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva condemned the airspace violation and praised his forces for showing restraint in the face of the provocation. Since last October the two South American neighbors have been involved in a dispute over Colombia’s decision to grant the US military access to its bases for the purpose of eradicating the country’s cocaine producers.

Pictured above: Venezuelan police intimidate anti-Chavez protesters in Caracas on January 26.

Most Colombian coke originates from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) with covert but documented support from the leadership of Venezuela’s Cuba-controlled Bolivarian Intelligence Service (or DISIP before 2009) and the Venezuelan National Guard. A 2008 US Department of Homeland Security report alleges that the FARC and the Venezuelan government are using retired or stolen commercial and executive jets to ferry multi-tons of cocaine to West Africa, where operatives of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb pack the narcotic across the Sahara Desert, to be infiltrated into the European Union.

Last year Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia and blocked a variety of Colombian imports, with bilateral trade suffering a 70 percent decline. In November he urged the armed forces, civilian population, and cadres of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela to “prepare for war” with Colombia. To back their president’s bombast, the Venezuelan military has moved to the border at least 15,000 troops and presumably thousands of tactical missiles that it recently purchased from Russia.

Claiming the need to thwart drug traffickers, Venezuelan soldiers also blew up at least two pedestrian bridges linking the two countries. Venezuelan authorities have arrested alleged Colombian spies and saboteurs, as well as fighters of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. Caracas charges that the anti-communist paramilitary group is in league with President Alvaro Uribe’s government, which responded last month by activating six airborne battalions and pledging to build a military base near the Venezuelan border.

For his part, Chavez has also accused the USA of airspace violations, specifically charging Washington with using Colombia and the Netherlands Antilles as bases to dispatch aerial spy drones and maritime reconnaissance aircraft over Venezuelan territory.

Venezuela’s communist dictator is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Russian-built tanks and military helicopters which he intends to deploy along the Colombian border. On Christmas Eve Chavez held a telephone conversation with Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, no doubt to inquire about the status of his order, and this week he ordered his new defense minister to accompany the boss of PDVSA on an errand to Moscow and Beijing. Russian engineers are currently on the ground in Venezuela supervising the construction of two plants that will produce Kalashnikov automatic rifles and their ammunition.

On the domestic front Chavez is this week facing some serious challenges to his authoritarian rule. On January 23, The Epoch Times reports, “waves of protests” blew up throughout the country in response to the Chavezista regime’s rationing of water, another devaluation of the Venezuelan currency, and the recently mandated weekly rationing of electricity. Three days later even larger protests were triggered after Chavez shut down six television channels, among them RCTV Internacional, a channel with an editorial slant critical of Chavez’s socialist “Bolivarian Revolution.” During an Organization of American States meeting in Washington on Wednesday, the USA, Colombia, Peru, Panama, and Canada condemned the Venezuelan government for its decision to suspend the six channels.

To suppress a possible uprising in an election year, the National Guard has taken up positions in the streets of Merida and along El Trigal Highway in the city of Valencia, capital of Carabobo State. On Wednesday Marcos Díaz, the pro-Chavez governor of Mérida State, justified the de facto state of martial law in his own jurisdiction by weaving a story of opposition-sponsored “urban warfare”:

The city is militarized since early hours of the morning and will remain like that as long as its necessary in order to avoid further confrontations in the city of Mérida. The military action is due to the presence of snipers and urban warfare in the state, which aim to subvert order. The National Guard and the state government are taking measures to control these groups that belong to the opposition.

The Epoch Times predicts that the Chavezista regime is on its last legs: “The events are viewed as what could be the beginning of the end for Chavez. The National Assembly is occupied by an overwhelming majority of government supporters. A victory by the opposition could limit Chavez’s ability to implement laws and policies to his liking.” In light of these developments, students of the international communist conspiracy should seriously consider the possibility that Chavez may shortly provoke war with Colombia to divert attention away from the failure of his socialist revolution to “deliver the goods.”

Chavez Denounces Government of Honduran President Lobo as “Illegitimate,” Deposed Predecessor Zelaya Finds New Home in Dominican Republic

In Central America Porfirio Lobo was inaugurated as Honduras’ new president on Wednesday, seven months after an internal Liberal Party coup d’etat, supported by the Congress, Supreme Court, and military brass, ousted Manuel Zelaya from office. A threat by the National Front against the Coup D’etat, a consortium of Honduran leftists, to disrupt Lobo’s swearing in failed to materialize but, according to one source, “hundreds of thousands” of demonstraters protested during the ceremony.

Lobo, the 62-year-old candidate for the National Party, won a controversial presidential election on November 29 with 52 per cent of the votes. The election had been scheduled before the coup, but slavish Chavez ally Zelaya and many leftist regimes in Latin America refused to recognize its legitimacy since the poll took place under the watch care of interim president Roberto Micheletti.

Lobo opposed then President Zelaya’s proposed constitutional reforms that would have eliminated term limits, but he kept a low profile during and after the coup. Later, Lobo vowed to assure Zelaya’s safe conduct from the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa so the deposed leader could seek exile in the Dominican Republic, per previous negotiations with Dominican President Leonel Fernandez. In what appears to be an anomaly in his career, conservative agra-businessman Lobo is a Soviet-era graduate of Patrice Lumumba University, Moscow’s terrorist indoctrination center, now known as People’s Friendship University of Russia.

Meanwhile, a private jet whisked Zelaya and his entourage to Santo Domingo, where President Fernandez welcomed the former Honduran leader as a “distinguished guest.” The Dominican Republic’s center-left leader, however, made it clear that, in spite of his rapprochement with the new administration in Tegucigalpa, “the interruption of democracy in that government was an insult to Honduras’ Constitution, to the Dominican Republic and all of Latin America.” An amnesty passed by the Honduran Congress has cleared all participants in Zelaya’s ouster, including the armed forces’ top commanders, of any wrongdoing.

So, is the Honduran crisis finally over? Not if Zelaya’s chief benefactor, Comrade Hugo, has anything to say about it. “The United States, Colombia, Peru, Panama and Canada were applauding the inauguration of an illegitimate president,” Venezuela’s president ranted on Thursday, adding: “He [Zelaya] knows that he and his family have brothers here.” Both Chavez and Zelaya are implicated in the Communist Bloc’s narco-subversion plot against the USA. Major South American countries such as Argentina and Brazil refuse to accept the legitimacy of President Lobo’s new government. Not so coincidentally, Venezuela intends to carry out a joint military exercise in Nicaragua this May and June, an operation that could be designed to intimidate Honduras’ new government.

FMLN Regime in San Salvador Cultivates “Moderate” Image: Apologizes for “Excesses” Committed as Guerrilla Army, Recognizes New Government in Tegucigalpa

Conflicting messages related to ideological direction are emanating from the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) regime in San Salvador, now about eight months hold. Although the FMLN Politburo is dominated by hard-core Marxists, it appears that President Mauricio Funes has decided to pursue a “moderate” approach for the present. For example, even though Zelaya enjoyed San Salvador’s hospitality during the regional capital-hopping that marked the early days of his exile last summer, Funes has stated that he will re-establish diplomatic relations with neighboring Honduras after Lobo’s inauguration. In adopting this position, it appears that El Salvador’s leftist regime is attempting to deflate pre-election accusations that the FMLN is beholden to Chavez.

The FMLN regime is also taking steps to bury the legacy of the Salvadoran Civil War, which raged between 1980 and 1992 when the Soviet/Cuban-backed FMLNistas sought to overthrow a succession of US-backed rightist governments. Presuming to speak on behalf of those governments, Funes apologized for the “grave human rights violations carried out by government forces against defenseless civilians.” Funes declared:

I acknowledge that agents, at the time belonging to government branches including the armed forces and public security … committed grave human rights violations and abuses of power. Those abuses included massacres, extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances. For all of the previously mentioned, in the name of the Salvadoran state I ask for forgiveness.

For his part, Vice President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a doctrinaire Leninist who led the FMLN’s battlefield operations, urged Salvadorans to forgive the former guerrillas for any “excesses” committed during the civil war. The conflict left 75,000 people dead and 7,000 missing, produced about US$1.6 billion in infrastructure damage, and forced many Salvadorans to seek refuge in the USA, where they were recruited into the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, narco-terrorist gang. It is believed that MS-13 derived its name by combining “La Mara,” a violent street gang in El Salvador, with Salvatruchas, a term used to denote members of the FMLN.

Last month Sanchez Ceren, who lauded Al Qaeda’s attacks against the USA on September 11, 2001, trooped to Havana where he conferred with his long-time masters in Cuba’s communist dictatorship. There he indicated that El Salvador will most likely join the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA). Earlier this month, however, Funes indicated that his country will not be joining ALBA. Incidentally, many Salvadorans believe that Sanchez Ceren is the one calling the shots for their country’s FMLN government, darkly joking that he is only “9 millimeters” from the presidency. This alludes to the possibility that the FMLN Politburo may one day decide that former CNN correspondent Funes is expendable. In that case a 9-millimeter bullet will end Funes’ career.

>Latin America File: Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela send delegations to Russia; Chavez, Pravda allege US military caused Haiti quake with shockwave weapon

>– Chavez Dispatches PDVSA’s Communist Boss and New Defense Minister to Moscow and Beijing

– Utilizing ALBA Front Company Chavez Helps Ortega Family Purchase Nicaragua’s Most Important Private TV Station

– Telenica News Host Resigns in Protest, Carlos Chamorro Son of Assassinated Newspaper Editor Pedro and Former President Violeta

Pictured above: On January 26 police and protesters clashed in several Venezuelan cities after RCTV International, which opposes President Hugo Chavez, was forced off air. The poster above says: “Chavez: You’re Struck Out.” In response to the protests, Venezuela’s communist dictator threatened to accelerate his country’s socialist revolution.

The Soviet strategists continue their stealthy process of reconsolidating linkages with Communist Cuba and neo-Sandinista Nicaragua, as well as expanding ties with the Communist Bloc’s South American showpiece, Venezuela. The Moscow-backed Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) also continues to consolidate linkages within that bloc of socialist states, minus Honduras, which escaped the clutches of the Havana-Caracas Axis several weeks ago.

On January 25 Ricardo Cabrisas, Vice President of the Cuban Council of Ministers, trooped to Moscow for a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Ivanovich Sechin, the Kremlin’s pointman for Latin America. During the Cold War Sechin, an agent of Russian military intelligence, facilitated the smuggling of weapons to leftist guerrillas such as the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, which now rules El Salvador.

During their meeting Cabrisas and Sechin prepared the agenda for the 10th meeting of the Cuba-Russia Intergovernmental Commission that will take place in Havana next April. Cabrisas and Sechin, who head the commission’s Cuban and Russian delegations, respectively, will look at the implementation of government credits and investment processes, as outlined in the resolutions of the ninth meeting of the commission. They will also examine bilateral cooperation in the cultural, education and technical-scientific fields, as well as in communications, computing, aeronautics, transportation, and industry.

Prior to the next conclave of the Cuba-Russia Intergovernmental Commission, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will carry out a two-day official visit to Cuba beginning on February 11. The visit was announced by the Deputy Director of the Latin America Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Victor Koronelli, before the Cuban-Russian Entrepreneurial Council, gathered at the site of the Russian Chamber of Commerce.

In a related story octogenarian Yevgeny Primakov, who has held various posts in the Soviet/Russian hierarchy, including KGB/SVR boss, prime minister, and foreign minister, attended a ceremony at the Cuban embassy in Moscow. There on January 22 Primakov, an expert Orientalist who liaised with Saddam Hussein in 1990 and then 2003, was presented with the Order of Solidarity by Cuba’s Council of State. In the awarding ceremony Cuban ambassador Juan Valdes Figueroa praised Primakov for being “a prominent politician and statesman, an astute diplomat, an experienced academician and a close friend of Cuba.” Valdes gushed: “Cuban authorities appreciate Primakov’s solidarity and honest friendship.”

For his part, Primakov noted that “on many occasions he talked for hours with comrades Fidel and Raul.” He then conveyed to the Castro Bros. his “most sincere appreciation for this order.” Primakov concluded his speech by assuring his Cuban comrades that through the Russian Chamber of Commerce “he will do everything possible to develop bilateral relations because he believes it to be very important, both for Cuba and Russia.”

A planned port of call by Russian warships in Havana Bay this past December, as far as we can determine, did not materialize. Otherwise, this would have been the second post-Cold War visit of the Russian Navy to Communist Cuba. The first occurred in December 2008, at which time Cuban President Raul Castro and brass of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba held a closed-door meeting with Vladimir I. Koraliov, Vice Admiral of the Northern Fleet.

The Russian Navy recently popped up in the news in connection with Haiti when Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez, citing a report allegedly produced by the Northern Fleet, accused the US military of using a “shockwave weapon” to cause the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12. Chavez and his communist buddies Daniel Ortega and Evo Morales have already condemned Washington for “invading and occupying” Haiti under the pretext of humanitarian relief.

Chavez’s outlandish conspiracy theory linking unconfirmed experimental US weapons to the Haiti quake initially appeared on Venezuela’s state-run ViVe television. Perhaps Comrade Hugo picked up his “information” from communist organ Pravda. There Lisa Karpova, who lately denounced Poland and the USA for deploying a Patriot Air Defense Unit to the Central European country, quoted the alleged report from the Northern Fleet. In her article Comrade Karpova notes, probably accurately, that the Russian Navy has been “monitoring” the reactivation of the US Navy’s Fourth Fleet in the Caribbean Sea:

The Russian Navy reports that the U.S. created the earthquake in Haiti.

The Russian Northern Fleet indicates that the earthquake that devastated Haiti was clearly the result of a test by the U.S. Navy through one of its earthquake weapons and drew up a diagram of linear succession in relation to earthquakes reported to have occurred by chance to the same depth in Venezuela and Honduras.

The Northern Fleet has been monitoring the movements and activities of U.S. Marines in the Caribbean since 2008 when the Americans announced their intention to reestablish the Fourth Fleet, which was disbanded in 1950, and that Russia responded a year later, with the Fleet led by the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great “by starting its first exercises in this region since the end of the Cold War.”

As it stands, nearly 20,000 US troops, 1,000 Canadian troops, 800 Italian troops, and 12,000 international soldiers and police under United Nations/Brazilian command are already deployed or en route to Haiti to distribute food, water, and medicine, maintain law and order, and rebuild the country’s shattered infrastructure. Incidentally, Canada’s governor-general is Haitian born, which may partly explain that country’s relatively large commitment to the relief effort. More significantly, the growing presence of UN troops in Haiti may offer that organization a justification for honoring last November’s plea from Ciudad Juarez business leaders to send troops to help the Mexican army suppress the narco-insurgency in that city, which borders Texas.

One week before receiving the Cuban delegation, Moscow also welcomed a representative of another close ally in Latin America, Nicaragua. On January 18 Nicaraguan Deputy Foreign Minister Manuel Coronel Kautz met with Russian Deputy Transport Minister Sergei Aristov in Moscow. There the two parties once again discussed the subject of building a canal across Nicaragua, a century-old dream that President Daniel Ortega has resuscitated.

“The Nicaraguan side asked the Russian side to participate in the construction of the canal running across Nicaragua and linking the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans,” commented a Russian Transport Ministry spokesentity. According to state-run Itar-Tass, the project will cost US$18 billion dollars. Aristov admitted that the concept of a “Nicaragua Canal” requires “further examination due to a change in economic conditions and the financial situation in the world.” In other words, the Kremlin can’t cough up all the cash for this project, so Moscow will probably organize a consortium consisting of Russia, Red China, and a few deluded, pro-communist Western Nepmen with some bucks to burn.

If the canal project falls through, however, Russia will find other pretexts to restore its baleful influence in Nicaragua, such as rehabilitating its never-used, Soviet-era military runway north of Lake Managua. The fact that open sources have yet to report the arrival of Russian military engineers at Punta Huete, after the proposal was first publicized in November 2008, suggests that Moscow is waiting for Comrade Ortega to first crush Nicaragua’s pro-Washington opposition, eliminate presidential term limits, and re-establish his communist dictatorship in earnest. With some help from red buddy Chavez, Nicaragua’s president appears to be doing exactly that.

Venezuela’s top commie thug has already been criticized for forcing six TV stations in his country off the air. The Central American media is now asserting that Chavez may have played a covert role in helping relatives of Ortega to purchase Nicaragua’s most important private TV station, Channel 8 Telenica, for US$10 million. Media outlets like Nicaragua Hoy, El Nuevo Diario, and Diario las Americas report that Telenica was purchased in part with funds from the ALBA front company Albanisa. This petroleum consortium consists of Venezuela’s state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) as the controlling shakeholder and Nicaragua’s state-run Petronic. Ortega’s family already controls several private news agencies in Nicaragua, not to mention the country’s state-run media outlets.

Earlier this month we reported that Albanisa chairman and Sandinista cadre José Francisco López Centeno stepped down from his post in the wake of charges that he embezzled 1.4 million cordobas from the company. Albanisa is now reportedly headed by interim chairman, Rafael Paniagua, a Venezuelan citizen. Last July the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists contended that “Ortega had launched a personal war against media critical of his government.”

Until last weekend Channel 8 broadcast the programs This Week and Tonight, both hosted by well-known journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro. Like many critics of the second Ortegista regime, Chamorro is a former cadre of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), having edited Barricada, which served as the FSLN’s newspaper in the 1980s. On Sunday Chamorro announced that he was resigning from Telenica now that the company is controlled by the government. Carlos was quoted by Nica Times as saying during his last broadcast: “Today I ratify my position in front of Nicaraguan society that I don’t want to be a partner or collaborator with Mr. Ortega, either directly or indirectly, in any of his economic or political businesses that seek to help him whitewash his authoritarian image.”

Carlos is the son of newspaper publisher Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, who was gunned down in 1978 for criticizing the US-backed dictatorship of President Anastasio Somoza, and Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, who defeated Ortega in the 1990 election. Between 1979 and 1980 Violeta sat with Ortega on the multi-party Junta of National Reconstruction. However, there’s obviously some “bad blood” between the Ortega and Chamorro families.

Meanwhile, Chavez has dispatched his oil and energy minister Rafael Ramirez, a staunch communist who heads PDVSA, to Moscow and then Beijing to discuss plans for the trilateral development of heavy crude blocks in the eastern Orinoco region. “The group will work on advances in oil drilling [deals] with Russia and China in the Junin Block of the Orinoco oil belt,” the Bolivarian News Agency reported, citing comments from Chavez himself.

A preliminary joint venture deal on the Junin 6 block was signed in September between PDVSA and a consortium of Russian oil firms, including privately owned Lukoil Holdings and Kremlin-run Gazprom OAO. With the People’s Republic of China, Venezuela intends to develop the Junin 4 block, a US$16 billion project with the potential to produce 400,000 barrels per day. A government statement revealed that Venezuela also plans to build, with Red China’s participation, an electricity-generating plant that will be used for refineries.

Significantly, Venezuela’s newly named defense minister Carlos Mata will be traveling with Ramirez, possibly to discuss the shipment of Russian tanks and combat helicopters that Chavez is awaiting so he can advance plans to attack neighboring Colombia. Until recently 40 percent of Colombian exports made their way to Venezuela. However, the “mini Cold War” between the two countries, one socialist, the other capitalist, has reduced those exports by 38 percent and forced 30,000 Colombians out of work. “To find a solution,” reports El Universal, “the Colombian government is establishing partnerships with other countries to seek new markets, among them in Ecuador.” Establishing commercial links with Quito may not be the wisest move, though, since Ecuador’s socialist president Rafael Correa is closely allied with Chavez. Instead, Colombia should expand its economic relations with Chile and Honduras, both of which feature incoming center-right governments, as well as Panama, whose president, Ricardo Martinelli, is a businessman.

>WW4 File: USA to deploy Patriots, 100 soldiers in Poland by March, Russia threatens to strengthen Baltic Fleet, Warsaw arrested GRU agent in 2009

>Poland is cruising for a bruising. The USA will eat its own vomit. . . . The hostile intentions of the west, the US and Poland are so thick, they can be cut a knife. . . . So Poland is asking for trouble. Unfortunately, Poland is likely to find it, along with their American enablers.
— from the nice folks at Pravda, January 22, 2010

The USA is once again poking Russia in the ribs, rousing the Soviet Bear from its slumber along the Polish-Belarusian-Kaliningrad front.

On January 21 Novosti quoted a senior Russian Navy official as saying that the Kremlin will strengthen its Baltic Fleet in response to US plans to deploy Patriot missiles in Poland, which borders the Russian exclave Kaliningrad and Belarus, a “former” Soviet republic that is joined at the hip with Russia in the Union State. “In connection with the plans to install the Patriots on Polish territory in the next 5 to 7 years, there may be significant changes in the approach to define the tasks and the military potential of the Baltic Fleet,” the same source acknowledged.

The Russian Navy probably intends to increase and modernize the Baltic Fleet’s firepower and naval infantry deployment capabilities through the acquisition of French-built Mistral-class amphibious helicopter assault ships. One Mistral from the French Navy weighed anchor in St. Petersburg last November during a friendly port of call. Russia plans to buy one of the vessels from NATO member France, as well as secure the blueprints to build four more. Mistrals can carry 16 heavy or 35 light helicopters, four landing craft, 900 naval infantry troops, and up to 70 military vehicles, including as many as 40 tanks. With five Mistrals the Russian Navy could conceivably throw up to 5,000 marines at Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, or Poland if the Kremlin were so inclined to re-invade and re-occupy these “former” communist states.

“I can assure you,” Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, told a press conference during his last visit to Paris, “that if we purchase the armament, we will use it wherever deemed necessary.”

Upon receiving news of Moscow’s plans for a Baltic Fleet upgrade, the Polish Foreign Ministry declined to succumb to any fears of Russian aggression. A source in the Polish government told Reuters: “Let’s stay calm. Such strengthening, even if it becomes true, is no direct threat to Poland. The Russians have known about the Patriots for at least two years. So there is no reason to react to unofficial comments.”

The Russian Navy source quoted above was mistaken in his assumption that the timeframe for Patriot installation in Poland is five to seven years. In reality, the first Patriot air defense unit, consisting of eight missile launchers manned by 100 US soldiers, will be redeployed from Germany to a Polish military base in Morag, 35 miles south of Kaliningrad, by the end of March. Warsaw and Washington signed a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) last December laying out the conditions for the Patriots’ arrival. The Patriot (MIM-104) is a theater air-defense system designed to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and advanced aircraft.

On January 20 Polish Defense Minister Klich denied that his country was sending a political or military message to its “former” communist overlord: “It did not have any significance—neither political nor strategic. The only reason was the good infrastructure. In Morag we could offer the best conditions for American soldiers and the best technical base for the equipment.”

Russia strongly opposed the Bush Administration’s plan to deploy 10 long-range, ground -based interceptor missiles in Poland. Moscow’s angry opposition to National Missile Defense (NMD) plans for Central Europe included a threat to deploy Iskander-M missiles in Kaliningrad. However, last September President Barack Hussein Obama shelved the NMD shield and Russia withdrew its Iskander threat, at least for the present.

Patriot anti-missile missiles intercept their ballistic counterpart during the terminal stage of the latter’s flight path, whereas the long-range NMD interceptors are designed to destroy ballistic missiles when the latter is at the midpoint of its trajectory. Clearly, long-range interceptors pose a more serious obstacle to a Russian preemptive strike against the West and the Kremlin knows this.

Riki Ellison, chairman and founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, doesn’t mince words about the obvious purpose behind the revised US-Polish pact. The Patriots are designed to thwart Russian aggression via Kaliningrad, not a hypothetical attack against Europe by Iran:

This decision can been seen as provocative to Russia, as the U.S. Patriot Air Defense Units to be deployed can only defend a very small area which will be composed of Polish military forces that directly oppose Russian military forces across the border in Kaliningrad. This defensive system manned by approximately 100 U.S. Army Soldiers, will have the capability to defend against the Russian Iskander tactical nuclear missiles, which the Russians have threatened to deploy around Kaliningrad, if not already in place, as well as defend against other Russian short- range missiles and aircraft.

Contrary to the administration’s decision, the President’s new missile defense plan and its sensitivity to Russia to withdraw long-range ballistic missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend Europe and the United States from Iran, this decision is directly providing Poland a capability with deployed U.S. troops to defend Polish military against Russia with no intention of the future threat from Iran to Europe.

Ellison suggests that the Iskanders may already be in place in Kaliningrad and, furthermore, observes that “This decision would also seem to be against the [Obama] Administration’s goodwill and intention to move forward with Russia on the START Follow-On Treaty to reduce strategic nuclear weapons and delivery platforms.”

Conveniently forgetting last fall’s saber rattling in the form of the Russian-Belarusian military exercise Zapad 2009, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov feigned shock at news of the Patriot deployment. Lavrov demurred: “I can’t understand the need to create the impression as if Poland is bracing itself against Russia.”

Communist organ Pravda was less diplomatic, declaring on January 22 that “Poland is cruising for a bruising” and that the “USA will eat its own vomit.” Editorialist Lisa Karpova can hardly contain her vitriol and reports that the Kremlin will resurrect its plans to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad: “Poland seems to be bound and determined to make itself a flashpoint for another world war, just like the last one. What Hitler failed to do during the Great Patriotic War, the US seems determined to make up for and reverse. The only thing Poland is accomplishing is to make itself the ground zero, primary first strike target in any conflict.” Comrade Karpova continues her rant:

Why is the US placing men and materials so close to the border of Russia? Throw away that reset button. It was all a sham and a farce. A match needs to be placed on everything to do with START, which won’t be worth the paper it gets written on. Absolutely everything in every realm with the US needs to start from scratch.

“The appearance of American soldiers in Russia’s vicinity will be a nail in a coffin in US-Russia relations,” said military analyst Pavel Felgengauer. Indeed it will be.

Meanwhile, the Russian daily Viedomosti has written that Russia is going to pursue its initial plan to install the Iskander missile system in Kaliningrad, the Russian land corridor near the Polish border. Moscow withdrew that plan when the US backed down from installing the anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Whatever the plans were for the Iskander missile system, they should be doubled now. The hostile intentions of the west, the US and Poland are so thick, they can be cut a knife.

So Poland is asking for trouble. Unfortunately, Poland is likely to find it, along with their American enablers.

That Russia is possibly preparing for a showdown with NATO over renegade communist fiefdom Poland should be considered in light of the Internal Security Agency’s (ABW) arrest of an alleged agent of Russian military intelligence (GRU) in March 2009. “The suspect,” reported the Polish media for the first time earlier this month, “headed a small business and lived in Poland for more than a decade [that is, at least since 1999], the daily [Dziennik Gazeta Prawna] reported. He was arrested after his actions became ‘intolerable’ and ‘harmful’ to Poland, an anonymous government source told the daily. . . . He was arrested by the anti-terrorism department of Poland’s Internal Security Agency.”

“It’s the first case since 1989 when a Russian spy was detected,” remarked an employee of the Chancellery of the President. The arresting officers received awards from Poland’s head of state, President Lech Kaczynski. Intriguingly, a few weeks after the alleged GRU agent was detained, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev dismissed General Valentin Korabelniko, who had been in charge of military intelligence for 12 years.

In a related story, relations between Poland and Belarus have remained unsettled since the Zapad 2009 drill, which took place near the Polish border and simulated a nuclear attack on the “former” Soviet vassal state. Last week, the Polish embassy in Minsk expressed its “concern” over the January 21 detention of 40 ethnic Polish activists organized under the banner of the Union of Poles in Belarus. The liberal Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza articulated its outrage: “Polish policy towards Belarus is being put to a hard test. As an answer to the EU’s gesture of friendship to Minsk which came about largely thanks to Warsaw’s initiative, President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime has carried out reprisals against Andżelika Bory.” The Union of Poles in Belarus features both an official and unofficial wing. Bory leads the outlawed wing.

During a subsequent telephone conversation with his Belarusian counterpart, former Soviet apparatchik Sergei Martynov, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski protested Minsk’s crackdown on Belarus’ Polish minority. Sikorski’s deputy Jan Borkowski told Polish Radio: “Such actions do not serve Poland’s relations with Belarus. Though minister Martynov created the impression this was not the intention of Minsk authorities, minister Sikorski pointed out it is hard to imagine the local police to undertake on its own such actions against the Poles on their way to Ivenec.” As the Soviet strategists prepare their military for a confrontation with NATO, expect more such provocations.

>Latin America File: Pinera wins Chile’s presidential run-off, calls Chavez “anti-democratic,” Chavez to billionaire: “Mind your own business"

>– Honduran Conflict Settled? Lobo to Be Inaugurated as President on January 27, Dominican Republic to Receive Zelaya in Exile

– Honduran Congress Amnesties Last Year’s “Coup Plotters” even as Supreme Court Puts Top Army Commanders on Trial

This past Sunday, after 20 years of center-left rule by the Concertacion coalition, Chileans elected their first conservative leader in more than 50 years, Harvard-educated billionaire Sebastian Pinera. Communist-backed Concertacion candidate Eduardo Frei, who is actually a Christian Democrat, conceded defeat after results from 60 percent of polling stations showed Pinera with 52 percent of the vote to Frei’s 48 percent. This weekend’s run-off vote follows December’s first round of voting.

Pinera, pictured above on January 18, ran on the National Renewal ticket, a center-right party belonging to the Coalition for Change, which also includes the Independent Democratic Union and Chile First. “Better times are coming for Chile. There is a great new phase on the way,” gushed Pinera on Sunday, adding: “After 20 years I think a change will be good for Chile. It’s like opening the windows of your home to let fresh air come in.”

Although Pinera has promised to boost Chile’s formerly supercharged economy–which Concertacion actually inherited from Augusto Pinochet–and implement a tough law-and-order program, he is not a true conservative in that he has pledged to maintain outgoing president Michelle Bachelet’s popular social policies. In 1973 then General Pinochet seized power in a controversial coup that ousted Soviet/Cuban-backed Marxist president Salvador Allende who, like Bachelet, was a Socialist Party cadre. Since then leftists worldwide have transformed Pinochet into their favorite “punching bag” and veritable “bête noire” of “US imperialism.”

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe offered cautious praise for Pinera’s victory, refuting descriptions of Chile’s president-elect as a “right-winger.” “I do not agree with the division of Latin America between left- and right-wing governments,” complained Uribe, whose country is surrounded by leftist regimes, adding: “It was valid in the past when ideas from the European left were brought over to fight Latin American dictatorships, but today it is a description that polarizes. Colombia Reports notes that Pinera has been described by political analysts as “Chile’s Berlusconi,” a reference to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Pinera is in fact a personal friend of Uribe and an outspoken critic of Venezuela’s communist dictator President Hugo Chavez.

For his part, Chavez’s response to Pinera’s stunning triumph was a typical case of leftist sour grapes. “The hemispheric rightwing is overexcited,” he mocked, chiding Pinera for accusing him of being “anti-democratic.” Chavez continued his rant:

He is a businessman; I think he is among the richest in Chile; and among the richest in the hemisphere. We respect that. But we cannot allow them to pick a fight with us. I expect that Mr. Piñera will not purport to turn Chile into another platform to attack Venezuela.

Pinera’s disagreements with the Venezuelan revolution are expected, considering that he is a wealthy businessman. The least we can ask for is respect for the Venezuelan people, as we respect the Chilean people. We do not get involved in Chileans’ matters, so they should mind their own business.

The Chilean Left, like Chavez, is not pleased with Pinera’s handy win. Forty years ago the Socialist Party of Chile and the Chilean Communist Party combined their forces under the Popular Unity banner to install Allende in the presidential palace. During the 2009-2010 election campaign Chile’s Socialist and Communist forces once again united under one banner, Concertación y Junto Podemos por Más Democracia, or “Concertacion and Together We Can Achieve More Democracy.” The Socialists are the main force behind Concertacion, while the Communists guide Junto Podemos. Noteworthy in this historic election was the admission of three Communist deputies into the Chilean Congress, the first time since 1973. The “three comrades” are party boss Guillermo Teillier, party general secretary Lautaro Carmona, and Hugo Gutierrez.

On January 16, 2010 Political Affairs, an organ of the Communist Party USA, interviewed Teillier, who did not hesitate to accuse Pinera of being “soft” on the crimes of the Pinochet regime and to label him as a “friend of US imperialism”:

And speaking of human rights, we want the repeal of the Amnesty law, because there is a risk of amnestying those who are guilty of crimes against humanity. One thing is sure: if Piñera, the candidate of the Right, would win, this would happen.

Piñera is an intimate friend of US imperialism. He has been in Colombia, and is in favor of U.S. military bases in Colombia.

Chairman Teillier also revealed the fact that the Communists not only actively supported the campaign of Concertacion candidate Eduard Frei, urging cadres to vote for the former president (1994-2000), but also supplied much of Frei’s policy platform:

So what we told leaders of the Eduardo Frei campaign is that they had to get closer to the people’s progressive and leftist feelings. So, he made a twelve-point proposal, adopting a big part of our platform. This is directed to that 26 percent of the electorate who did not vote for the Right but who did not want “business as usual.”

This is opening the way. We, as “Juntos podemos” and also as the Communist Party, have announced that we will vote for Eduardo Frei, and that we’re going to campaign based on those twelve points. Our role will be to demand the fulfillment of those twelve points.

The admirable electoral victory of Chile’s center-right, especially in the face of a concerted socialist-communist counter-thrust, reflects a small, but spreading rightward shift in Latin American politics. This shift includes last year’s Panamanian and Honduran elections, although center-right Porfirio Lobo’s victory in the latter country has been rejected by many of the region’s leftist regimes. The recent leftward trend in Latin American politics began in late 1998, when Chavez was elected president, as South and Central American voters rejected the US-backed, anti-communist military regimes of the Cold War and opted for “progressive” politicians who in some cases were previously gun-toting guerrillas.

Pictured here: Honduran President-Elect Porfirio Lobo on January 21.

For his part, Lobo, with the Obama White House’s blessing, will be inaugurated as Honduras’ next president on January 27. On Thursday he concluded a meeting in Santo Domingo with the Dominican president, Leonel Fernandez who, like Costa Rican counterpart Oscar Arias, has assumed the role of regional peacemaker. As a token of his commitment to “national reconciliation,” Lobo agreed that his incoming government would dismiss all charges of treason against deposed predecessor Manuel Zelaya, who is still holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, and permit him to seek exile in the Dominican Republic. The Organization of American States has promised to “establish contact” with the new Lobo administration.

In a related story, on January 15 the Honduran Congress passed an amnesty that protects interim President Roberto Micheletti and other members of the de facto government from prosecution. President-elect Lobo supports this decision, including its application to the military officers involved in Zelaya’s ouster. In a contrary move, however, on January 21 the Honduran Supreme Court, which actually ordered Zelaya’s arrest last June, initiated legal proceedings against the military’s high command, including armed forces chief of staff General Romero Vasquez. Honduras’ military brass is charged with exceeding the parameters of the arrest order by forcing Zelaya into exile and thereby trampling on Zelaya’s constitutional rights. Unimpressed, the former president has derided Vasquez’s appearance in court as a show trial.

In reality, though, the army commanders were only following the orders of the de facto civilian government, which decided Zelaya’s plans for a referendum on presidential term limits was a threat to the country’s national security. Thus, it seems that General Vasquez will take the heat for what was essentially a parliamentary coup within the then ruling Liberal Party. The humiliation of the Honduran military should silence any critics on the Left who describe last year’s upheaval in Tegucigalpa as a “military coup.”

>Latin America File: Ecuadorean troops, FARC clash; commission links Correa officials and guerrillas; US DHS report exposes Chavez-FARC-Al Qaeda nexus

>On January 19 Ecuadorean soldiers patrolling their country’s border with Colombia clashed with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), killing three guerrilla fighters. “Our soldiers were able to defend themselves and the three casualties were on the part of the FARC,” Ecuador’s socialist president, Rafael Correa, said in a statement released by his press office. However, casting some sympathy toward the Marxist guerrillas, Correa–a slavish follower of Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez– added: “Our soldiers are much better equipped and are no longer cannon fodder for anyone. No one could be pleased with incidents resulting in death, no matter the identity of the victims.”

Monday’s clash took place in the Amazonian province of Sucumbios, where an Ecuadorean army patrol stumbled across a boat ferrying FARC irregulars across the Opuno River.

Pictured above: President Correa waves a flag during a rally to commemorate his third year in government, in Ambato, Ecuador, on January 16, 2010.

The FARC, reports Bogota’s El Tiempo newspaper, is currently executing a plan to retake six “strategic corridors” lost during the past five years of operations launched by the Colombian army. Re-establishing control over one of these corridors would allow the FARC to access to the border with Ecuador unhindered, El Tiempo noted. The information, which was obtained by Colombian military intelligence, was found on the computer of a guerrilla killed two weeks ago. The order to reclaim Colombian territory for the communist insurgency was actually issued by FARC’s top commander Alfonso Cano six months ago. Cano is the nom de guerre of Guillermo Leon Saenz.

Even as Ecuadorean troops clashed with the FARC, Colombian regular forces were on the same day battling the Marxist insurgents in a rural area south of Bogota. “Operations conducted by 13th Brigade troops in the boundaries between the rural area of the city of Cabrera and the town of 20 de Bogota, in the Tunal Bajo area, led to the killing of the No. 2 leader of the FARC’s 51st Front,” 13th Brigade commander General Juan Pablo Amaya related.

Last November Ecuador and Colombia restored low-level diplomatic relations after Correa severed ties with Bogota in March 2008, when Colombian security forces raided a clandestine FARC camp just inside Ecuadorean territory, killing 25 people, including civilians. It may be for reasons of diplomacy that three weeks ago Ecuador’s defense minister downplayed accusations that Colombia is plotting to destabilize its southern neighbor with paramilitaries, as alleged by the FARC. Javier Ponce, however, contended that “The FARC’s accusations are mostly aimed to cause a media controversy inside Colombia.” He added: “Talking about a plan to destabilize the Government of Ecuador would require more elements of analysis.”

The FARC’s contention that the Colombian government intends to “destabilize” Ecuador echoes similar accusations articulated by Chavez, who contends that both Colombia and the USA are presently carrying out acts of subversion in and acts of provocation against Venezuela.

The Ecuadorean government’s attempt to portray itself as committed to the defeat of narco-terrorism should be taken with some grain of salt. This past December a commission appointed by Correa himself conceded that several former and current officials in his regime have “ties” with the FARC. Specifically, the commission report alleges that Gustavo Larrea, Correa’s ex-interior minister, and Jose Ignacio Chauvin, briefly Larrea’s deputy in the interior ministry, and Maria Augusta Calle, a television journalist who is now a legislator for Correa’s Proud and Sovereign Fatherland Alliance, harbor “direct links” to the FARC.

Prior to his death at the hands of Colombian security forces, FARC commander Raul Reyes alleged in an interview that Larrea and Chauvin, two prominent leftist who are also associated with Correa’s ruling party, were working for Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. Larrea, Chauvin, and Calle deny the charges. If the commission’s findings are true, however, these Ecuadorean politicians offer concrete proof of the alliance between the Mexican drug cartels and their main supplier, the FARC.

The Venezuelan government’s attempt to portray itself as committed to the defeat of narco-terrorism should be taken with an even larger grain of salt, as we have blogged on many previous occasions. “Venezuela’s reputation as a key link on the global drugs trade,” reported Reuters on January 21, “was enhanced in November with the discovery of a burnt out Boeing 727 jet containing traces of cocaine on a patch of Mali’s desert frequented by militants with links to al Qaeda. The United Nations says the jet hopscotched around Latin America and stopped to pick up fuel in Venezuela.” The same story notes that Caracas, after evicting agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration in 2005, has actually committed minimal resources to interdicting the cocaine traffic on its soil.

This isn’t surprising in view of Venezuela’s ever-accelerating communist revolution. The Chavezista regime is too busy transforming private enterprises like the French/ Colombian-owned chain of Hipermercado Exito stores into “socialist mega-stores” to pay attention to the “drug problem” within its borders.

This revelation follows another based on a 2008 US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report that explains how FARC uses retired or stolen commercial and executive jets to ferry multi-tons of cocaine from Venezuela across the Atlantic Ocean to remote landing strips in Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, and Mali. There, also according to Reuters, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb transports the drug across the Sahara Desert to Morocco, Algeria, and Libya, where operatives finally infiltrate the narcotic into the European Union. In short, Colombia’s Marxist insurgents, Chavez, and Al Qaeda are collaborating in reaping mega-profits from the international drug trade. So what did the higher-ups at the DHS do with this report’s strategic implications? That’s right, you got it: nothing.

Into this messy nexus of state-sponsored narco-terrorism in “America’s backyard” blunders US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has accepted an invitation from the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) to attend “direct talks” on security and defense issues of mutual concern. Clinton responded to Unasur’s overture in a letter addressed to President Correa, who is the regional bloc’s president pro tempore. To put it mildly, especially in the case of Venezuela, South America’s leftist regimes are annoyed by Washington’s plan to deploy 800 counter-narcotics troops to Colombia. In the letter, reports Prensa Latina, Clinton expressed her hope that the meetings “may increase mutual understanding, as well as contribute to identify areas of potential cooperation.”

Uh, keep dreaming, Hillary. The Obama White House has never acknowledged the reality of Communist Bloc strategy in Latin America. On the other hand, perhaps President Barack Hussein Obama, Dmitry Medvedev’s “new comrade,” is in fact skillfully guiding the USA into the Red World Order. Either way, America loses.

>Latin America File: UN dispatches 3,500 troops to augment 9,000-member force in quake-ravaged Haiti; Chavez, Ortega accuse Washington of “invading”

>Since 2004 the United Nations has garrisoned nearly 7,200 troops and 1,900 police in politically tumultuous, French-speaking Haiti, which occupies the western one third of Hispaniola. The Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island, which is located to the east of Cuba. The commander of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), General Enza Peri, is a Brazilian national.

During the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12 at least 46 UN personnel died. This includes MINUSTAH operations chief Hédi Annabi and his deputy, Luiz Carlos da Costa, who perished in the ruins of MINUSTAH headquarters in Port-au-Prince. Two days after the quake, the UN dispatched the former head of MINUSTAH, who is also current Assistant Secretary-General for the UN’s Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet, as the mission’s interim chief.

In a move that should surprise no student of the UN’s history, on January 19 the UN Security Council voted to throw 2,000 additional troops and 1,500 extra police at Haiti to expedite the delivery and distribution of food, water, and medicine. “I am … grateful to the Security Council for their swift action,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters, adding: “It was a clear signal that the world is with Haiti.”

The human misery resulting from this disaster is truly heart-breaking. The massive quake, which may have killed more than 200,000 people, ripped up roads, demolished the capital’s port facilities, leveled the presidential palace, and toppled the control tower at the country’s only international airport, hindering international efforts to introduce humanitarian aid. Haiti is already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

In an interview with the Caracas-based regional television network, Telesur, Haiti’s center-left president Rene Preval expressed gratitude for the international aid flowing into his country, calling the response “quick, concrete and massive.” Incidentally, Telesur is funded by the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, and other members of Latin America’s Moscow-backed Red Axis. Subservient Cuban ally Preval is operating his government from a police station near the airport.

For its part, the USA dispatched paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division to secure Port-au-Prince’s single-runway airport to facilitate the arrival of relief supplies. This contingent is part of an 11,000-member force that the Pentagon quickly deployed to Haiti. On Tuesday 20 Black Hawk helicopters landed in relay on the grounds of the ruined presidential palace (pictured above). There US troops in “full combat gear,” according to witnesses, set up a “forward base” with the possible intent of later distributing aid to the general population. Hoping for immediate handouts, quake survivors from a nearby camp rushed the palace gate to welcome the Americans. “We would not wish to see foreign military disembarking in our country but given the terrible situation we are in, their presence is necessary,” commented one witness, Moline Augustin.

In the midst of the renewed international interest in Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former Catholic priest and devotee of liberation theology, has maneuvered himself into the media limelight once again. The twice-deposed president, living in exile in South Africa, has offered to lead Haiti’s disaster recovery efforts. Quirky, unabashed Marxist Aristide, who enjoyed former US President Bill Clinton’s patronage during the 1990s, was ousted in two military coups, one in 1991 and another in 2004, the latter leading to the current deployment of UN troops in his country.

Two of the three major center-left parties that dominate Haiti’s bicameral National Assembly—Front for Hope and Struggling People’s Organization—are spin-off organizations from Aristide’s Famni Lavalas, which has one deputy in that body as a result of the 2006 elections. The other important center-left party, Fusion of Haitian Social Democrats, supports President Preval’s Front for Hope, something Haitians are lacking these days.

The USA’s large role in Haiti relief effort does not sit well with the demagogues of the regional Red Axis, such as Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and his comrade Daniel Ortega. On Sunday Chavez, who appears to be preparing for his own invasion of neighboring Colombia, a US ally, accused Washington of occupying Haiti under the pretext of humanitarian assistance:

I read that 3,000 soldiers are arriving, Marines armed as if they were going to war. There is not a shortage of guns there, my God. Doctors, medicine, fuel, field hospitals, that’s what the United States should send. They are occupying Haiti undercover. On top of that, you don’t see them in the streets. Are they picking up bodies? … Are they looking for the injured? You don’t see them. I haven’t seen them. Where are they?

Big-talking commie thug Chavez promised to ship as much gasoline as Haiti needs for electricity generation and transportation.

Along the same lines, on Saturday Ortega, referring to the US-Colombian alliance, condemned Washington for taking advantage of Haiti’s plight to “occupy” another Latin American country:

What is happening in Haiti seriously concerns me as US troops have already taken control of the airport. It seems that the bases [in Colombia] are not sufficient. There is no logic that US troops landed in Haiti. Haiti seeks humanitarian aid, not troops. It would be madness we all began to send troops to Haiti. I hope they will withdraw troops occupying Haiti.

Last Thursday Ortega dispatched 31 military doctors to battered, impoverished Haiti to assist in humanitarian relief. Ironically, Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America, a fact that has forced the Sandinista leader to court aid for infrastructure development from oil-rich Red Venezuela, as well as Nicaragua’s Cold War-era benefactor, Russia.

>USSR2 File: “Ex”-red wins 1st round in Ukrainian presidential vote; recalling Putin’s support for Yanukovich in 2004, Kremlin cautiously returns envoy

>Even though Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is a former Soviet-era banker and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko a former Komsomol entrepreneur, “Moscow’s man in Kiev” is Viktor Yanukovich (pictured here on January 18). This past Sunday Yanukovich credibly won the first round of a presidential ballot. A former cadre of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and presently leader of the Party of Regions, Yanukovich also “won” the last presidential election in 2004, only to suffer defeat when Ukraine’s Supreme Court agreed that his victory was secured by fraud. At the time, he was prime minister, a post he re-assumed between 2006 and 2007.

“Today marks the end of Orange power,” Yanukovich gloated in televised remarks, referring to Yushchenko’s “pro”-Western victory five years ago. “There will be no room for [Yushchenko] in the second round. He has officially lost the faith of the people.” Last week Ukraine’s front-running presidential candidates traded accusations of plans to steal the election, with at least one threat of possible street confrontations. Tymoshenko, who along with Yushchenko, led the Orange forces in 2004, accused Yanukovich of plotting “large-scale fraud” using falsified absentee ballots and other methods.

Incumbent Yushchenko ran for re-election in this poll but came in a distant fifth. The former Soviet KGB Border Guard was the target of a well-publicized dioxin poisoning attempt that disfigured his face. This was apparently carried out by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and its Ukrainian counterpart, the State Security Service (SBU), itself the Ukrainian branch of the old Soviet KGB. “An illicitly transcribed telephone conversation,” reported the Eurasia Daily Monitor in January 2005, “between a Ukrainian informant and an FSB officer showed how the Russian authorities were fully aware of the dirty tricks being used by Russian political advisors working for Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.”

On September 27, 2009 President Yushchenko maintained in a Channel 1+1 interview that the conspirators are still hiding in Russia. The plotters include the former deputy chief of the SBU, Vladimir Satsyuk, whom Russian authorities refuse to extradite because Satsyuk holds both Russian and Ukrainian citizenship. Yushchenko contends that he was poisoned during a September 5, 2004 dinner at Satsyuk’s home, where then SBU chief Igor Smeshko was also in attendance. It would appear, therefore, that Yushchenko is a not-so-willing pawn in the Soviet deception strategy against the West.

Twenty years after the Cold War supposedly ended, Russia is still a haven for government-sponsored assassins. For example, as a State Duma deputy Andrei Lugovoi–who is suspected by British authorities of poisoning former colleague Alexander Litvinenko in November 2006– enjoys immunity from extradition. In Litvinenko’s murder polonium-210, not dioxin, was the KGB’s poison of choice.

In an intriguing side note, Yushchenko, Tymoshenko, and Yanukovich employed US consultants to provide a polished look to their campaigns. In the first case, Yushchenko, whose popularity has waned since the Orange Revolution, picked the brains of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s former campaign strategist Mark Penn, as well as the election gurus at PBN, a Washington-based consulting company that has a storefront in Kiev. During the 2008 Democratic Party primaries in the USA Clinton unsuccessfully ran against Illinois Senator Barack Hussein Obama. Fellow Orange “revolutionary” Tymoshenko has retained media consulting firm AKPD, which was founded by President Obama’s current chief of staff David Axelrod. Axelrod no longer works for AKPD.

For his part, “ex”-red Yanukovich retained Paul Manafort, a Washington political strategist who guided John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and whose partner Rick Davis was McCain’s campaign manager. Yanukovich took advantage of Manafort’s services to downplay his communist past and cozy friendship with the Kremlin. In summary, these alliances between cadres of the old Soviet system and US political hacks reveal the extent to which the Moscow Leninists have pulled the wool over the eyes of the West.

There is no doubt that Yanukovich will obediently bring Kiev back into Moscow’s orbit. On January 16 Megan K. Stack, a journalist for the Los Angeles Times, interviewed Yanukovich, who outlined his (Moscow-scripted) policy of embracing the European Union while rejecting NATO, which is dominated by the USA. Stack asks: “You have said that you would keep Ukraine out of NATO, and also that you believe integration into the EU is in Ukraine’s strategic interests. Why one and not the other?” Yanukovich responded at length:

Integration into the EU is connected with making the lives of people better: economics, the defense of human rights, the development of the country in the direction of democratic values. This is in the interest of the majority of people, that Ukrainians should enjoy European standards of living. People are also looking for the harmonization of the Ukrainian legal system, to have the same rights and freedoms as in Europe.

Joining NATO, from the point of view of Ukrainians, will politically destabilize us, especially taking into account the closeness of another [Russian-led] defense system on our borders. Ukrainian folk believe that Ukraine must preserve its neutral status, and must not join any military organization. This is proved by polls.

Meanwhile we believe that Ukraine has to build a partnership with NATO using the principles of those EU countries that are not members of NATO. We believe that Ukraine can and must take an active part in the creation of a European collective defense system. And also must support the initiatives of both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Stack then asks: “There is a long-standing perception that your ties to Moscow are strong, and you’ve been a supporter of [Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin. How is your relationship with Russia now?” Yanukovich replied as follows: “I’ve always had a pragmatic, stable relationship with Russia, and it has stayed the same now. I really do think the relations between Ukraine and Russia must be friendly. This is what both the Russian and Ukrainian nations want.”

Finally, Stack queries: “Your main competition in this campaign has been Yulia Tymoshenko. What is your opinion of Tymoshenko, and what kind of president would she be?” Yanukovich does not hesitate to berate his opponents for letting congenial relations between Kiev and Moscow slide:

I think that for the last five years, the politics of Tymoshenko have been false. The politics of Tymoshenko and Yushchenko brought us economic and political instability in Ukraine, and made the international image of Ukraine suffer around the world. These politics made Ukraine blow up its obligations to the EU and also destabilized relations with Russia.

Meanwhile, over the weekend the Kremlin activated one of its rent-a-mobs to make its preference for the outcome of the Ukrainian election well known. On January 17, as Ukrainians trooped to polling stations, more than 100 cadres of Young Russia materialized outside the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow to agitate in support of ethnic Russians living in the not-so-former Soviet republic. Prior to its demonstration, Young Russia released a statement that denounced the Orange regime in Kiev:

On the day of Ukraine’s presidential elections, activists of the movement will demand that the future president recognize the rights of the Russian-speaking population in the territory of Ukraine and abandon Victor Yushchenko’s anti-Russian policy in order to build friendly relations with Russia and preserve the Russian language and culture in Ukraine.

A large number of ethnic Russians live in the Crimean Peninsula, where the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet is parked.

Finally, on Tuesday the Kremlin, embarrassed by its outspoken support for Yanukovich in 2004, broke its official silence on Ukraine’s latest presidential election. “I am sure that the new Ukrainian president will fully understand the need to develop relations and not make them hostage to their own, or someone else’s, political ambitions,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by Novosti as urging. To reward Ukrainians for voting for “Moscow’s man,” the Kremlin has announced that after a five-month falling out with Kiev it is sending its ambassador back to Ukraine. Medvedev stated: “I hope relations under the new president will be constructive and friendly.” In other words, Medvedev’s comments reveal that the Moscow Leninists are confident that Comrade Yanukovich will once again prostrate Ukraine before its Soviet masters.

Yanukovich will run against Tymoshenko in February’s presidential run-off poll, but his victory appears assured. In any case, both politicians have called for improved ties with Russia and the EU, Mikhail Gorbachev’s “new European Soviet.” Thus, we see that in the “former” Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic voters have a choice beween “Ex”-Communist Candidate A versus “Ex”-Communist Candidate B. Frankly, without being too cynical, there’s not too much difference between US and “post”-Soviet elections.

>Latin America File: Moscow to prop up ALBA regimes via new Russian-Venezuelan bank; Honduran Congress pulls country out of ALBA over Chavez’s protests

>– Sandinista Chief of Managua-Caracas Oil Consortium Charged with Embezzlement, Venezuelan Assumes Interim Position

– Nicaragua’s Marxist Dictator Extends Terms for Supporters as Opposition Leader Montealegre Calls for Ortega’s Impeachment

– Honduras’ National Front against the Coup D’Etat Vows to Disrupt Lobo Inauguration on January 27

Pictured above: Honduras’ center-right president-elect Porfirio Lobo Sosa.

As hinted by President Dmitry Medvedev during his November 2008 visit to Caracas, Russia intends to prop up the communist/leftist regimes of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) via a joint Russian-Venezuelan bank to be set up in early 2010 with an initial capitalization of US$4 billion.

“The bank will finance bilateral trade and economic projects,” Itar-Tass quoted Venezuelan Economy and Finance Minister Ali Rodriguez as saying. The bank will be headquartered in Moscow with a branch in Caracas per the agreement signed in June 2009. The new Russian-Venezuelan bank will finance a major energy project in the Junin-6 bloc of the Orinoco River belt, where a bilateral venture plans to produce 450,000 barrels of heavy and extra heavy crude daily.

Not so coincidentally, the new Russian-Venezuelan bank will be set up even as ALBA’s new virtual currency, the sucre, comes online for transactions between member states. All of this suggests that Kremlin credits can be moved secretly from one ALBA state to another. ALBA consists of Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Venezuela and, until yesterday, Honduras. El Salvador’s guerrilla commander-turned vice president, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, has expressed the determination of that country’s Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front government to join ALBA.

Shady dealings within the international institutions of ALBA have already surfaced, most lately in the management of Albanisa (ALBA de Nicaragua SA), a consortium consisting of Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA, the majority owner, and Nicaragua’s state-run oil company Petróleos de Nicaragua (Petronic). In response to charges of embezzling 1.4 million cordobas from Albanisa, the organization’s director, José Francisco López Centeno, resigned. López, former chief of the secretary of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), then moved laterally into the management of a different state-run firm. He is a close ally of President Daniel Ortega, First Lady Rosario Murillo, and their son Rafael Ortega Murillo.

One of the likely successors of López at Albanisa, founded in 2007, is Major General Ramón Calderón Vindell, inspector general of the Nicaraguan National Army. However, Nicaragua’s Albanisa is now reportedly under the interim management of Venezuelan citizen Rafael Paniagua.

On the verge of Hugo Chavez’s latest visit to Managua this week, Nicaragua’s political opposition has complained repeatedly that Ortega is not accountable for the allocation of financial aid from Venezuela. Nicaragua’s past and present Marxist dictator continues to face challenges to his attempt to reconsolidate the FSLN dictatorship.

This past Saturday, in his first official act of the year Ortega, wearing the presidential sash, issued a decree to extend the terms of more than a dozen top judges, magistrates, and other key government officials. Unable to muster the votes needed in the National Assembly to appoint Sandinistas to key posts, Ortega ordered term extensions for the current magistrates of the Supreme Electoral Council, the Supreme Court, the Comptroller General’s Office, the Superintendent of Banks, and the Ombudsman’s Office.

In response, congressman Eduardo Montealegre, leader of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, is calling for Ortega’s impeachment. “He cannot act like a supreme power and pass over the law,” complained Montealegre, who lost the 2006 presidential election to Ortega. “He wants a dictatorship in Nicaragua,” Montealegre told local television. The Nicaraguan Democratic Bloc (NDB), which Montealegre also leads, opines that Ortega must be removed from office and brought to justice for violating the Constitution. “According to the Constitution, President Ortega can be declared incapacitated to continue governing the country [now that he’s shown] he can’t even follow the most basic attribution of a chief of state, which is to comply with the Constitution and the laws,” the NDB proclaimed in a statement Sunday evening.

Ortega’s red chums–Chavez, Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa–have already managed to overturn constitutional bans against consecutive presidential terms. Moreover, the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, Bolivia’s Movement toward Socialism, and Ecuador’s Proud and Sovereign Fatherland Alliance have numerical superiority in the congresses of these countries, creating veritable communist dictatorships.

Last year Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, who is stilled holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, was deposed by his ruling Liberal Party for reportedly planning to establish a leftist dictatorship with the aid of forged referendum ballots printed in Venezuela. In November Hondurans resoundingly voted for the National Party’s presidential candidate Porfirio Lobo Sosa, who will assume office on January 27. Meanwhile, former Congress speaker Roberto Micheletti remains interim president. Latin America’s leftist regimes refuse to recognize either Micheletti or Lobo, an intransigence that will only harden in the face of the Honduran Congress’ resounding vote yesterday to withdraw the country from ALBA, barely two years after Zelaya led the country into the embrace of that bloc of socialist nations.

On Wednesday Chavez joined his puppet Zelaya in lamenting the end of Honduras’ subservience to the Havana-Caracas Axis. The National Front against the Coup D’etat, a coalition of Honduran leftists that backs Zelaya’s re-installation over the USA’s support for Lobo, vows to instigate “massive street demonstrations” and to disrupt Lobo’s inaugural ceremony. In February a Brazilian delegation intends to visit Honduras to ensure Zelaya’s personal safety after his presidential term formally expires.

It is likely that Russia’s involvement with ALBA institutions via Venezuela, Honduras’ withdrawal from ALBA, and this spring’s joint Nicaraguan-Venezuelan military exercise will be high on the agenda when Ortega and Chavez meet in Managua. Last summer the Nicaraguan capital served for many weeks as Zelaya’s base of operations. In light of Honduras’ flight from the Red Axis, the Nicaraguan-Venezuelan army drill in Central America will no doubt appear to the Hondurans as another intimidation tactic by Chavez and Co.

>Oceania File: Soviets establish "beachhead" on Nauru, send team of experts, US$50 million to tiny S. Pacific island, pledge airport upgrade

>The Soviets are desperate to secure international recognition for the independence of the two regions of Georgia that their military occupies, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Thus far, only Nicaragua and Venezuela, two slavish Latin American allies, have granted that recognition. Ironically, last month, Russia, the world’s largest country, secured additional international support from the world’s smallest island nation, the South Pacific state of Nauru. Needless to say, Nauru’s President Marcus Stephen, a former top-class weightlifter, did not cozy up to Moscow without a quid pro quo.

The South Pacific media reports on the Russian takeover of Nauru, an uplifted, phosphate-stripped coral formation, which is located northeast of the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, and only 40 kilometers south of the equator. Fijian journalist Alfred Sasako asks the following question: “The Russians are coming to rebuild Nauru. But could other islands follow Nauru’s way?” This is a geopolitically important question that Washington needs to answer sooner rather than later.

“Well, the good thing about Russia is that when I met their foreign minister [Sergei Lavrov], he seemed to have a perfect understanding of our nation’s needs and is willing to help,” Nauru’s foreign minister Kieren Keke told Sasako, refering to his own trip to Moscow. Keke reveals that Russia is very much up to speed on Nauru’s development needs:

The Russian minister knows where in the Pacific we are, the impact the global financial situation is having on our people and the ability of our government to provide essential services. He knows all that, quite unlike Washington where when you talk with Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, for example, one has to show her where on the map one’s country is located in the Pacific. No, Washington does not have ears for small islands nations like Nauru. All I had to do was to provide the minister with a range of projects Nauru considers as priorities and as I said earlier, these were all to do with infrastructure.

Moscow has pledged to upgrade Nauru’s sole airport and renovate the island’s hospital and schools. “I am pleased to say that Russia has accepted all that,” Keke gushed. At 7,054 feet in length Nauru International Airport cannot accommodate Russia’s Tu-160 and Tu-95 nuclear bombers, which require about 10,000 feet of blacktop. Looking at the photo above, it is hard to envision stretching that runway another 3,000 feet to provide a haven for the Russian Air Force’s strategic bombers, unless, of course, the runway is extended into the sea atop a causeway of sorts.

Moscow will be sending a team of experts to Nauru this month. Keke explains: “They will do the physical inspection of all the facilities we have identified as priorities. Their work is to put the project details together so that work would follow almost immediately.” Nauru’s foreign minister then revealed that the two countries intend to implement some commercial ventures. “Yes,” Keke told journalist Sasako, “we did touch on potential areas of commercial undertaking. Fisheries is one. At this point in time, however, infrastructure is the priority and will be dealt with as such.”

Sasako then astutely notes that Russia is probably eyeing alliances with other Pacific island states, all of which are hungry for handouts: “Given what Nauru is about to receive from Russia, it is almost certain that some cash-strapped Pacific islands states, could be eyeing Nauru’s lead. If they did fall for Russia’s too tempting bait, those who are unwilling to give without strings attached, shouldn’t be complaining.”

According to the Moscow News, which is partly owned by Kremlin-run Novosti, US$70 billion in Russian money passed through Nauru financial institutions during the 1990s. No doubt, much of that money was “dirty” and generated by the business operations of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB). This could be one reason why Moscow wants to dig its heels into the island’s sand again.

>WW4 File: Chavez admits shipment of Russian tanks, combat helicopters to reinforce units in Barinas state, along Colombian border

>The Bulgarian media, citing Novosti, reports that Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez plans to deploy Russian-made tanks and helicopters along his country’s border with Colombia. Focus Information Agency describes South America’s move toward war:

Ties between Venezuela and Colombia deteriorated last August after Washington signed a deal with Bogota allowing U.S. forces to run anti-drug operations from Colombian bases. Chavez has criticized the deal and called for the Venezuelan people and army to prepare for a war.

“We are expecting the arrival of the first shipment of tanks [from Russia] which will be sent to Barracas [in the state of Barinas] to reinforce a motorized infantry brigade,” Chavez said in his weekly TV program, Alo Presidente, on Sunday.

“In addition, attack helicopters arriving from Russia will be deployed along the Colombian border,” he said.

Chavez secured a USD 2.2 billion loan from Russia during his visit to Moscow last September for the purchase of 92 T-72 main battle tanks, an undisclosed number of Smerch multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), and a variety of air defense systems, including the advanced S-300 complexes.

Between 2005 and 2007, Moscow and Caracas signed 12 contracts worth more than USD 4.4 billion to supply arms to Venezuela, including fighter jets, helicopters and Kalashnikov assault rifles.

The report concludes by noting, as we have done before, that the “Venezuelan military already has nearly 200 tanks, according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, while Colombia has no tank units.”

Pictured above: Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro talks to the media after meeting John Caulfield, the charge d’affaires of the US embassy in Caracas, on January 11, 2010.

The Pentagon has responded to Chavez’s latest saber rattling, which includes accusations of intruding into Venezuelan airspace by US maritime reconnaissance aircraft, with scorn. Frank Mora, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, commented:

The more that President Chavez is confronted with domestic challenges, the more his rhetoric heats up. It is interesting that he made this unfounded accusation … at the same time he was announcing a major currency devaluation. It is, in my view, a diversion of attention away from a particularly domestic challenge — and trying to scapegoat the issue by once again accusing the United States government.

Meanwhile, Mora’s colleague, Arturo Valenzuela, who is Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, denies that Venezuela and Colombia are edging toward war. No surprise here. The US State Department has obviously adopted the leftist mantra: “Think peace.”

>WW4 File: Chavez accuses USA of twice sending P-3 Orion maritime reconnaissance plane into Venezuelan airspace in latest "imperialist provocation"

>On Friday Venezuela’s communist dictator, Hugo Chavez, accused the USA of twice sending a military plane into Venezuelan airspace, only to be intercepted by Venezuelan Air Force F-16 fighter jets. In response, Washington denied that its planes flew over the South American country. The US Defense Department released an email that stated: “We can confirm no U.S. military aircraft entered Venezuelan airspace today. As a matter of policy we do not fly over a nation’s airspace without prior consent or coordination.”

Flourishing a photo of the alleged intruder, which he described as a Lockheed P-3 Orion, Chavez asserted that the two overflights were the latest violation of Venezuelan airspace by the US military from its bases in the Netherlands Antilles and from neighboring Colombia. “They are provoking us … these are warplanes,” he ranted. Senior officials from the Obama White House related that “the US Southern Command was unaware of any incident involving U.S. government aircraft in Venezuelan airspace on Friday. “

Last month Chavez accused the USA of sending an unmanned aerial reconnaissance plane (or drone) over a Venezuelan military base near the Colombian border.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia’s Yota installs WiMAX mobile network in Nicaragua in record time, DARPA urges creation of "4G" soldier

>– Are the Russian Armed Forces Forward Deploying a Mobile Communication Network in Nicaragua?

– Kremlin’s Rostechnologii Purchased 25.1 Percent Stake in Yota’s Parent Company, Investors behind Yota’s Corporate Partner Telconet Unknown (FSB/KGB?)

– Chavez to Visit Ortega in Several Days, Possibly Discuss Combined Venezuelan-Nicaraguan Military Exercise to Take Place in May-June

We wrote most of the following post about three weeks ago. However, no additional, open-source developments in Russian-Nicaraguan relations have surfaced since then. In the interest of laying a foundation for understanding future interaction between Moscow and Managua, we post it now.

Pictured above: Tecore Networks’ Military Secured Rapid Deployment System (MilSec-RDS), a multi-technology voice and data communications platform built for the US Armed Forces. This 3G Radio Network Controller can be upgraded to a 4G LTE capability when the latter becomes available in 2011.

On December 15, 2009 PR Newswire reported that Russia’s mobile communication service developer and provider Yota conducted the test run of a 4th-generation (4G) Internet network in Managua. Yota’s Nicaragua project was rolled out in record time—three months since the beginning of construction. A press conference in the Nicaraguan capital was attended by representatives of Yota’s strategic business partners: WiMAX Forum, Intel, and Samsung Electronics.

“The record time of deployment of the network in Nicaragua shows that Yota has accumulated strong expertise and has created the proven network infrastructure based on Samsung equipment. All these issues allow Yota to deploy networks in any country in the world extremely fast,” remarked Dr. Song of Samsung.

“We see great potential in our project in Nicaragua. The demand for communications services in this country is enormous. According to recent studies, the country cries out for telephony and for at least 300,000 new Internet connections,” gushed Yegor Ivanov, vice president of business development at Yota. He added: “Aside from Nicaragua, Yota includes Latin America, the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States], as well as a series of countries in Asia and Africa, a total of 75 nations, into its global expansion plan.”

The sale of end-user Samsung-brand equipment for service subscribers will begin in the spring, while the commercial use of Nicaragua’s WiMAX network will begin in mid-2010. As you probably suspected by the news category chosen above, “Communist Bloc Military Updates,” 4G communication technology (comtech) has critical military application.

According to a 2003 article by Larry Williams, a principle investigator for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Allen Kupetz, DARPA is “concertedly working” to provide US soldiers with 4G comtech. A handheld 4G device, for example, can provide tactical broadband voice, video, and data with a “minimal amount of fixed infrastructure” like cell towers, which are not practical in a battle situation. Specific capabilities for 21st-century battlefield communication, contend Williams and Kupetz, must include:

1. Deployability with network activation automatically beginning the moment troops exit a transport, helicopter, or ship. Conversely, the network will disappear as soon as soldiers leave the area.

2. Geo-location well beyond the limitations of the Global Positioning System.

3. Security from unauthorized use if a portable 4G device is captured by enemy forces.

4. Mesh networks allowing for route diversity, lowering the probability of detection by enemy forces.

5. Anti-jamming “robustness” based on “self-forming, self-healing” networks.

6. High-mobility connectivity so 4G soldiers can receive real-time streaming video from unmanned aerial vehicles, such as the Predator drone.

7. End-to-end IP so the 4G soldier, using instant messaging, can send photos of enemy positions back to the Pentagon for analysis.

“While commercial versions of the technology will require some fixed infrastructure mounted on streetlights, billboards, and buildings, the 4G battlefield will be entirely mobile,” Williams and Kupetz explain, “with satellites or other communications systems providing the backhaul.” In 2007 the US Army’s Communications Electronic Research and Development Engineering Center was still studying whether the US military can use mobile WiMAX equipment in a “military environment.”

In November 2008 Russia’s Yota network, in cooperation with HTC, which provided the end-user GSM/WiMAX handset, inaugurated the world’s first commercial WiMAX network in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Together these two cities contain a potential market of 20 million subscribers. Yota is the brand name of Scartel LLC which, in turn, is owned by WiMAX Holding Ltd. That November Rostechnologii, a non-profit state corporation that supports Russian high-tech enterprises, purchased a 25.1 percent stake in WiMAX Holding. The remaining equity in WiMAX Holding is held by Telconet Capital Limited Partnership, a private investment fund. In June 2009 The Economist reported: “The state involvement in Yota (via WiMAX Holding), combined with a lack of transparency related to Telconet investors, has fuelled speculation in some quarters that Yota is managing to pull strings in order to get an unfair head start.”

Interestingly, neither the Russian State Spectrum Committee nor the Russian military have given public approval to Yota or Comstar, Moscow’s number-one fixed broadband operator, to deploy mobile WiMAX technology at either 2.5 GHz or 2.3 GHz. Yota deployed its WiMAX network in Nicaragua across the 2.5-2.7 GHz bandwidth.

The entrance of Nicaragua, Central America’s most impoverished country, into the Cyber Age is commendable. However, the introduction of advanced ICT into a country controlled by the Sandinista National Liberation Front has troubling ramifications since, as pointed out above, this technology has acknowledged battlefield potential. Yota’s activities in Nicaragua should in fact be viewed in the light of current bilateral relations between Managua and Moscow, which were revived in 2007, after former guerrilla leader Daniel Ortega re-assumed the presidency after a nearly 17-year hiatus. In addition to modernizing the country’s energy infrastructure, renovating the military runway at Punta Huete, dredging a port at Monkey Point on the country’s Caribbean coast, and digging a canal across the Central American country, Russia has pledged to upgrade the armament and equipment of the Nicaraguan National Army, known as the Sandinista Popular Army until its supposed de-communization in 1995.

While faithful lackey Ortega is still waiting for the Kremlin to come through on these pledges, the Soviet strategists are already shipping a small amount of suspect cargo to their Central American satellite. In November 2008, for example, the Russian destroyer Admiral Chabanenko weighed anchor off Bluefields, on the country’s Caribbean coast, where it unloaded “medical equipment and computers” earmarked for the Nicaraguan army and police forces. Last October the Russians promised to send 23 metric tons of medical equipment to Nicaragua via two shipping containers. Of course, we would like to know if those containers contain anything in addition to “medical equipment.”

In a related development, a small contingent of Venezuelan troops, with an unspecified number of warships and warplanes, will arrive in Nicaragua in several months to carry out joint exercises with their Nicaraguan counterparts, beginning on May 1. Venezuela’s communist dictator also plans to visit Nicaragua in several days. At that time Hugo Chavez will probably confer with red counterpart Daniel Ortega on the subject of this combined military drill, which is scheduled to last two months. Both leaders have stated their interest in combining the militaries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas into an “anti-imperialist army.”

Will the armed forces of Nicaragua and Venezuela test the Central American country’s new WiMAX network for military communications? More pointedly, are the Russian Armed Forces “forward deploying” 4G comtech in Soviet satellite states like Nicaragua with the expectation of confronting the US military in this region at some point? We can only speculate at this time, but inquiring minds would like to know.

>End Times File: Ezekiel 38-39’s anti-Israel military coalition continues to coalesce: Syria, Turkey seek alliance with Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon

>On January 1, 2010 Syria’s Al-Thawra news source reported that Syria and Turkey, which enjoy a new strategic partnership, are also seeking an alliance with Iran, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon: “Syrian Information Minister Muhsin Bilal praised the excellent and strategic relations between Syria and Turkey, and said that the two countries were seeking to expand their strategic alliance to include Iran, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon.” Ominously, Syria’s information minister alluded to Israel’s occupation and annexation of the Golan Heights and Damascus’ right to “liberate” that region, presumably with the help of the multinational coalition Syria and Turkey are seeking to build: “Bilal also said that a people whose land has been occupied may use any means to liberate it, because resistance is a sacred right recognized by all international charters.”

Although Jordan is technically at peace with Israel, all of these Muslim countries are to one degree or another opposed to Israel’s existence and all of them are aligned with Russia, most likely “Magog” in Ezekiel’s end-times prophecy. An alliance like this was unthinkable during the Cold War, when NATO member Turkey was reliably anti-Soviet. Last month we reported that Syria and Iran have formed a military pact that requires the one country to defend the other if involved in a war with Israel. From the vantage of Bible prophecy, God is setting the stage for the fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th week, sometimes known as the seven-year tribulation period, and the rapture of the church.

>Latin America File: 202,000 Mexican troops on "heightened alert"; US DEA: Drug cartels may stage New Year’s counter-strike against Mexican government

>As freedom lovers in the USA monitor developments in Mexico’s narco-insurgency, they should keep in mind that that country’s drug cartels are being supplied with weapons by the Red Mafiya (FSB/KGB). The Soviet strategists are anxious to transform Mexico into a failed state that will in turn jeopardize the national security of the USA, their main target. All Headlines News reports that the US Drug Enforcement Administration has warned the Mexican government that the well-armed drug cartels are planning to launch a counter-offensive against federal troops and government targets.

The Mexican military went on a heightened alert yesterday after a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration warning that drug cartels might use the New Year to stage a counter-strike against Mexican government targets.

The Mexican Secretariat of National Defense issued a statement saying 202,000 soldiers would stay on active duty during the alert in areas where drug cartels are active. Mexican government officials declined to give details of the military’s planned actions. The soldiers are stationed at 131 installations, many in the Michoacán and Chihuahua states.

The warning follows a wave of violence in northern Mexico in recent weeks, which included the kidnapping of news reporter Jose Luis Romero this week. Romero frequently reported on police activities in the Sinaloa state of Mexico, where drug cartels are notorious for their violence and inciting corruption among public officials.

In recent weeks, the violence has included use of high-powered rifles and grenades by gang members against local and federal government sites. Some of them were located in high security zones.

The Sinaloa Cartel’s armed wing is Los Negros, while the Gulf Cartel’s armed wing is Los Zetas. Since overt communist insurgencies in Mexico, such as the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and the Popular Revolutionary Army have little public support, the Moscow Leninists are instead utilizing their decades-old red cocaine plot against the West to subvert America ahead of Missile Day. Our updated Red World map contains information on the Communist Bloc’s narco-routes.

>Blogger’s Note: Red World map updated for 2010, Communist Bloc narco-routes indicated

>Please note our new Red World 2010 map in this blog’s right column. Communist Bloc narco-routes are indicated. We are assuming that Chile’s rightist presidential candidate will win the run-off election in January. That country is colored accordingly.

>WW4 File: Colombian DM says “Risk of foreign aggression,” activates 6 air battalions, builds new army base near Venezuelan border

>– Chavez and Putin Hold Christmas Eve Telephone Conversation, Discuss Arrival in Venezuela of “Machinery and Equipment from Russia” (90-Plus T-72 Main Battle Tanks to Be Hurled at Colombia?)

– Chavez Justifies His Own Aggression: 1) Accuses USA of Sending Unmanned Spy Plane over Venezuelan Military Base, 2) “Exposes” US-Colombian Plot to Set Up and Attack a Fake FARC Camp on Venezuelan Soil, 3) Denounces Netherlands for Hosting US Counter-Narcotics Personnel in Leeward Antilles, 4) Declares “Obama Illusion Has Finished”

Let’s face reality, folks, since the Obama White House refuses to acknowledge the obvious: armed for bear by the Soviet Bear, Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez has flipped his lid and is swaggering into an armed confrontation with US ally Colombia. Meanwhile, as South America teeters on the verge of the region’s worst-ever war, the North American shopping mall regime staggers along in a decades-old strategic sleepwalk.

On December 20, in an interview with El Tiempo, Colombia’s Defense Minister Gabriel Silva warned that there was a “growing risk” of a foreign state taking military action against Colombia, an obvious reference to neighboring Venezuela. “In Colombia we have concentrated on the internal threat,” explained Silva, adding:

But the risk is growing because what has been clearly and directly presented, is an eventual action against Colombia from outside. Colombia was not used to thinking about this eventuality in its foreign policy and defence strategy. Unfortunately now we have to put this variable on the map. There is a risk of a foreign aggression.

The previous day Silva announced that the Colombian military will build a new base on the Guajira peninsula, near the border city of Nazaret. The facility will accommodate 1,000 troops. “It is a strategic point from a defence point of view,” Silva admitted. Meanwhile, as we reported in November, General Oscar Gonzalez, commander of the Colombian Army, has acknowledged that six air battalions have been activated, including two on the border with Venezuela. At the time Chavez deployed 15,000 National Guard troops along the Colombian border, ostensibly to disrupt the flow of cocaine into Venezuela, but in reality to no doubt facilitate that traffic in collusion with his ideological comrades in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

For his part, Chavez fulminated during his weekly rant-in, Alo Presidente: “We are not preparing any aggression against Colombia or against anybody,” he protested in response to Silva’s admonition, but added this warning: “Believe me, bourgeois of Colombia, if you hurt Venezuela you’ll regret it. We are not unarmed. We do not have our arms crossed.” On December 20 drug lord Chavez condemned the Netherlands for allowing US counter-narcotics personnel access to airbases in self-governing Aruba and Curacao, Dutch-owned islands near Venezuela’s Caribbean coast. He also accused Washington of sending unmanned aerial drones from Colombia to spy on a Venezuelan military base and threatened to shoot down the aircraft. Silva laughed off Chavez’s accusation, suggesting that “perhaps Venezuelan soldiers saw Santa’s sleigh instead.”

So now in Chavez’s feverish imagination three countries are arrayed against Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution: USA, Colombia, and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Chavez continues to receive his orders from Moscow. On Christmas Eve he held a telephone conversation with his KGB handler, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. “Putin and Chavez discussed various issues of bilateral trade and economic relations, including several aspects of Russian-Venezuelan interaction in the energy sphere, as well as in the sphere of supplies of machinery and equipment from Russia,” the Kremlin press service intoned blandly. Itar-Tass also reported: “Putin and Chavez coordinated a schedule for bilateral contacts in early 2010 and exchanged congratulations on the coming Christmas and New Year.” We rather suspect that the “machinery and equipment” that Chavez is expecting from Russia contains a shipment of 90-odd T-72 main battle tanks that the Venezuelan military intends to hurl against Colombia.

Buoyed by his conversation with Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, on Monday Chavez hurled yet another provocation at Colombia and the USA, this time accusing the two allies of plotting to set up and attack a fake FARC camp on Venezuelan territory. “We have evidence that the Colombian government, instructed and supported, or rather directed by the United States, is preparing a ‘false positive,’” the Venezuelan president ranted during a televised speech to troops based in the western border state of Zulia. Chavez then denied Colombian counter-accusations that have portrayed him as “being in cahoots” with the FARC guerrillas:

It’s feasible the neighbouring country could build a makeshift camp in a remote location, then plant corpses and guns to make it look like a rebel camp had been discovered. The verbal war against Venezuela began weeks ago, saying that we have I don’t know how many guerrilla chiefs hidden here … that in Venezuela there are rebel camps protected by the Venezuelan government, which is absolutely false.

They are preparing the terrain to attack Venezuelan territory, simulating an encampment.

Chavez, pictured above, addressed troops at Fort Mara where, he insisted, a group of soldiers reportedly spotted the unmanned spy plane mentioned above. Soldiers who stood facing Chavez displayed some of the weapons that Caracas has recently bought from Moscow, including shoulder-fired Igla-S surface-to-air missiles and Dragunov sniper rifles. Referring to the thousands of Igla-S weapons that Venezuela has purchased, Chavez quipped: “They’re defensive weapons. This is like the boxer’s jab.” He also reassured Venezuelan troops that the military will soon receive the Russian-built T-72 main battle tanks, the subject of which Chavez probably raised in his conversation with Putin last week.

In a related story, according to Bogota’s DAS intelligence agency, Colombian authorities have arrested a sixth Venezuelan soldier who illegally crossed the border within the last three months. This time a uniformed sergeant of the Venezuelan National Guard was arrested at a hotel in the Arauca department. The soldier was delivered to Venezuelan authorities at the border. Make link to Colombia Reports

Finally, in spite of their comradely first encounter at the Organization of American States summit in April, Chavez has apparently concluded that US President Barack Hussein Obama can no longer be trusted to reverse his country’s “imperialist legacy.” “Let’s not kid ourselves: the Obama illusion has finished, and the shameless interventionism of the American administration shows that,” wrote Chavez in a New Year’s message that quoted Karl Marx and was carried by the state media. “Obama failed to curb imperialist policies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and tolerates the coup leader in Honduras,” he complained, alluding to his puppet Manuel Zelaya, holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa since September.

Lamenting the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Summit, Venezuela’s red tyrant continued: “Those leaving us on the verge of an unimaginable ‘ecocide,’ those who caused climate change, should be forced to accept their responsibilities.” Referring to the 2010 National Assembly vote, which political analysts expect the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela to win, albeit it with a reduced majority, Chavez admitted: “The elections are crucial to the continuation and deepening socialism of the Bolivarian Revolution.”

Chavez’s dismissal of and disdain for the Obama Administration could be a signal that Latin America’s Red Axis, with quiet backing from the Soviet strategists, is ready to move against anti-communist hold-out Colombia.

>USSR2 File: Chairman Zyuganov criticizes Putin, praises Medvedev’s economic modernization, urges president to implement Communist Party program

>– Putin Downplays Stalin’s Crimes in Strongest-Ever Public Endorsement of Predecessor, Yabloko Leader Scoffs at Medvedev’s Pretended Criticism of Genocidal Soviet Dictator

When the need to deceive Russia’s citizen-slaves or confuse Western analysts arises, the Moscow Leninists either praise one another or pretend to detest one another. For example, former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev has often praised Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy of standing up against NATO but denounced Putin’s parliamentary support group, United Russia, for failing to represent “the people.” For his part, Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), consistently lambastes the “party of power,” while holding congenial meetings with “ex”-communist Putin several times yearly.

The disingenuous behavior of Russia’s Red Team was once again demonstrated earlier this month when Zyuganov praised President Dmitry Medvedev’s “Go Russia!” economic modernization program, which closely mirrors in name and content the CPRF’s “Go Russia, Toward Socialism!” program. “President Medvedev speaks about modernization, while Prime Minister Putin endorses conservatism,” Zyuganov was quoted by the independent, Finnish-owned Moscow Times as saying. “The program of innovations offered by the president in the state-of-the-nation address has not been supported by the United Russia party and government,” he continued. The CPRF advocates abolishing the country’s 13 percent flat income tax, boosting state support for agriculture, nationalizing raw material industries, and granting tax holidays to medium-sized businesses.

“President Medvedev said state corporations work ineffectively, but the prime minister provides cover for this ineffectiveness,” Zyuganov complained. He then urged the State Council, a policymaking group chaired by Medvedev and representing federal government officials, regional governors, and lawmakers, to review the Communist Party’s program at its next session in January 2010.

While Zyuganov has become increasingly critical of Putin during the global economic crisis, he has moderated his tone toward Medvedev. “I am not saying the Communists will make Medvedev their leader, but they will take each other’s interests into account in the next State Duma elections,” opined Alexei Mukhin, an analyst with the Center for Political Information. Mukhin pointed out: “The Communist Party is the only major political group left for Medvedev because the others are controlled by Putin and his retinue.” On December 9 Zyuganov denied that Sergei Mironov, speaker of the Federation Council, the Russian parliament’s upper house, once again proposed a merger between the CPRF and Mironov’s socialist Just Russia party, which is also represented in the State Duma.

Russia’s Red Team, however, does not hesitate to close ranks around the Soviet communists’ sacred cow: former dictator Joseph Stalin. On December 21 CPRF Vice Chairman Ivan Melnikov posted the following plea for tolerance toward the genocidal legacy of “Uncle Joe” on the party website: “We would very much like for any discussion of the mistakes of the Stalin epoch to be silenced today, so that people could reflect on Stalin’s personality as a creator, a thinker and a patriot.” Comrade Ivan’s blithe comments about Stalin should cause any true Russian democrat to cringe, especially in view of the fact that Melnikov teaches at Moscow State University and heads up the State Duma’s education committee. The latter, in case you didn’t catch on, means an open communist (surprise, surprise) controls Russia’s education system.

Meanwhile, hundreds of communists laid flowers at Stalin’s grave in Moscow’s Red Square as 3,000 people attended an evening concert in his honor. Chairman Zyuganov is pictured above on this occasion. In his home town of Gori, in the not-so-former Soviet republic of Georgia, a few hundred admirers including his grandson marched to a towering statue of the dictator in the main square. NPR chronicles Stalin’s atrocious career:

Stalin—born as Josef Dzhugashvili on Dec. 21, 1879—was among the leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution, and maneuvered to discredit his rivals and consolidate control of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union after the 1924 death of its first leader, Vladimir Lenin. Stalin ruled with an iron fist until his own death in 1953, having unleashed brutal purges which killed millions of people. Millions more died in a famine triggered by his brutal collectivization of agriculture and confiscation of grain to fund the frenetic industrialization drive.

His legacy of repression and persecution, however, only became fully known in Russia after the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, lifted the taboo against criticizing Stalin as part of the 1980s perestroika campaign of political and economic reforms that precipitated the Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse.

On the 130th anniversary of his birth, Soviet communists could not contain their worshipful praise of Stalin. Yevgeny Teterev, a member of the CPRF Komsomol, also lay flowers at Stalin’s grave and gushed: “In Stalin’s name, our grandfathers and grandmothers went into battle, they died with his name on their lips. They built our country’s industry, so for them Stalin means a lot. What does he mean for me? First of all he is a great personality of global dimensions.” According to a survey released on December 18 by state-run polling agency VTsIOM, most Russians—54 percent—have a high opinion of Stalin’s leadership qualities, while only 23 percent rate his personal character traits as “below average.” The young Yevgeny would no doubt fall into the 54 percent polled by VTsIOM.

As president of the Russian Federation (2000-2008), Putin made many efforts to incrementally rehabilitate Stalin’s image, praising his drive to industrialize the Soviet Union and his victory over the Nazis. “In my view, you cannot make one gross assessment,” Putin cautioned during his annual live radio and TV call-in show on December 3. He added: “Any historical events need to be analyzed in their entirety.” No so coincidentally, Putin’s paternal grandfather, Spiridon Ivanovich (1879–1965), was employed at Vladimir Lenin’s dacha at Gorki as a cook. After Lenin’s death in 1924, Spiridon continued to work for Lenin’s widow. Putin’s grandfather would later cook for Joseph Stalin when the Soviet leader visited one of his dachas in the Moscow region.

Soviet Komsomol graduate Medvedev has taken a “more critical” stand against Stalinism. “It is impossible to imagine the scale of the terror inflicted on the people of our country,” Medvedev admitted in his video blog on October 30, the day commemorating the victims of Stalinist repression. The Russian president continued: “I am convinced that no national development, no success, no ambitions can be achieved at the price of human suffering and death.”

The leader of the opposition Yabloko party, Sergei Mitrokhin, was not impressed by Medvedev’s pretended sympathy for Stalin’s myriad victims. “This statement had appeal on the day of remembrance, but he has never followed with any actions or a united program of de-Stalinization in the government,” observed Mitrokhin.

Meanwhile, Russian voters have ratified their approval of Stalin worship by signaling their support for Stalin’s high priest, Putin himself, as front runner in the March 2012 presidential election. According to a poll by the Yury Levada Analytical Center, 27 percent of respondents would vote for the former president if an election took place immediately. In the same poll, Medvedev garnered 18 per cent, while Zyuganov, Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) leader and political nutjob Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and Kemerovo governor Aman Tuleyev trailed in the single digits. The current constitution forbids a person from serving as president for three consecutive terms, so both Putin and Medvedev are eligible to run in 2012.

If Zyuganov decides that it’s safe for open communists like himself to re-enter the Kremlin without alarming 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW and 10 Downing Street, then a (bloody) coup will probably be necessary to purge the counter-revolutionaries in United Russia. However, as long as Putin or Medvedev advance the Soviet strategic deception for communism’s global domination, they will remain Russia’s titular rulers.

>Africa File: 2009 sees flurry of visits to Cuba by African communists as Cold War-era allies reaffirm ties; SACP organizes continental leftist network

> All communists to the front to build a Communist Africa! Forward to Communism!
– African Left Network Forum, founding congress, Johannesburg, August 2008

– Cuban, Angolan, and South African Generals Hold Council in Luanda; Anti-Communist Hold-Out State Botswana Rebroadcasts VOA Programs, Angers Zimbabwe

– Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda to Federate as One State by 2013, Common Market Kicks Off Next Year

– New African Leftist Network Takes Aim at US Military’s Africa Command as Evidence of “US Imperialism”

Pictured above: Cuba’s communist dictator Raul Castro welcomes Tanzania’s communist dictator Jakaya Kikwete to Havana on December 1, 2009.

The African section of the Communist Bloc is alive and well, 18 years after the bogus collapse of Soviet communism. This year a parade of African communist leaders arrived in Havana to reaffirm Cold War-era linkages established during numerous Soviet-sponsored “wars of national liberation,” and to establish new ones with Communist Cuba. In 2009 the “Dark Continent” is in reality the “Dark Red Continent.”

In the waning days of the Franco regime, Spain made a secret arrangement to hand over its Western Sahara colony to Morocco and Mauritania. However, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro (Polisario Front) had other ideas and, instead, proclaimed the independence of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). After forcing Mauritania to renounce its claim to the southern third of Western Sahara in 1979, the Polisario Front has since battled the Moroccan army in an effort to claim the entire region for the unrecognized SADR. Although the Polisario Front supposedly renounced Marxism after the Cold War, the guerrilla army’s involvement in the new African Left Network Forum, discussed below, proves otherwise.

Algeria’s long-ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) government, which has never enjoyed peaceful relations with the Kingdom of Morocco, has openly supported the Polisario Front for decades. The FLN regime in Algiers shares kinship with the socialist dictatorships in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, all of which overthrew European-installed monarchies during the 1950s and 1960s.

In early July SADR “President” and Polisario Front General-Secretary Mohamed Abdelaziz flew to Havana where he met Cuban President Raul Castro to discuss bilateral and global issues. For his part, according to a Cuban government communiqué, “Abdelaziz reiterated that his people will always stand with Cuba in its just struggle against the [US] bloc and for the release of the Five Heroes [Cuban DGI agents convicted and imprisoned in the USA], as well as thanking [Cuba] for the ongoing solidarity of the island.” Castro responded by calling the Western Saharans a “heroic people who are fighting in very difficult conditions for their right to self-determination.” Afterwards the SADR “president” travelled to Vienna where he held peace negotiations with the Moroccan government.

In September the Cuban dictatorship entertained Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika; Zambian President Rupiah Bwezani Banda, who is an “ex”-cadre of the formerly ruling United National Independence Party, founded by socialist Kenneth Kaunda; and Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure, who is supported by the ruling Alliance for Democracy and Progress, which includes the communist-infiltrated Alliance for Democracy in Mali.

On October 12 Carlos Gomez, prime minister of Guinea-Bissau, arrived at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport, where he was welcomed by Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Marcos Rodriguez Costa. “I bring special greetings to our brother Commander Fidel Castro, to President Raul Castro and to the people of Cuba,” chimed the head of government of this former Portuguese colony. Gomez observed: “Cuba and Guinea Bissau fought together for the liberation of our nation.” He then thanked Cuba’s “traditional assistance” to his country in the fields of health and education. Currently, Cuban health personnel contribute to the health care of the people of Guinea-Bissau and teach in the country’s School of Medicine. Cuba and Guinea-Bissau, which has been ruled by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea since independence, established diplomatic relations on October 1, 1973. Gomez last visited Cuba in 2005.

Like Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia today, and like Cuba and Nicaragua during the 1980s, Guinea-Bissau has become a red narco-state, providing the Communist Bloc with a crucial transshipment hub for FARC cocaine en route to Europe.

In early October Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Julio Marques flew to Havana, where he met with Cuban counterpart in the framework of the 17th session of the Cuba-Mozambique Intergovernmental Joint Commission. “The support we have received has been invaluable,” gushed Mozambique’s foreign minister, who visited the Caribbean island at the invitation of his Cuban counterpart. Marques added: “Mozambique is growing, it is growing stronger thanks to its leaders and teams of professionals, a good part of which were formed thanks to Cuban cooperation. Our visit is an expression of friendship and acknowledgment, to underline that we are together.” Marques also lauded Cuba for its role in the reactivation of the communist-dominated Non-Aligned Movement. Currently, there are 216 Cuban professionals working in Mozambique, while the 61 young Mozambicans studying in Cuba will soon join the 3,790 that have already graduated from Cuban schools.

Like Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique was a former Portuguese colony that achieved independence in 1975 through the guerrilla warfare waged by the Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO).

The first week of December witnessed another flurry of Afro-communist activity in Cuba. Among other visitors, Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni completed a four-day official visit to Cuba, where he met counterpart Raul Castro. Tullow Oil Plc and Heritage Oil Plc have discovered an estimated 700 million commercially viable barrels of crude oil in Uganda’s Lake Albert Rift Basin. Uganda’s National Resistance Movement government plans to send oil workers to Cuba for training.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who represents the long-ruling Revolutionary State Party, also completed a three-day official visit to Cuba in early December. After meeting Cuban counterpart Castro, Kikwete described Tanzanian-Cuban relations as “excellent” and explained that the two countries will “reinforce” existing linkages. He also praised Havana and Dar es Saalem’s cooperation in education, health, and sports. Kikwete is a key player in the formation of the East African Federation, which will unite Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, and Rwanda into one state by 2013. The East African Community’s common market will be inaugurated next year.

South Africa, which fell to communism six years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, also reaffirmed its ideological solidarity with Cuba by strengthening existing relations and further expanding cooperation between the two countries. On December 2 South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane concluded her official visit to Havana. There she co-chaired the sixth session of the South Africa-Cuba Joint Bilateral Commission with counterpart Marcelino Medina Gonzalez. “Minister Nkoana Mashabane further called for the need to elevate the relations to a higher level through providing more life and impetus to the South Africa-Cuba Relations,” a joint statement declared. The meeting reviewed progress in trade and investment, mining, communications, health, environment, arts and culture, and transportation.

Nkoana Mashabane also visited the Jose Marti Memorial for a wreath-laying ceremony in memory of the fallen “gallant heroes and heroines” of the Cuban Revolution and “other internationalists who died in pursuit of freedom.” SA President Jacob Zuma, reports AllAfrica.com above, is expected to visit Cuba in early 2010 following an invitation from President Castro.

Finally, a delegate from the Communist Party of Cuba’s Politburo attended the sixth congress of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which waged a 27-year war against anti-communist rebels that ended in 2002. The Cuban delegation met long-ruling Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba Army Corp General Cintra Frias conveyed to Dos Santos messages from retired Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and his younger brother and current president Raul. The delegation from Havana also honored Brigadier General Raul Diaz Argüelles, who died in combat on December 11, 1975, in Quibala, in the Angolan province of Kuanza Sur.

Angola is yet another former Portuguese African colony that first surrendered to communism in 1975. Following independence this country witnessed major military battles between, in the one camp, Angola’s Marxist government, with on-the-ground support from Soviet and Cuban troops, as well as the guerrilla fighters of the South-West African People’s Organization, and, in the other camp, UNITA, with battlefield support from the apartheid-era South African Defense Forces.

Significantly, on this occasion three high-ranking military officers from Cuba, Angola, and South Africa met in Luanda to discuss military coordination. The Cuban party was represented by General Cintra Fria, the Angolan party by General Francisco Furtado, and the South African party by Godfrey Ngwenya. General Fria also attended the MPLA congress. What was on the generals’ agenda? We can only speculate at this time. However, we could postulate that the demise of anti-communist hold-out state Botswana, which recently angered Zimbabwe’s Marxist regime for rebroadcasting Voice of America programs, was under consideration.

Several organizations uniting Africa’s ruling and non-ruling socialist parties, such as the African Socialist International, have existed for some time. In August 2008 Africa’s leftists, with support from revolutionary comrades from other continents, met in Johannesburg, where they organized a new entity called the African Left Network Forum (ALNEF). The following parties sent delegates: Botswana National Front (Botswana has never had a socialist government), Communist Part of Egypt (elements of which were absorbed into the ruling National Democratic Party’s predecessor), Social Democratic Party (Kenya), Democratic Progressive Party (Malawi has never had a socialist government), United Democratic Forces-Inkingi (Rwanda), Communist Party of Sudan (which briefly seized power in a 1971 coup), Communist Party of Lesotho, People’s United Democratic Movement (Swaziland), Kabale Socialist Club (Uganda), and Polisario Front (see above).

The co-ruling African National Congress and South African Communist Party hosted this commie bash. The non-ruling Left Party of Sweden, the non-ruling Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which has waged a low-level insurgency via probable fronts like Revolutionary Struggle since the Second World War, and the co-ruling Communist Party of Brazil also sent delegates.

During the first ALNEF congress, delegates reaffirmed “the need for unity of the left and progressive forces to work together, share experiences, provide progressive solidarity with one another and with each other to combat the capitalist system.” The communist congress noted that “The USA imperialism is gaining ground on the continent with the establishment of the [US Armed Forces’] Africa Command to continue its imperial vagaries of plundering African resources in particular the oil and other mineral resources.” ALNEF then issued the following resolutions:

a) The immediate development of an African Left Network Information Centre through a debating forum and an Internet site to be hosted by the South African Communist Party. The SACP is further encouraged to establish this centre at its immediate convenience to harness the work of the left movement on the African continent.

b) To develop a database of all progressive and left organisations, workers movement and trade unions, political parties with contacts details and country specific.

c) Importance of the initiations of a left network involving all left and the progressive forces whose main objective is to establish a viable communist presence, organisation and leadership across the African continent and consolidate the vanguard left movement.

d) Conference called for a periodic annual conference of the left network to share ideas and increase the working class ideology of Marxism–Leninism.

e) Create a forum to facilitate the possibility to take joint positions on the main problems affecting the continent.

f) Agreed to establish a secretariat to coordinate the work of the Africa Left Network Forum to ably facilitate and organise the annual meetings. These meetings can rotate across the length and breadth of the African continent to countries that can be able to host such a conference as well as to coordinate the general work of the network.

g) Conference agreed that the South African Communist Party be duly mandated to coordinate the work of the Africa Left Network Forum (ALNEF)

h) Anchor the left network forum within the mass popular struggles of the people and people to people relations and solidarity.

Around the world communists are jittery about US military might. ALNEF’s opposition to the US Armed Forces’ Africa Command resembles Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s jitters about the US Navy’s revitalized Fourth Fleet, which once again patrols the Caribbean Sea.

ALNEF closed its meeting with this ominous warning to the “African bourgeoisie”: “Like our communist predecessors said in the Communist Manifesto ‘A specter is haunting Europe, the specter of communism.’ Indeed, the African bourgeoisie is warned the specter of communism is haunting Africa and all communist are called to the frontline to sharpen class contradiction and advance the continent to communism. Africa is ready for such a momentous struggle which requires decisive and radical left political leadership and organisation.” After the ALNEF communists expressed their support for the “revolutionary tide in Latin America” (Hugo Chavez and his red buddies) and the “social revolutionary success” in Cuba, the delegates declared: “All communists to the front to build a Communist Africa! Forward to Communism!”

I’m so glad communism’s “dead.” Aren’t you?

>Communist Bloc Military Exercises: Archives October 1962-December 2010

>


2010

European Union to Partly Fund International Highway from Lithuania to Bulgaria, Project Completion in 2020 (10-22-10)

NATO Fighter Jets Intercept Russian Tactical Bombers in Midst of Alliance’s Sabre Strike 2010 Drill in Latvia (10-18-10)

Russian Railways to Extend Broad-Gauge Tracks to Vienna, Austria via Kosice, Slovakia by 2013-2015 (9-30-10)

Russia to Increase Defense Spending 60% by 2013, Top Priority Given to Submarines, Ballistic Missiles, Helicopter Assault Ships, Fighter Jets (7-30-10)

Russia, China, Shanghai Cooperation Organization to Hold Peace Mission 2010 Drill in Kazakhstan in September (7-21-10)

Kremlin Prepares for Nuclear Attack, Builds 5,000 Bomb Shelters in Moscow by 2012 (7-12-10)

Russian Navy Deploys Two Cruisers to Indian Ocean, Repels Simulated Enemy Airstrike (5-7-10)

Russia-Dominated CSTO Deploys 1,000 Troops in Tajikistan, Holds Rapid Reaction Exercise (4-26-10)

Chavez Admits Cubans Training Venezuelan Army, but Dismisses “Cubanization” Charge (4-25-10)

Romanian Global News: Russian Military Used “Electromagnetic Weapon” to Down Polish President’s Plane (4-10-10)

Canadian Foreign Minister Dismisses Russia’s Planned Paratrooper Drop in Arctic as “Propaganda Stunt” (4-6-10)

Kremlin Angered by NATO Air Force Drill over Baltic Republics, Lithuanian DM Dismisses Criticism (3-17-10)

Russian Navy to Unveil New Graney-Class Ballistic Submarine Severodvinsk on May 7, Deploy by Year’s End (3-16-10)

Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces Hold “Large-Scale” Command-and-Staff Drill, 11 Such Exercises Held in 2009 (3-10-10)

Former Soviet Cosmonaut, Communist Duma Deputy Urges Kremlin to Steal Western Military Secrets (3-10-10)

Russian Submarine in Barents Sea Successfully Launches New Sineva SLBM (3-4-10)

Russia to Help Cold War Ally Angola with Defense, Border Control; FSB/KGB General Attends Signing Ceremony in Luanda (3-1-10)

Russian Foreign Minister Visits Managua, Announces Joint Military Drills with Nicaragua (2-15-10)

Communist Troops from Russia, Belarus, Red China, Vietnam to Join Venezuelan Independence Day March-Past (2-12-10)

Russia Lauds Yanukovich Election Victory, Promptly Announces Joint Air Force Exercise with Ukraine for Autumn 2010 (2-10-10)

Russia’s 5th-Generation Stealth Fighter Takes to the Skies in Successful Maiden Flight (1-29-10)

Russia Intimidates Baltic, Black Sea Neighbors with Potential Acquisition of French-Built Amphibious Attack Ships (1-10-10)

Poland Arrests GRU Agent in 2009, First Such Case since 1989, Russian Embassy in Warsaw Feigns Ignorance (1-6-10)

2009

Senior Military Officers from Cuba, Angola, and South Africa Meet in Luanda, Discuss Cooperation between Communist Allies (12-11-09)

Nicaraguan, Venezuelan Militaries to Hold Joint Drill in Central America in May-June 2010 (12-03-09)

Russian Paratroopers and Pacific Fleet to Join Vostok 2010 Exercise in Siberia, Far East (12-01-09)

Cuba to Carry Out Bastion 2009 Military Drills between November 26 and 28, Exercise Postponed after 2008 Hurricanes (11-17-09)

Russia’s Civil Defense Czar Flies to Venezuela, Meets Chavez, Promises to Set Up Emergency Situations Center (11-14-09)

Russia’s Emergency Situations Minister Visits Cuba, Meets Castro, Promises to Set Up Training Center (11-13-09)

Russia’s Civil Defense Czar Arrives in Managua, Meets Country’s Top General, Signs Memorandum of Cooperation (11-11-09)

Polish Media: Russian-Belarusian War Game Simulated Nuclear Attack, Amphibious Landings against Poland (11-01-09)

Serbia to Greatly Expand Cepotina Military Base near Kosovo by End of 2009 (10-28-09)

Russia’s Emergency Situations Minister Meets Serbia’s Communist Police Chief, Pledges to Set Up Training Center in Nis (10-21-09)

Ortega Issues “Urgent Request” for National Assembly to Approve Deployment of Venezuelan Troops, Warships, and Warplanes in Nicaragua (09-23-09)

Russian Fighter-Bombers, Ground-Attack Aircraft Arrive at Belarusian Airbase for Zapad 2009 Maneuver (09-16-09)

Moscow, Minsk Deploy 12,500 Troops for Zapad 2009 Drill in Belarus and Kaliningrad (9-08-09)

Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces Hold Nuclear War Game, Exercise Involves 150 Command and Control Centers (9-07-09)

Leningrad Military District, Northern and Baltic Fleets Start Ladoga 2009 Drill, Simulate “High Alert” in Northwest Russia (8-19-09)

Russia’s Siberian Military District, Mongolia Hold Joint War Game Darkhan-2 in Latter Country (8-18-09)

Canadian Prime Minister to Attend Baffin Island Military Exercise as Ottawa Counters Moscow’s Moves in Arctic (8-17-09)

Canada Dispatches Surveillance Aircraft to Track Russian Subs off Atlantic Coast (8-11-09)

Russian Attack Submarines Spotted off US East Coast in Early August; Pentagon: Patrols “Unusual” but “Not Provocative” (8-05-09)

Moscow Signs Deal to Open 2nd Military Base in Kyrgyzstan, Russian Battalion to Protect “Kyrgyz Sovereignty” (8-01-09)

Castro Announces Bastion 2009 Military Drill to Occur at Year’s End, Indefinite Postponement of Communist Party Congress (7-31-09)

Russian Paratroopers to Hold North Pole Exercise in April 2010; Airborne Forces Commander Denies Saber Rattling (7-29-09)

Russian Paratroopers to Receive New Weapons, Equipment in 2009, Fully Professional Force by 2011 (7-29-09)

Russia, Iran Hold First-Ever Joint Military Exercise, Two-Day Caspian Sea Drill Based on 1921 Friendship Agreement (7-29-09)

Sino-Soviet “Anti-Terrorist” Exercise Follows Recent Muslim Riots in Xinjiang; Moscow, Beijing Plan 25 Joint Drills for 2009 (7-15-09)

Russian Troops Prepare for Peace Mission 2009, Fourth “Anti-Terror” Drill with People’s Liberation Army (6-30-09)

Russian Military Ramps Up for Provocative Maneuvers Zapad 2009, Ladoga 2009, Kavkaz 2009 (Spanish; 05-19-09)

Is the Kremlin Preparing for Preemptive Strike against West under Cover of Russian Survivalist Story? (05-11-09)

State Duma Deputy Proposes Joint Russian-Cuban-Venezuelan Military Exercise in Caribbean (05-06-09)

Kazakhstan to Host SCO’s “Peace Mission 2010” War Game, “Peace Mission 2009” Slated for Northeast China (04-29-09)

Russia, China Lead Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s “Norak Antiterror 2009” War Game in Tajikistan (04-20-09)

Third Sino-Soviet “Peace Mission” War Game to Take Place in Northeast China this Summer (03-18-09)

Russia, Belarus to Stage Large-Scale “Zapad 2009” War Game in Latter Country this Fall (03-10-09)

Residents of Northwestern Russian City Awakened by “False” Air Raid Alarm, Emergency Announcements (02-13-09)

Missile Cruiser Moskva, Flagship of Black Sea Fleet, Simulates Attack Drills in Mediterranean (01-26-09)

Admiral Kuznetsov Aircraft Carrier Leads Task Force to Russian Naval Base in Tartus, Syria; Potential Home for Black Sea Fleet after 2017 (01-12-09)

Russian Northern Fleet Completes Maneuver with NATO Member Turkey in Mediterranean Sea (Presumably under Partnership for Peace Program) (01-12-09)

Russia’s Peter the Great Missile Cruiser Makes Historic Port of Call at Cape Town en Route from Caribbean Sea to Indian Ocean (01-12-09)

Russian Nuclear-Powered Missile Cruiser to Lead Six Warships into Joint Exercise with Indian Navy (01-11-09)

Russian Carrier-Based Warplanes to Utilize Greek Airspace, Athens Flight Information Region to Carry out Exercise (01-02-09)

2008

Military Hotline Links Strategic Partners Russia and China for First Time (12-29-08)

Russian Pacific Fleet nears Indian Ocean for Drills with Strategic Partner India in January (12-23-08)

Russian Warship Leaves Havana after Historic Visit, Ports of Call in Venezuela, Panama and Nicaragua; Castro Confers with Northern Fleet’s Deputy Commander (12-23-08)

Russian Destroyer Arrives at Bluefields, Offloads Generators and Computers for Nicaraguan Army and Police (12-12-08)

Russia and China to Hold Third “Peace Mission” War Game in 2009 (12-10-08)

China and India Hold Second Joint War Game “Hand-in-Hand 2008” in Southern Indian Town of Belgaum (12-06-08)

Russia’s Sole Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov Leads Task Force on Atlantic, Mediterranean Tour of Duty (12-05-08)

Russia, Venezuela Conclude First-Ever Joint Naval Exercise; Kremlin Invites Venezuelan Navy to Visit Russia, Join Second Drill in North Sea (12-04-08)

Russia, Venezuela to Hold Joint Air Force Drill in 2009 (10-31-08)

Russia, Belarus Carry Out Massive “Stability 2008” Drill between Sept. 22 and Oct. 21; Strategic Bombers Test Fire Cruise Missiles First Time since 1984 (10-06-08)

St. Petersburg Tests Air Raid Sirens under Simulated Military Attack, Russia’s First Full Civilian Drill since WW2 (09-29-08)

During 8th Trip to Russia, Chavez Observes Part of “Stability 2008,” Kremlin’s Largest War Game since Soviet Era (09-26-08)

Strategic Bombers Leave Venezuela, Return to Russia after Patrolling North Atlantic, Arctic Oceans (09-18-08)

Cuban President Castro, Citing Hurricane Damage, Postpones “Bastion 2008” Military Exercise until Next Year (09-14-08)

Chavez Observes Venezuelan Armed Forces Repelling Mock US Invasion (Three Days After Russian Bomber Arrival) (09-13-08)

Two Tu-160 Supersonic Bombers Arrive in Venezuela for Week-Long Exercise over Caribbean Sea, First Such Deployment since Cold War (09-10-08)

Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces Carry Out Drill in Island’s Eastern Region, “Moncada 2008” Prelude to Wider “Bastion 2008” Maneuvers (06-07-08)

2004-2007

Cuba Concludes Five-Day Military Exercise in Western and Central Regions, “Moncada 2007” Simulates US Invasion of Island (11-24-07)

Russia and Belarus Hold “Union Shield 2006,” War Game First-Ever Combined Defense of Union State (06-26-06)

100,000 Soldiers, 400,000 Reservists Participate in Cuba’s “Bastion 2004” Maneuver, Largest Civilian Mobilization since 1986 (12-13-04)

Historic Soviet Bloc Drills

Seven Million Cubans Take Part in “Bastion 1986” Drill, Prepare to Defend Island against Air Attack (12-09-86)

Soviet Armed Forces Carry Out “Zapad 81,” East Bloc’s Largest-Ever Exercise Includes Amphibious Landings in Poland (09-81)

Warsaw Pact’s Southern Army Group Headquarters Holds Staff Exercise, “Nukes” Vienna and Munich, Soviet Bloc Armor Thrusts into West Germany (06-65)

Warsaw Pact Forces Carry Out “Baltic Order” Exercise in Poland and East Germany, Additional Drill in Romania during Cuban Missile Crisis (10-62)

>Latin America File: Mexico, Cuba patch up relations; Havana, Caracas sign US$3 billion deal at bloc summit, ALBA already using new “virtual” currency

>– Honduras’ Lawful Government Shuns Havana Summit, Zelaya’s Foreign Minister Attends, Raul Castro Laments Zelaya’s Absence

– Ortega Minion in Havana: Nicaragua Has Entered the “Second Phase of the Sandinista Revolution”

– Chilean Voters Move Right in First Round of Presidential Election as Communist Party Boss, Two Comrades Grab Congress Seats, First Time since 1973 Coup

Pictured above: Sebastian Pinera, a conservative billionaire, led Chile’s presidential vote by a wide margin on Sunday, making him the favorite to win a run-off and oust the center-left bloc that has ruled for the two decades since the Pinochet dictatorship.

Last Friday, with the arrival of Mexico’s foreign minister Patricia Espinoza in Havana, Mexico and Cuba moved ahead in their attempt to improve relations that degenerated over international disputes about containing the H1N1 influenza. Espinoza met with her Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez, as well as Cuban President and veteran KGB asset Raul Castro. In April Cuba’s communist dictatorship suspended direct flights from Mexico, irritating President Felipe Calderón. Mexico is the only country in Latin America that restored diplomatic, political and economic ties with Cuba immediately after the 1959 revolution, prompting Espinoza to affirm, “We ought to make sure that our government relations correspond with that history.” Calderón’s predecessor, Vicente Fox, clashed openly with the elder Castro, criticizing his human rights record. “Another topic discussed,” Espinoza explained in a news conference, “was the migratory memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries in October 2008.”

Coincidentally, Mexico and Cuba patched up bilateral relations on the eve of the 8th Extraordinary Summit of the communist-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), a political-economic-cultural pact that includes Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. El Salvador’s new Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front government has expressed its intention of joining ALBA, even as Honduras’s conservative president-elect Porfirio Lobo must weigh the option of reversing deposed leader Manuel Zelaya’s decision to place Honduras within the orbit of the Havana-Caracas Axis.

It is also the stated intention of the communist governments in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia to transform ALBA into an “anti-imperialist” (anti-USA) military pact, which may be one reason that the first two countries are planning a joint military exercise in Central America in May and June of 2010. All of the ALBA states have been (Cuba, Nicaragua), are presently (Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador), or will be recipients again (Cuba, Nicaragua) of Russian armaments and other military equipment.

Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega also put in an appearance at the ALBA meet-and-greet. Among the “experts” fussing about the summit was Nelson Artola, president of Nicaragua’s new Social Emergency Fund. Last Friday Artola described ALBA as “the alternative to the hell of wild capitalism and neoliberalism.” He also referred to the Councils of Citizens’ Power, over which Ortega’s wife Rosario Murillo presides, as “the expression of organized population in our full democracy on this second phase of the Sandinista Revolution.” If we understand Ortega’s minion correctly, the 16-year gap between the first and second Sandinista regimes was a mere hiccough in the communist takeover of Nicaragua.

This past Saturday, the Castro Bros.’ primary South American protégé, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, showed up in Havana to sign cooperation protocols worth US$3 billion. This is Comrade Hugo’s second visit to Cuba in as many weeks. In recent years Venezuela has annually exported 98,000 barrels of crude oil per day to Cuba with favorable terms of financing. Venezuela’s energy minister and communist boss of the state-owned oil company, Rafael Ramirez, explained that Chavez would actually sign 285 accords for US$3.19 billion related to education, sport, fishing, energy, and technology. Trade between Cuba and Venezuela amounted to US$5.28 billion in 2008, compared with US$945 million in 2003.

Cuba, which depends heavily on imports of fuel and food, pays part of its Venezuelan oil bill with the services of 40,000 doctors and other professionals. Cuban professionals are well instructed in Marxism, a worldview that they eagerly share as they ply their trades in Venezuela. “The integration and unity among all ALBA member countries is an important step prior to the full liberation of our peoples,” trumpeted Chavez, linking regional integration with the successful exporting of his Soviet/Cuban-backed Bolivarian Revolution throughout Latin America.

Summit host Raul Castro saluted Bolivia’s self-avowed Marxist-Leninist president Evo Morales, in attendance at the Havana conclave, for winning another term; extended regrets at the absence of ALBA’s former puppet in Honduras, Zelaya, who is still holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa until his safe exile is negotiated; and blasted the new US-Colombian pact that will permit the deployment of 800 US counter-narcotics troops in the South American country as an “act of aggression.” “The deployment of [US] military bases in the region is… an act of aggression against Latin America and the Caribbean,” President Castro ranted, adding: “The U.S. was seeking to suppress by all means the territory that they always considered their backyard.”

Like his commie chums Chavez and Ortega, Castro fears that Washington is conspiring to overthrow his red regime. In his opening address at the ALBA summit, Castro rumbled: “The reactivation of the [US Navy’s] 4th Fleet, with announced operative-strategic maneuver capacities even within the interior waters of the countries of the region, demonstrates that there will be no limits in order to achieve its plans, apart from the imposition of the resistance that we are capable of offering.” Last month the Communist Party of Cuba’s paranoia prompted the execution of the Bastion 2009 military exercise, which simulated a mock US invasion.

Finally, the ALBA leaders announced that the bloc of socialist states will kick off their new virtual currency in January. No “sucres” will be printed or coined, but the electronic denomination will be used to manage debts between governments while reducing reliance on the US dollar and on the USA in general. Cuba has already signed an agreement to pay for a shipment of Venezuelan rice in sucres, according to Cuba’s deputy foreign minister Rogelio Sierra.

Incidentally, Patricia Rodas, Zelaya’s deposed foreign minister, attended the ALBA summit, but the government of acting Honduran president Roberto Micheletti will probably not adhere to any agreements made. “We send our warmest greeting to the Honduran people via Patricia Rodas, their legitimate representative as secretary of state, and present here,” Castro said pointedly in his opening address.

Although Zelaya was a no-show in Havana, according to Xinhua, he plans to meet his democratically elected successor Lobo in the Dominican Republic sometime this week. Regional peacemaker Leonel Fernandez, the Dominican president, is offering to mediate talks between Zelaya and Lobo, a cattle rancher who, oddly, attended Moscow’s terrorist-indoctrination center, Patrice Lumumba University, during the Cold War. Fernandez has also offered to mediate the dispute between Venezuela and Colombia over the US bases deal.

The Honduran Congress blocked Zelaya’s demand that he serve out the balance of his term, which expires on January 27, 2010. Although Mexico has negotiated his departure from Honduras, Zelaya denies that he intends to seek permanent asylum there.

While the Red Axis conspires in Havana, Chilean voters are moving right in the wake of Sunday’s general election, which saw airline owner Sebastian Pinera obtain 44 percent of the vote in the presidential poll, while the center-left Concertacion candidate Eduardo Frei, President Michelle Bachelet’s anointed successor, acquire only 23 percent. “Pinera made people think he can more effectively deal with the problems of the future,” reflected Harald Beyer, an economist with the Center for Public Studies in Chile’s capital Santiago. Beyer added: “He also made people wonder whether Chile can afford a welfare state when it isn’t rich.”

The Concertacion has ruled Chile since General Augusto Pinocet’s ouster in 1990 and presided over the country’s “turbocharged” economy during the last decade. However, the global crisis has knocked down Chile’s economy a peg or two, exposing the country’s “inadequacies in innovation, education, industrial diversification, and productivity.” Pinera, who made Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people, promised voters that he would rectify these problems. Chilean voters appear to be following a “reversal trend” in Latin America that entails a rejection of the leftist politics that revived in earnest 10 years ago with the election of Chavez in Venezuela. Earlier in 2009 this new trend saw a rightward shift in the electorate of Panama and Honduras.

In spite of the poor showing of the Chilean center-left’s presidential candidate, Victor Figueroa-Clark writes that the “real news” of this election is that for the first time since the anti-communist coup in 1973, the Communist Party of Chile (PCC) has achieved parliamentary representation. The communists managed to “parachute” three deputies into the lower house of the Chilean Congress, including PCC boss Guillermo Tellier. Another new communist deputy is Jorge Arrate, the PCC’s presidential candidate, former Socialist Party of Chile cadre, and government minister during the 1990s. Like red presidents Chavez, Ortega, Correa, and Morales, Chile’s communists advocate constitutional reform to entrench their planned proletarian revolution, one preferably decided by the calling of a constituent assembly.

>End Times File: Iranian-Syrian defense pact sets stage for Bible prophecy, including destruction of Damascus, Russian-Iranian-Arab invasion of Israel

>– Pan-Arab Daily: Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Huthi Militias and Hezbollah Secretly Meet in Yemen to “Escalate Military Situation” along Saudi-Yemeni Border

Many months have passed since we posted in our End Times File category. However, a prophetically significant development took place in the Middle East this past Friday: the Islamo-Nazi regime in Tehran and the fascist-communist regime in Damascus signed a military defense agreement that requires the two states to “react together against regional threats from the Zionist regime [Israel]”. “It is only natural for Syria, which faces the inhumane carnivorous Israel to remain prepared for any eventuality” rumbled Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi during the signing ceremony in the Syrian capital. Vahidi’s visit to Syria follows by one week a visit from his colleague Saeed Jalili, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

The Syrian-Iranian pact calls for joint military exercises to improve interoperability between the two armed forces. Of course the only way Syria and Iran can physically combine their armies is to circumvent US-occupied Iraq via NATO member Turkey which, in another Biblically prophetic development, has since the Cold War allied itself with Russia and Iran. Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to defy the United Nations’ demand that his government halt its Russian-backed nuclear enrichment program. “Earlier this week,” reports the Jerusalem Post, “US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton questioned whether Iran had indeed any intention of coming clean on its nuclear program.”

According to the end-times scenario introduced in the Old Testament and fleshed out in the New Testament, the rapture of the church is imminent in view of Israel’s restoration to its homeland according to the exact date prophesied in Holy Scripture–May 15, 1948. Following the instantaneous physical resurrection of millions of deceased Christians, the transformation of living Christians, and the translation of both groups to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4;13-18), the Antichrist (1 John 2:18) will broker then break a brief peace covenant (Daniel 9:27, Isaiah 28:18, Psalm 55:20) between Israel and its neighbors, inaugurating the tribulation period, the last seven years of history prior to Jesus Christ’s millennial kingdom. When the world awakens to a false peace in the Middle East, two more significant events will occur.

First, according to Isaiah 17:1-3, Damascus, the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city will be destroyed, presumably by an Israeli nuclear warhead. Some Bible prophecy enthusiasts have asserted that the destruction of Damascus might occur before the rapture, offering Christians an excellent tool for evangelism. However, Ezekiel 38:8 suggests that the Antichrist’s covenant will be in place before the destruction of Damascus and, hence, after the rapture: “After many days thou shalt be visited; in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.”

Second, presumably in retaliation, Russia (Magog), which has revitalized its Soviet-era naval bases in Syria, will lead a coalition of nations in attacking Israel, which armed the former Soviet republic of Georgia prior to Russia’s August 2008 invasion. Although there is some disagreement over the modern equivalents of the nations listed in Ezekiel 38, we believe this military alliance will also include Turkey (Togarmah), Iran (Persia), Libya (by name), Ethiopia (Sudan), and others. Interestingly, Turkey, although a NATO member, has since the Islamist government in Ankara came to power in 2003, allied itself with former Cold War enemy Russia and Israel’s main enemies, Syria and Iran, both long-time Soviet client states. God will supernaturally destroy the invading armies on the “mountains of Israel” (39:1-7).

Meanwhile, this Saturday Ali Mohamed al-Anisi, chairman of Yemen’s national security agency and head of the presidential office, claims he has proof of Iran’s covert support for the Huthi rebellion in the northern part of his country. “There are indeed signs, proof of Iranian interference, but we say we can’t elaborate on what these indications and their details are to the media,” he insisted on the sidelines of a security conference in Bahrain. He continued: “The last boat, an Iranian boat, to arrive at the port of Medi, near Malahidh region, which is also close to Saada–there are signs it came from Eritrea.” Anisi added: “Al Qaeda have a link to the Houthis.” The day before, however, a US official stated that Washington has “no independent information” that Iran is supporting Yemen’s Shia rebels.

In another report, published by the Lebanese media and citing Asharq al-Awsat, “high-ranking officials from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were said to have secretly met with Huthi rebels and Hizbullah in Yemen to coordinate joint military operations against Saudi positions along the border.” It may be to this information that Yemen’s national security chief alludes in the previous paragraph. The pan-Arab daily continues:

Arab and Egyptian sources uncovered that a number of intelligence services in the region have learned of the three-way meeting which also aimed at developing a plan to escalate the military situation along the Saudi-Yemeni border. It said the high-level meeting which took place in November was the most prominent evidence of “direct Iranian involvement” in the support of Huthi rebels financially, militarily and logistically.

On Sunday Saudi troops, backed by tanks and helicopter gunships, launched an attack to retake a border village held by the Huthis. A Saudi military official explained that the operation targeted al-Jabiri some 600 miles southwest of Riyadh, near the Yemeni border. That day the Huthis alleged in a statement that Saudi aircraft bombed areas under rebel control inside Yemen, killing 70 people and injuring 100.

In addition to the Huthi rebellion, Yemen’s weak central government is also struggling to contain threats from Al Qaeda militants, pirates in the Gulf of Aden, and an increasingly powerful Marxist-inspired secessionist movement in the country’s southern region, formerly the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen.

>WW4 File: Venezuela acquires “1,000s” of Russian SRBMs to attack Colombia; Bogota’s top general denounces Chavez terror fest, ETA, Red Brigades attend

>– Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, New Red Brigades Send Reps to Chavez Terrorist Conclave, Bolivarian Continental Coordination/Movement

– Honduras’ Top Anti-Drug Cop Assassinated, Security Detail Absent; Second Retired Military Officer Gunned Down on Same Day

– Mexico Negotiates Zelaya’s Departure from Honduras, Deposed President Denies Statement from Chief of Staff that He Plans to Attend ALBA Summit in Havana

Pictured above: President Hugo Chavez drives Argentine counterpart Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (left) and her defense minister, Nilda Garre (back seat), in a military vehicle, as they visit a shipyard, in Buenos Aires, on December 9. Argentina’s Peronist president is a reliable center-left ally of Venezuela’s communist dictator. Chavez and Kirchner signed 14 cooperation accords during his visit to Argentina.

War is coming to South America and possibly Central America in the near future. For months we have assembled evidence that Latin America’s Red Axis is preparing for a military conflict with anti-communist hold-out Colombia and errant Red Axis member Honduras. The MSM now acknowledges that there is a potential for an armed clash between Venezuela and Colombia. What is not acknowledged is the possibility that the Red Axis is preparing to attack Honduras too.

This past Monday Chavez announced that his army is taking delivery of thousands of Russian-made missiles and rocket launchers, to be used against Colombian and US troops in the event of a hot war. “Thousands of missiles are arriving,” he boasted, adding: “They are preparing a war against us. Preparing is one of the best ways to neutralize it. Russian tanks, including T-72s, will be arriving to strengthen our armored divisions.”

The former paratrooper did not specify what type of missiles, but admitted Venezuela’s arsenal includes Russian-built Igla-1S surface-to-air missiles and rocket-propelled grenades. Since 2005 Venezuela has bought more than US$4 billion worth of Russian arms, including 24 Sukhoi fighter jets, more than 100 military helicopters, and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles. In September Moscow opened a US$2.2 billion line of credit for Venezuela to purchase even more weapons. In the central state of Aragua, as we reported some days ago, Russian engineers are presently overseeing the construction of plants that will manufacture still more Kalashnikovs and their cartridges.

Venezuela, like Cuba, has well and truly become a Soviet satellite in the Western Hemisphere. In 2007, during one of Chavez’s annual arms shopping sprees in Moscow, Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation, addressed the Venezuelan president as “comrade” and referred to him as a “reliable friend.” No kidding.

Both Bogota and Washington deny having any plans to attack Venezuela. This is probably true since US President Barack Hussein Obama’s socialist administration gives no evidence of viewing with alarm the publicly articulated geopolitical aspirations of the region’s Moscow-backed Red Axis. Chavez claims an agreement between the two capitals allowing the US military to deploy 800 troops across seven Colombian military bases poses a threat to his country. The Colombian government insists that the deal is intended only to suppress the narco-terrorist operations of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the smaller National Liberation Army. However, if Venezuela goes on the offensive, then the USA will be obligated to come to Colombia’s aid since the FARC is already carrying out joint operations with Venezuela’s military.

Meanwhile, even as he prepares to plunge South America into war, Chavez has been busy hosting several communist-terrorist conclaves in Caracas. Last month the International Encounter of Left Parties converged in the Western Hemisphere’s new “Red Mecca.” There Chavez and his revolutionary comrades from elsewhere in the region and also around the world, including El Salvador’s “ex”-guerrilla vice president Salvador Sanchez Ceren, called for the formation of a “Fifth International,” to be launched next year.

This Tuesday, with little international fanfare, Chavez once again embraced the world’s overtly terrorist organizations at the second summit of the highly subversive Bolivarian Continental Coordination (CCB), the primary founder of which was the FARC in 2004. In addition to representing his own United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Chavez rubbed elbows with guerrilla fighters from the FARC; Euskadi Ta Akatasuna (ETA), Spain’s Basque insurgent army; the New Red Brigades/Communist Combatant Party, Italy’s Marxist insurgent army; and other armed groups seeking violent revolution in Latin America and on other continents. Incidentally, your resident blogger’s master’s thesis, published in 1995, dealt with the subject of ETA terrorism and Basque nationalism.

Present, too, at the CCB shindig were representatives from the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), which holds seats in the country’s National Assembly and openly backs the ruling PSUV; and the Communist Party of El Salvador, which was one of the five groups that merged 30 years ago into the now-ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). Yul Jabour, a PCV cadre, declared: “Our movement agrees with the ideals of any insurgent movement.” Other delegates came from as far away as Turkey and Australia. During the meeting the 950 delegates from 26 countries elected to change the organization’s name to Bolivarian Continental Movement (CBM).

According to World Net Daily founder Joseph Farah, the FARC is the primary founder and funder of the CCB. In a July 7, 2005 email sent from slain FARC commander Raul Reyes to other insurgent leaders, Reyes complains that the guerrilla army was “not receiving enough credit for its leadership in the CCB, while recognizing that such participation could not be public.” The first CCB summit took place in late February 2008 in Quito, Ecuador. At the time CCB delegates made numerous visits to the FARC camp in Ecuador where Reyes was based. This collusion between Latin America’s intellectual left and the FARC provoked the Colombian government to bomb the camp, killing Reyes and others and leading to the week-long Andean Crisis.

Although the “vast majority of the armed left and right,” writes Farah, integrated into Latin America’s political systems after the Cold War, and although “the necessity of armed revolution has passed,” Chavez evidently desires to “re-start the bloodshed” as a “measure of his megalomania and authoritarianism.”

Alarmed by Chavez’s open consorting with Marxist terrorists, Colombian Armed Forces commander General Freddy Padilla demanded that international delegates at the CCB/CBM summit “not to act as accomplices of the FARC.” In an open letter, Padilla denounced the content of a communique sent to the summit by the FARC’s top commander “Alfonso Cano,” who stressed the “urgent duty to form an international network to resist the increase of U.S. influence in the region.”

In this communiqué Cano contends that the new US-Colombian pact “seeks to destabilize the processes of democratization and independence taking place in Latin America.” General Padilla responded by writing: “No civilized society in the world accepts the support or recognition of organizations that claim to be a spokesman for the needy while using violent and dehumanizing methods to try to achieve their goals. The articles of regulation of war must be respected so that the glory of Colombia is not defiled by blood.”

For its part, explains Colombia Reports, the CCB/CBM claims “Colombia is a paramilitary state” and vowed to “defend the Venezuelan revolution against imperialist threats.” On Wednesday Colombia’s Foreign Ministry requested the government of Venezuela to confirm or deny whether it “recognizes, approves or tolerates movements or parties that support terrorism and condone organized crime.”

According to Berta Joubert-Ceci, Chavez hosted the founding congress that gave birth to the CCB in November 2003, the first Bolivarian Congress of the Peoples, held, of course, in Caracas. The groups represented on the Congress’s Provisional Secretariat included Venezuela’s Bolivarian Circles, Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement, the Communist Party of Cuba (then and still ruling), Ecuador’s Indigenous Pachakutik Movement, Bolivia’s Movement toward Socialism (since ruling), Argentina’s Piquetero Movement, and El Salvador’s FMLN (since ruling). Joubert-Ceci relates the CCB’s unabashedly communist orientation:

The Continental Bolivarian Coordination is an attempt by the Latin American left to re-establish republics on the basis of true democracy and the sharing of wealth. This Coordinadora directly calls for rebellion against U.S. imperialism.

Venezuela and Cuba are key in providing venues and political space for many of these meetings. In fact, it is written in the new Venezuelan Bolivarian Constitution that “the Republic will promote and favor Latin American and Caribbean integration, to advance toward the creation of a Community of Nations, defending the economic, social, political and environmental interests of the region.”

In February 2008 the Peruvian government–which is pro-Washington and, like Colombia, a primary target for subversion by the Soviet/ Cuban/Venezuelan-backed “Bolivarian Revolution”–detained seven members of the Peru chapter of the CCB after they returned from the organization’s first summit in neighboring Ecuador. According to Peru’s attorney general, the CCB cadres planned to carry out terrorist operations against the Latin American-European Union and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summits, held in Lima in May and November of that year.

The Communist Bloc is pursuing a multi-pronged strategy in its quest to conquer the Western Hemisphere and destroy the USA, the main barrier to its unchallenged supremacy in the world. Among other objectives, the world communist movement is seeking to:

1) install Moscow-backed communist and leftist regimes throughout the region, especially in countries with pro-Washington governments, like Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, and Peru,

2) corrupt politicians and foment narco-communist insurgencies to destabilize and overthrow the “bourgeois” governments in these countries,

3) flood the USA with illegal recreational drugs to a) destroy the civilian population’s will to resist communism, let alone its ability to perceive the threat, b) divert the federal government’s security and intelligence apparatus, law enforcement and other resources away from countering domestic and foreign communist influences toward the “War on Drugs,” and c) fill the bank accounts of Latin America’s ruling and non-ruling communist parties to fund the exporting of communist revolution.

In its wake, the Soviet-sponsored drug trade is leaving a wake of death and destruction that only expands as it moves northward to the US-Mexican border. Occasional high-profile drug busts absolve the red regimes of any complicity in the drug trade. Most of South America’s cocaine originate in the FARC-controlled zones of Colombia, the Shining Path-controlled zones of Peru, and in communist-controlled Bolivia, while communist-controlled Ecuador has become an important transportation corridor. It would appear that Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and Bolivian President Evo Morales have purposely evicted US counter-narcotics forces from their countries to both protect the Red Axis’ multi-billion-dollar racket and facilitate the pre-revolutionary subversion of the USA.

The day-to-day role of Communist Cuba, Sandinista Nicaragua, and Manuel Noriega’s Panama in the transportation of Colombian cocaine into the USA was well documented by terrorism experts like Joseph Douglass in 1990’s still very relevant Red Cocaine. With the rise of Chavez to power in Venezuela nine years later the Castro Bros. and Ortega handed the baton to South America’s top commie thug.

Meanwhile, between 1993 and 1995 the Colombia National Police, with help from the US Army’s Delta Force, successfully wiped out the Medellin and Cali drug cartels, creating a power vacuum that the Mexican drug lords filled by the early 2000s with some assistance from “ex”-KGB agents. Incidentally, in early 2006 then Russian President Vladimir Putin reminded the world that: “There is no such thing as a former KGB man.”

The Mexican drug lords have also transformed Panama into a base of operations, while Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) controls the street-level drug distribution in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and the USA. Occasionally, drug operatives with a bit more ingenuity and daring will build makeshift submarines and transport their “stuff” north along Central America’s Caribbean and Pacific coasts.

As we reported shortly after the Honduran “coup,” the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya deprived Chavez of another “catch” for the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), but also an important ally in the drug trade. Following the Honduran general election Zelaya appears to have given up hope of re-entering politics. He is stilled holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, waiting for the Mexican government to negotiate his physical egress from the country. Mexico City has offered to provide Zelaya and his family with an aircraft to leave Honduras for destinations unknown. “I’m absolutely not seeking asylum in any country in the world,” he said, adding: “It is up to acting President Roberto Micheletti to guarantee my transport to the airport.”

Interviewed earlier by Venezuela’s Telesur television channel, Zelaya related that he intended to visit several countries whose governments have supported him. This would no doubt include Venezuela and Nicaragua. Zelaya, however, would not confirm comments made to Telesur by his chief of staff, Enrique Flores Lanza, to the effect that he was planning to travel with his family to Mexico and then Cuba to attend the next ALBA summit. There Zelaya will no doubt confer with his “handlers,” Chavez and Raul Castro.

The Venezuelan dictator, as one might expect, is already in his other homeland, rubbing elbows with his Cuban counterpart as they set the agenda for the ALBA delegates who will meet this weekend. In addition to Russia, Chavez likes to make frequent visits to Cuba. Barely two weeks ago, only hours before the communist state kicked off its Bastion 2009 military drill, he made an unannounced trip to Havana.

Although it is likely that Honduras’ next president, conservative cattle rancher Porfirio Lobo, will probably pull his country out of ALBA, the Red Axis’ drug apparatus has yet to be evicted from the country. Drug planes continue to fly into Honduras from Colombia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, using covert airstrips or, as needed, remote stretches of highway.

High-ranking government officials involved in counter-narcotics operations are also high-visibility targets. On Tuesday, for example, General Julian Gonzalez, chief of the Office for Combatting Drug Trafficking, was gunned down in his SUV by two people on a motorcycle. Although the general was usually accompanied by bodyguards, on this occasion Gonzalez had just driven his daughter to school in the northern district of Tegucigalpa. The fact that Gonzalez’s assassins struck when he was without his regular security detail, indicates a certain amount of intelligence collection and planning preceded the “hit.”

Not so coincidentally, on the same day retired army Colonel Osiris O’Connor and his driver were gunned down in El Eden, a district in Honduras’ Caribbean province of Cortes. Osiris was related to Colonel Erin O’Connor, who is in charge of internal security for the Honduran legislature. Erin is related to interim President Micheletti, although Osiris was not directly so.

Pictured here: On September 12, 2009 Nicaraguan soldiers march through Managua in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Sandinista Popular Army.

The Red Axis’ drug apparatus has yet to be evicted from Nicaragua too. On December 9 two naval personnel and one drug smuggler were killed during a clash in Caribe Norte province. The killings occurred near the coastal community of Walpa Siksa. General Omar Halleslevens described the incident: “We are in the zone. People are already under arrest. There is even one person who was captured with a kilo of cocaine and a quantity of dollars.”

If the neo-Sandinista regime is once again involved in this illicit network, along with its ideological comrades in the Chavezista regime, then it would appear that only a small cabal is involved. Major General Julio Aviles, who is taking over fellow Sandinista Halleslevens’ post next February, fought against the Somoza regime, afterwards received military training in Cuba in order to suppress the Contras, and later became chief of military intelligence and counter-intelligence. It is more probable that the 52-year-old Aviles is aware of or involved in such a criminal-political enterprise on behalf of Comandante Ortega. However, we can only speculate at this time until hard data becomes available. During the 1980s Sandinista Interior Minister Tomas Borge, now Nicaragua’s ambassador to Peru, was accused of helping the Medellin Cartel set up cocaine labs in this Central American country.

Finally, BigGovernment.com is raising questions about President Barack Hussein Obama’s nominee for ambassador to communist El Salvador, Mari Del Carmen Aponte. In 1998 President Bill Clinton, whose wife Hillary, of course, is now Obama’s secretary of state, nominated Aponte to be ambassador to the Dominican Republic. At the time Aponte was forced to withdraw her name from consideration over allegations of ties to Cuba’s General Intelligence Directorate (DGI), presently known simply as the Intelligence Directorate (DI).

On January 25, 1999 the Washington Times reported: “Miss Aponte’s withdrawal from consideration for the Dominican Republic post came after she was questioned by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about her contacts with Cuban government employees or agents. She told the panel that her experience with Mr. Tamayo and Cuban agents had sensitized her to future contacts that might involve Cuban influence.”

On February 22 of the same year, Insight on the News reported: “According to a confidential intelligence memo delivered to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms of North Carolina, first published by Insight several months ago, Aponte allegedly cohabited with an agent of the Cuban intelligence service, known as DGI. The man, who was not named in the memo, later was identified in follow-up press reports as Roberto Tamayo.” Aponte was later cleared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In spite of this, the Clinton Administration declined to nominate Aponte to any other federal appointments.

In view of the cozy relationship between Communist Cuba and El Salvador’s new FMLN regime, the appointment of the pro-Cuban Aponte as US ambassador to San Salvador may not be the brightest idea. However, the Hispanic National Bar Association thinks otherwise: “The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) commends President Barack H. Obama for the nomination of Mari Carmen Aponte as United States Ambassador to the Republic of El Salvador.” The HBNA gushes: “Ms. Aponte has been an active member of the HNBA for the past thirty years and was the first Latina to serve as National President of the Association (1983-1984).”

Speaking of Cuban agents, on Tuesday US District Judge Joan Lenard slightly reduced the prison terms of two convicted “Cuban Five” spies. In 1998 Ramon Labanino and Fernando Gonzalez were arrested along with three other Cuban agents. Prosecutors asserted that Labanino and Gonzalez formed the so-called “Wasp Network” sent to the USA to infiltrate exile groups opposed to Cuba’s communist regime and penetrate military facilities.

>Latin America File: Sanchez confirms El Salvador’s integration into ALBA; Bolivia’s self-avowed Marxist-Leninist president re-elected

>– Venezuelan Science and Technology Minister Resigns over Brother’s Banking Scandal, Jesse and Arne Chacon Participated in Chavez’s Failed 1992 Coups

– Colombia Requests Arrest of Venezuelan Politician, Figueroa Main Middleman between FARC Guerrillas and Arms Dealers

– Mexico’s Narco-Insurgency: Pretext for United Nations Troop Insertion South of US-Mexican Border?

As we suspected, El Salvador’s Vice President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, the former battlefield commander for the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), has confirmed that his country will be formally absorbed into the region’s Red Axis. “Our country’s integration into the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas [ALBA] will be a natural event, something that, for now, the government of [President] Mauricio Funes is analyzing,” Sanchez explained to the Cuban News Agency before he left Cuba on December 7.

“Ruthless murderer” and “doctrinaire Leninist” Sanchez expressed satisfaction with his meeting with Cuban dictator Raul Castro, Cuban counterpart Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, and other Cuban government officials (pictured above). The Salvadoran VP, whose guerrilla army enjoyed the backing of the Soviet Union, Cuba, and the first Sandinista regime in Nicaragua during the 1980s, assured Cuba’s state media outlet that “These contacts lay the foundations of a process of greater cooperation between Cuba and El Salvador.” Thus, even as Hondurans struggle to withdraw their country from the communist-dominated ALBA, the FMLN is handing El Salvador to the Havana-Caracas Axis on a silver platter.

On Sunday, one week after former urban guerrilla Jose Mujica won the Uruguayan presidency, Bolivia’s self-avowed Marxist-Leninist president, Evo Morales, was re-elected by a sizable majority of 63 percent. Morales’ rightist rival, a former state governor by the name of Manfred Reyes Villa, scraped up 27 percent. “It’s been a hard battle against lies, against political persecution,” Reyes Villa explained, speaking from Santa Cruz, one of several eastern states that declared its autonomy from La Paz in December 2007. He added: “We’re going to keep fighting for democracy, for the country and for everyone counting on us.”

Upon learning of his victory, speaking from the presidential palace in La Paz, Morales pledged to extend his socialist revolution: “The people, with their participation, showed once again that it’s possible to change Bolivia. We have the responsibility to deepen and accelerate this process of change.” Election observers sent from the Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union confirmed that Morales’ victory was valid. Morales’ Movement toward Socialism party scored its first-ever majority in both houses of the Bolivian Congress. This numerical supremacy will allow him to make key appointments without consulting the opposition.

The first Bolivian president to win consecutive re-election since 1964, Morales announced he will use his second five-year term to expand state control over the country’s natural resources and redistribute revenue from state enterprises to the poor. He also plans to rewrite about 100 laws, including mining and energy codes. Earlier this year Morales reworked Bolivia’s constitution to permit his re-election, much as his comrades Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa have done, and which his other comrade Daniel Ortega is endeavoring to do, in spite of some recent political roadblocks.

Meanwhile, Chavez’s Science and Technology Minister Jesse Chacon has resigned in the wake of his brother Arne’s arrest on Saturday, following the closure of the bank Arne headed. “I’m really sorry he’s the brother of a minister, but we are demonstrating that there are no untouchables here,” explained Chavez, briefly humbling himself during a talk show dedicated to the risks of corruption. Eight bankers are now in custody. Pedro Torres, a banker from the same group, fled to Miami. According to Chavez, the government had seized businesses belonging to Torres and Arne, including insurance and food firms.

Over the last week the Chavezista regime has nationalized and/or closed a total of seven banks with alleged ownership or funding “irregularities. These occasions have offered Venezuela’s communist dictator an opportunity to rail against the country’s “oligarchs.” Last Friday he declared: “The local bourgeoisie are trying to create panic. We are intervening with wisdom.”

The resignation of Jesse Chacon and the arrest of his banker brother Arne should interest students of Chavez’s political career. Like the Venezuelan president, Jesse is a retired military officer, while his brother Arne was a soldier. Both Jesse and Arne, moreover, took part in the two coups that failed to bring Chavez to power in 1992. Hugo and Jesse were jailed for their sedition. Presumably, both Chacon brothers belonged to Chavez’s subversive ring of leftist military men, the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200, which later morphed into the Fifth Republic Movement and then merged into the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in 2007. Chavez insists that he barely knows Arne. “What I have said is that he who slips up, loses. Banker, I don’t care if you are the biggest,” Chavez growled.

The spat between the narco-communist regime in Caracas and the pro-Washington government in Bogota continued to fester this past week. The two main unresolved issues include the impending deployment of US counter-narcotics troops in Colombia, and Chavez’s documented support for Colombia’s Marxist narco-insurgents in the porous border region between the two countries. Last Friday Colombia accused Venezuelan troops of blowing up a third makeshift footbridge and holding a Colombian soldier who crossed the border. Venezuela’s military contended that the bridge in Tachira State had been used by criminals, but refused to comment on the charges about a detained soldier.

Last month Venezuelan troops dynamited two makeshift footbridges across the frontier because they were allegedly used by drug smugglers, which in any case are being aided by Chavez’s cronies in the Venezuelan security and intelligence establishment, DISIP. Colombia denounced the destruction of the first two bridges before the United Nations and OAS. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe also accused Chavez of imposing an illegal trade blockade similar to the US embargo on Cuba. Until recently Venezuela relied heavily on Colombian food products, but Chavez has established new commercial arrangements with Brazil and Argentina, his allies in the region’s Red Axis. As a result, in October Colombian imports to its neighbor plunged 70 percent.

The semi-covert linkage between Chavez’s PSUV and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) emerged once again this week when a Colombian judge requested the arrest of a member of Venezuela’s delegation to the Latin American Parliament. PSUV cadre Amilcar Figueroa Salazar is alleged to have ties with the FARC. According to Colombian intelligence, Figuerora, who goes by the pseudonym “Tino,” is one of the guerrillas’ main allies in Venezuela and chief mediator between the guerrillas and arms traders.

Colombian authorities contend that emails in computers belonging to slain FARC commander Raul Reyes prove the Venezuelan lawmaker’s personal relationship with the guerrillas. They intend to try Figuerora on terrorism charges. The Venezuelan politician already had been arrested in Panama, but was released after the Chavezista regime applied pressure on the Panamanian government.

Finally, Mexico’s sometimes horrific narco-insurgency continues to rage in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. Over the weekend at least 15 people were killed. In one home, the AFP news agency reports, Mexican police found a 17-year-old boy riddled with over 60 bullet wounds, while in another residence two brothers, aged 15 and 19 years, were killed as part of a quadruple homicide.

Embattled President Felipe Calderon announced late last month that 50,000 soldiers would remain on assignment in Chihuahua and other northern border states to suppress drug-related violence. Since Calderon took office in December 2006 Mexico’s narco-insurgency has taken the lives of more than 16,000 people. Some 8,500 troops are presently patrolling the streets of Ciudad Juarez in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies.

Last month business leaders in Mexico’s deadliest city implored Calderon to request the deployment of United Nations troops. If 50,000 Mexican troops cannot contain the country’s out-of-control drug cartels, then how many blue-helmeted UN soldiers will be summoned to do the same job? Thinking strategically, Mexico’s narco-insurgency offers the Moscow Leninists an ideal opportunity, under the cover of a UN police action, to position communist troops just south of the US-Mexican border. I’m sure America’s socialist president Barack Hussein Obama, who is “preoccupied” with the introduction of world government via the global warming “threat,” would have no serious objections. Got CD anyone? Probably not.

>Buncha Commies Corner: Restored statue of Worker and Collective Farm Woman unveiled in Moscow, ceremony attended by 1000s with fireworks

> On December 4 the AP news agency reported:

A gigantic sculpture that is one of the most admired examples of Soviet socialist realism is back on view in Moscow after six years of restoration. The stainless-steel sculpture, called “Worker and Collective Farm Woman,” was unveiled Friday in a nighttime ceremony with fireworks attended by thousands.

The 24.5-meter (80-foot) sculpture depicts the two figures striding forward purposefully, their raised arms holding a hammer and sickle to replicate the Communist symbol. The worker’s sash and the woman’s skirt float behind them, as if they were moving at high speed.

In Russia there’s a little too much nostalgia for the old Soviet days. Anti-communists should really start worrying when the hammer and sickle floats above the Kremlin again.

>Latin America File: Salvadoran VP, “ex”-guerrilla chief visits Havana; “ruthless murderer” cheered 911 attacks; pleads for “21st-century socialism"

>– Predictions in 1989 Heritage Foundation Report Outlining Dangers of FMLN Victory in Salvadoran Civil War Confirmed (in Spades)

– Chavez Hosts, Sanchez Attends Communist International Encounter of Left Parties in Caracas; Venezuelan Dictator Calls for “Fifth International”

Salvadorans joke that Sanchez Ceren is only nine millimeters away from the presidency [with reference to 9-mm bullet].
— US academic J. Michael Waller, March 23, 2009

At the request of Cuba’s communist dictatorship, Salvador Sanchez Ceren arrived in Havana today. Sanchez is El Salvador’s vice president and former commander of the Soviet/Cuban/Nicaraguan-backed guerrilla army-turned-political party Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). In what was the first high-level Salvadoran delegation to visit Cuba in 48 years, Vice President Sanchez met with his Cuban counterpart, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura (pictured above, seated right). No doubt Sanchez and his Cold War-era backers in the Communist Party of Cuba will discuss El Salvador’s integration into the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA). A similar arrangement, of course, provoked the current turmoil in neighboring Honduras.

Cuba and El Salvador reestablished relations on June 1 when the FMLN’s “moderate-left” frontman Mauricio Funes was inaugurated as president. In October the two countries exchanged ambassadors. So, although the Cold War supposedly ended 18 years ago, the communists finally conquered El Salvador earlier this year. Instead of using guns, like it did during the 1980s, the FMLN patiently waited for the country’s electorate to grow weary of the ruling Nationalist Republican Alliance’s (ARENA) headlock on the presidency.

During a recent visit to Venezuela, where he attended the International Encounter of Left Parties between November 19 and 21, Sanchez declared: “It is necessary to support the socialism of the 21st century in the face of the U.S. threat.” The International Journal of Socialist Renewal also reported El Salvador’s VP as saying: “We cannot continue simply debating … we need to clearly define what it is that we want, and the alternative project for Latin America is socialism.”

Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez hosted the meeting, which brought together delegates from 55 leftist parties in 33 countries. Latin American delegates came from Cuba, the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front, Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party, Bolivia’s ruling Movement Toward Socialism, and Ecuador’s ruling Proud and Sovereign Fatherland Alliance. European delegates came from Germany’s Left Party (which descends from East German’s ruling Socialist Unity Party), Portugal’s Left Bloc, and France’s Left Party.

During this communist conclave, Chavez demanded: “The time has come for us to organise the Fifth International.” Afterwards, Chavez repeated his call in a speech to the congress of the PSUV: “I am asking you to include in its agenda for debate, the proposal to convene political parties and currents to create the Fifth Socialist International as a new organisation that fits the time and the challenge in which we live, and that can become an instrument of unification and coordination of the struggle of peoples to save this planet.” A majority of the delegates resolved to found the “Fifth Socialist International as a space for socialist-oriented parties, movements and currents in which we can harmonise a common strategy for the struggle against imperialism, the overthrow of capitalism by socialism.” They also determined that the new “Fifth International” would be launched in April 2010.

Sanchez and Chavez will no doubt make sure that El Salvador is subservient to the plans of this new Fifth International of communists. After the FMLN clinched last March’s election, Venezuela’s red tyrant Hugo Chavez sent his comradely greetings to Funes, taking a stab too at ARENA’s (justifiable) attempt to portray Funes as a Chavez puppet:

This victory strengthens the historic wave [of leftist regimes] that, in this first decade of the 21st century, has arisen in all of Latin America and the Caribbean, and opens its doors to other sibling peoples in the challenges they will face.

Today the Salvadoran people did not waver; they stepped forward and displayed their clarity and courage, defeating a campaign of lies, trash and manipulations unleashed against the Bolivarian Republic and against progressive [leftist] and dignified leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean. These disgraceful campaigns fomented by the international right wing in our continent were destroyed today by the consciousness of the majority of the Salvadoran people.

President Hugo Chavez congratulates President-elect Mauricio Funes, reminding him that the unity of our peoples is the only path to overcome the crisis unleashed from the heart of capitalism in the North [USA]. In this crucial moment, the children of Bolivar offer our hands in solidarity to President Mauricio Funes, so that together we may advance in the strengthening of this new era we are living through, together overcoming under-development and poverty.

Today we Venezuelans are happy, and in this hour of happiness we recognize the leader of peace, Shafik Handal [deceased leader of Communist Party of El Salvador], and the many men and women who gave their lives [during the FMLN insurgency] for the rebirth of the Salvadoran people.

Sanchez began his insurgent career in the 1970s, when he joined the Popular Liberation Forces (FPL) “Farabundo Marti,” one of the five guerrilla armies that merged into the FMLN. The other groups were the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FARN) under the leadership of Eduardo Sancho Castaneda; People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP) under Joaquin Villalobos Hueso; Armed Forces of Liberation/Communist Party of El Salvador (FAL/PCES) under Palestinian-Salvadoran Handal (who died in 2006); and Revolutionary Party of Central American Workers (PRTC) under Francisco Jovel.

In May 1980 El Salvador’s insurgent leaders met in Havana where, in exchange for Cuban aid, they organized a central political-military command called the Unified Revolutionary Directorate (DRU). The 15-member DRU included three representatives each from the FPL, FARN, ERP, FAL/PCES, and later that year the PRTC. Even before the FMLN’s formation, relates one history of El Salvador, the PCES had become a tool for Soviet Bloc subversion in Central America: “While serving in the reformist government that came to power in a civil-military coup in October 1979, the PCES continued to prepare for guerrilla activities by sending its recruits to training camps in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Cuba, and Nicaragua.” In 1984 Sanchez became the FMLN’s commanding general, holding that position until the cessation of El Salvador’s civil war in January 1992.

Writing for The Washington Times in November 2008, John R. Thomson, citing a website maintained by two ex-FMLN guerrillas, describes the horrid methods used by the communist insurgents to murder their own if suspected of collaborating with the government. “One of the favorite interrogation techniques was to bludgeon presumed enemy [government] spies with wooden clubs,” relates Geovani Galeas, who fought for the ERP until it merged into the FMLN. Comrade Galeas continues: “They first assaulted their arms and legs, brutally breaking them in futile attempts to get them to talk—futile because they had nothing to confess. Eventually, they realized there was nothing forthcoming and they turned their clubs on the victims’ skulls, beating them until they succumbed.”

Thomson then writes:

These were not ordinary murders; they were committed by guerrillas against other guerrillas on the order of the commanding general in the San Vicente region, known in the FMLN as El Frente Para Central (Auxiliary Central Front). What’s more, virtually all the murders were based on unproven hearsay allegations that the victims were Salvadoran military agents trying to undermine the terrorist cause.

Salvadoran military did in fact infiltrate undercover agents into the FMLN, but Geovani Galeas contends all those murdered were eliminated without benefit of a trial and with virtually no substantial evidence.

The commanding general who approved every assassination, with the alias “Leonel Gonzalez,” was none other than Salvador Sanchez Ceren, vice presidential candidate of the FMLN in the country’s March [2009] presidential elections. Sanchez Ceren has long been a top FMLN leader and is considered one of the most orthodox hard leftists in the organization, together with party secretary-general Melando Gonzalez, whose terrorist moniker was “Milton.”

US academic J. Michael Waller was invited by ARENA to monitor the Salvadoran election campaign earlier this year. In a post-election analysis Waller rightly observes that Funes is a figurehead for the ardent communists who run the FMLN:

The FMLN won by only 60,000 votes, and it pulled fewer votes this month than ARENA did in the last presidential election. Its president-elect, Mauricio Funes, is “moderate” by FMLN standards and is only a figurehead. Real power rests with vice president-elect Salvador Sanchez Ceren, one of the five FMLN commanders during the war who is known as a ruthless murderer and remains a doctrinaire Leninist.”

Sanchez Ceren is unrepentant about those killings and the killings of thousands of his own countryman, including more than a thousand of his own people in the FMLN itself. He cheered the September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda attacks on the United States and remains an open supporter of terrorism around the world. El Salvador is a longtime ally but risks becoming a different country under an avowed supporter of terrorism. Salvadorans joke that Sanchez Ceren is only nine millimeters away from the presidency.

During the 1980s the Soviet Union, Cuba, and the first Sandinista regime in Nicaragua propped up the FMLN insurgency. After Chavez took over Venezuela in 1999, the Communist Bloc handed over the task of subverting El Salvador to the new red regime in Caracas. Waller concludes: “Victory for the FMLN is not a victory for democracy. It’s a victory for Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez who invested in the FMLN while Washington neglected the region.”

Indeed, Jorge Castaneda, Mexico’s foreign minister between 2000 and 2003, writes: “As recently as a year ago, anyone who visited FMLN headquarters in San Salvador to interview, for example, Ceren, its secretary general, would be struck by the overwhelming presence of Chavez: red shirts, red berets, pictures of the Venezuelan caudillo, quotations from his teachings and musings.” Chavez, Castenada continues, “helped the FMLN by giving free or cheap oil to its mayors in many parts of the country.” The Mexican politician also notes that “the Cuban presence remains strong” in the Central American country: “Ramiro Abreu, who ‘ran’ El Salvador for Cuba’s Department of the America’s in the 1980s and 1990s, remains active, but now more as a businessman and a senior statesmen that as a Cuban operative. But Cuba’s influence on the old FMLN leadership remains intact.” Formerly a communist, Castaneda’s comments are worth noting.

“Ruthless murderer” and “doctrinaire Leninist” Sanchez Ceren: This is the man who is El Salvador’s vice president and who has just touched down in Communist Cuba to confer with his superiors. What sort of bloodshed awaits the Salvadoran people now that the Red Axis has conquered their country? Exactly 20 years ago, in a report issued on December 5, 1989, the Heritage Foundation warned of the dangers of an FMLN victory as a result of the violent insurgency then taking place.

Kim R. Holmes begins his report by writing: “The victory of the Marxist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in the Salvadoran civil war would endanger the United States and Central American security and set back for years the cause of democracy in the region. Yet some in Congress do not see what is at risk in El Salvador.” In 2009 the Democratic-controlled US government still does not see or care about “what is at risk in El Salvador” or anywhere else in Latin America. Apart from the international drug trade (which is promoted by the Soviet strategists), the Obama White House has yet to acknowledge the geopolitical aspirations of the Western Hemisphere’s Red Axis.

Holmes continues: “Like their patrons in Havana and Managua, the FMLN preaches a ‘revolution without borders,’ promising to spread revolutionary violence to all countries in the region. A victory for the FMLN would produce yet another state in Central America dedicated to exporting terrorism; joining Cuba, Nicaragua, and Panama in that deadly enterprise.” The FMLN, as demonstrated by Sanchez’s recent remarks in Caracas, still holds to the vision of communizing El Salvador, albeit now employing Chavez’s terminology, such as “21st century socialism” and “Bolivarianism.” Incidentally, when this Heritage Foundation report was published, Panama’s narco-dictator Manuel Noriega, who was covertly allied with Cuba via the drug trade, was only several weeks away from being deposed by the US military.

Holmes then relates how in the 1980s the Soviets used Cuba and Nicaragua as middlemen to supply the FMLN insurgency: “But most harmful to US and Central American security would be the expansion of Soviet, Cuban, and Nicaraguan military power to El Salvador. As [Vice President] George [H.W.] Bush told Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the FMLN is armed and financed by Cuba and Nicaragua. This became indisputable last month when a Cessna twin-engine aircraft originating from Managua crashed in El Salvador. It was carrying to the rebels a cache of Soviet-made SA-7 surface-to-air missiles.” Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega is still in possession of more than 1,000 of these weapons.

Holmes explains: “This arms shipment is part of a larger effort by the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Nicaragua to destabilize Central America.” He adds: “Despite assurances from the Soviet Foreign Ministry on September 25 [1989] that Moscow had “since 1988 ceased arms supplies” to Central America, at least three Soviet torpedo boats and four Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunships entered Nicaragua via Cuba in September. The Pentagon reports that East Bloc countries delivered over $400 million worth of arms to Nicaragua during the first nine months of this year [1989].”

Prophetically, he foresees the formation of a “Central American Warsaw Pact”:

Just when the Warsaw Pact seems to be crumbling in Europe, a victory for the FMLN would create a “Warsaw Pact of the West” in Central America, consisting of Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama [under Noriega], and a FMLN-dominated El Salvador. These countries could use the arms supplied by Moscow not only to attack Americans and such US interests in the region as the Panama Canal, but to threaten the democratically elected governments of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and possibly even Mexico.

This “Warsaw Pact of the West” did not come to pass at the time since the Sandinistas were democratically kicked out of Nicaragua’s executive office in 1990 and the Soviet Union dismantled itself in 1991. However, in light of the joint Nicaragua-Venezuela military exercise scheduled to occur in the former country in the spring of 2010, an incipient military alliance like Holmes’ “Central American Warsaw Pact” is slowly burgeoning before our eyes. ALBA, of course, either unites or aspires to unite the countries listed by Holmes in the previous quote.

Finally, Holmes refers to additional destabilizing influences in Latin America, such as the eruption of a civil war in Mexico, an unchecked northward refugee surge across the US border, and the government-sponsored flow of narcotics through countries like Cuba, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Keeping in mind that high-profile drug busts in these countries are probably designed to divert attention away from the Communist Bloc’s complicity in the “red cocaine” epidemic, Holmes writes:

The further destabilization of Central America could be very expensive for the US. Should El Salvador fall, hundreds of millions of dollars: more in US military aid would be needed to prop up Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Honduras. Were a civil war to erupt in Mexico as the result of outside interference, as many as 10 million Mexicans could pour across the US border seeking refuge. Just as bad, an FMLN victory in El Salvador could push more illegal drugs into the US. Havana and Managua provide drug traffickers with weapons and military protection; so would an FMLN regime in El Salvador.

As of 2009, in the fallout from Mexico’s narco-insurgency, all three predictions have come true. Incidentally, unrepentant Marxist terrorist Sanchez is also El Salvador’s education minister, a promotion that must no doubt thrill Salvadoran parents who didn’t vote FMLN.

>MISSILE DAY ALERT: Obama, Clinton sacrifice national security for sake of “peace,” photo ops: US inspectors to vacate Russia’s sole ICBM plant

>On December 1 The Washington Times reported that the USA “is about to lose a key arms-control tool from the closing days of the cold War — the right to station American observers in Russia to count the long-range missiles leaving its assembly line.” On December 5 the 15-year-old Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) will expire, obligating US inspectors at the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant, about 600 miles east of Moscow—the site where all Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are built—to vacate premises.

“U.S. and Russian officials signed on Oct. 20 a series of documents, which establish the procedures to be followed for the completion of U.S. monitoring activities at the Russian ICBM production facility at Votkinsk,” a US State Department official confirmed.

Votkinsk’s reciprocal site was the former Hercules Aerospace missile production facility in Magna, Utah, which Russian inspectors left in 2000, when the last “Made in the USA” ICBMs rolled off the assembly line. Russia, however, continues to produce dozens of missiles each year since the monitoring started 15 years ago. START banned only certain types of missiles, but the commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces, General Nikolai Solovtsov, was recently quoted as admitting that the assembly and deployment of next-generation RS-24 missiles would start once the treaty expires.

Pictured above: The US and Russian presidents meet on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Singapore on November 15.

Washington and Moscow first agreed to “continuous monitoring” under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed by President Ronald Reagan and then Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. America’s last great president died in 2004, but his adversary-turned-buddy Gorby still tours the lecture circuit, pounding the podium for “global perestroika” (world communism). In 2007 Vladimir Putin, then president of Russia, threatened to unilaterally withdraw from the INF. Although Moscow has yet to carry through with this threat, the Kremlin did in fact withdraw from the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty later that year, a prospect that should disturb true patriots in “former” communist states like Poland, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.

The failure of the two nuclear superpowers to renegotiate START on the basis of mutual trust before the treaty’s expiry has led to recriminations between the Obama White House and Republican legislators. “For the first time in 15 years, an extensive set of verification, notification, elimination and other confidence-building measures will expire on Saturday,” Senator Jon Kyl, a Republican from Arizona, said on the Senate floor in late November.

“When Votkinsk [inspections] goes away, Russia could deploy hundreds of missiles,” lamented one senior Republican Senate aide, who added: “Russia is a big country with many satellites passing overhead, so it will not be easy to count missiles based on test flights. We are worried about what Russia will do, that we are not going to know.” Another Republican aide complained that “The whole point of arms control was to allow the United States to learn more about Russia’s force strength than it could by just estimating it. We were radically bad about estimating, but we became better at understanding our adversary after START and other treaties. You can’t count mobile missiles from space.” Indeed. This is especially troubling news because the USA has never possessed land-mobile ICBMs.

During Obama’s July visit to Moscow—where Soviet Komsomol graduate Dmitry Medvedev feted “my new comrade Barack”—both countries agreed to draft a new arms-control treaty that would replace START. Obama and his Russian counterpart resolved to slash the number of strategic nuclear warheads on each side to between 1,500 and 1,675 within seven years. However, the “O Team” dropped the ball.

Congressional Republicans explained that Obama’s negotiating team was annoyed that it “got stuck” with a deal made by the Bush administration to close the monitoring facility at Votkinsk. This was not acceptable, either to the Soviets or, apparently, to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Paula A. DeSutter, assistant secretary of state for verification, compliance, and implementation for President George W. Bush, explained:

The Obama team accepted the START approach to limit both warheads and missiles, so it made sense for them to keep Votkinsk [that is, to either shut down or continue monitoring the facility]. There was nothing in our [President Bush’s November 2008] proposal that precluded the Obama administration from adding Votkinsk or any other verification measure, had they decided to take that approach.

Not surprisingly, the O Team decided not to press the Soviets into either shutting down or continuing inspections at Votkinsk. “The nature of our relationship has changed, and we have a pretty good idea about where Russia’s missile program is headed,” The Washington Times quoted one US official as saying. The newspaper, however, was oblivious to the fact that the interviewee was merely regurgitating one of the chief lies of the Soviet deception strategy, namely, that Washington and Moscow are best of friends now.

Even as the Moscow Leninists prepare for war against the West, they hold out the promise of peaceful East-West convergence via a truly ambitious international security arrangement that will embrace the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. In June 2008 President Medvedev first floated the idea of a legally binding security pact uniting all countries between “Vancouver to Vladivostok” that will “finally do away with the legacy of the Cold War.” Medvedev, however, is simply lifting lines from the script of former Soviet dictator Gorbachev, who in 1989 proposed the idea of a “common European home,” stretching—you guessed it—from “Vancouver to Vladivostok.” The OSCE began to digest the Soviet proposal during an unofficial ministerial meeting in Greece in June.

The communist analysts at state-run Xinhua list at least four reasons for Medvedev’s proposed security pact for “all states of the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian space.” These include NATO’s eastward expansion (itself a response to the Kremlin’s strategic withdrawal from “former’ Warsaw Pact states), NATO’s failure to ratify the revised CFE Treaty (which Moscow has unilaterally abandoned, as noted above), the involvement of Russia in European defense (with the systemic breaches of security that have already been exposed), and Russia’s ambition to strengthen its position on the world stage (in opposition to a US-led unipolar world). Russia’s NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin has submitted a draft treaty to NATO leaders. “According to sources close to the issue,” continues Xinhua, “NATO objects to discussing the treaty within the NATO-Russia Council, insisting it be discussed by OSCE.”

Will anyone in the West, though, stop to ask which “rogue state” necessitates the creation of this colossal Euro-Atlantic/Eurasian security pact? If all the countries of any significance in the Northern Hemisphere are included in this military alliance, then who is the “enemy”? Islam? Not likely. The CIS/CSTO embraces the nominally Muslim Central Asian republics. Hmm, how about Vanuatu?

>Red Dawn Alert: Russian engineers building arms plants in Venezuela; Nicaragua, Venezuela to hold 2-month joint military drill, ALBA rejects Lobo win

>For at least two years it has been known that, in addition to shipping 100,000 AK-103 automatic rifles to Venezuela, Russia intends to build plants in that country to manufacture even more of these weapons and their cartridges. The Kremlin’s ambassador in Caracas, Vladimir Zaemskiy, told a news conference on November 30 that Russian engineers and Venezuelan construction firms are presently building AK-103 plants which, when operational, will employ more than 1,500 workers. Zaemskiy offered no completion date for the plants under construction in the central state of Aragua.

Zaemskiy added that “big contracts” were being finalized to deliver 53 “Mil” helicopters to the Venezuelan armed forces, to be used for “humanitarian missions,” of course. Between 2006 and 2008 Moscow delivered a total of 59 military helicopters to Venezuela. Russia is also providing “a complete range” of spare military parts to Venezuela, Zaemskiy confided, as well as “transferring technology and building technical maintenance centers.”

Pictured above: In Caracas Venezuelan National Guard stand outside of Banco Canarias headquarters, one of several banks closed by the Chavezista regime.

Since it is also known that Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez is supplying the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) with surface-to-air missiles (and probably other weapons), terrorism experts are worried that some of these Russian-designed, Venezuelan-produced small arms will wind up in the hands of Colombia’s Marxist guerrillas. Incidentally, in exchange for this covert weapons channel, the Chavezista regime is also taking a “cut” from the FARC’s lucrative trade in cocaine.

“Details about Moscow’s military shipments and projects,” frets Reuters at the first link above, “have been scarce since socialist President Hugo Chavez’s government began signing military agreements with Russia back in 2001.” That year Chavez and the “ex”-communists and KGB-types who rule Russia also established a strategic partnership to oppose “unipolar US supremacy” throughout the world. Since then Venezuela, like Cuba and Nicaragua, has become an undeniable Soviet satellite in the Western Hemisphere.

Venezuela’s contract to mass-produce Russian-designed light weapons is merely the tip of the iceberg with respect to the region’s new arms race. In recent years Chavez has purchased more than US$4 billion in weapons from Russia, including 24 Sukhoi fighter jets, now in service with the Venezuelan Air Force. When Chavez returned from his ninth trip to Moscow in September of this year, he disclosed that Russia had agreed to lend his country US$2.2 billion to purchase 92 T-72 main battle tanks and an S-300 air defense system that can shoot down fighter jets and cruise missiles.

Two years ago Russia agreed to sell the same S-300 system to Iran, a close ally of Venezuela as revealed again by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent visit to Caracas. However, the Kremlin postponed delivering the missile interceptors to Tehran amid US and Israeli fears they will be used to defend Iran’s nuclear installations.

After Brazil, which boasts Latin America’s largest armed forces, Venezuela has moved into second place in terms of firepower and military technology. “As a result of this cooperation, Venezuela’s defense capacity has increased considerably, as well as its level of technological independence,” concluded Zaemskiy. Thus we see that Chavez, who along with Raul Castro, co-leads the region’s Red Axis, is not only “armed for bear,” he is being armed by the Bear itself, that is, the “Soviet Bear.”

Indeed, it appears that Chavez, using any pretext, such as the new Washington-Bogota military pact, is preparing to over-run anti-communist “hold-outs” like Colombia with his Soviet/Cuban-backed “Bolivarian Revolution.” Lately, the latter includes the closure and nationalization of Venezuela’s private banks. “If I need to take over all the Venezuelan banks, I’ll do it,” Chavez ranted on state television yesterday.

In a related story that will probably witness the exacerbation of tensions still further between Bogota and Caracas, last Saturday 412 Colombians were expelled from Venezuela and allegedly mistreated after the illegal gold mine where they were working was closed down. Diego Molano, director of Colombia’s agency for displaced persons, related that the group was forced to board helicopters along the Venezuela-Colombia border. “They have been expelled without the appropriate processes, without information, without telling us so that we could prepare a humane reception for these people,” elaborated Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva.

In what could be perceived as a penal response, Colombian Minister of Mines and Energy Hernán Martínez announced on Thursday the temporary suspension of power supplies to Venezuela and the restriction of electricity sales to Ecuador, reportedly “to shore up reserves amid a strong summer season.” With diplomatic aplomb, Martínez denied that the decision was related to “the political situation with Venezuela.” He assured the AFP news agency that there would be a “prompt restoration of energy supply,” and insisted that “Venezuelan officials know that it is not a retaliation. We would not do it under any circumstances.”

Into this fray strides the president of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez, who has offered to mediate the dispute between Colombia and Venezuela. On Wednesday the office of the Dominican Republic’s center-left president revealed that Fernandez accepted a request made by Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe at a private meeting held during the 19th Ibero-American Summit, which concluded on Tuesday in Estoril, Portugal. Fernandez later announced his decision in France, where he is on an official visit: “The Dominican Republic, due to its geographical position and its friendship with its neighbors, has been a mediator in regional conflicts on other occasions.” Whether Chavez really wants to peacefully resolve his ideological “beef” with Uribe is questionable in light of the above arms procurements from Russia.

Pictured here: Ortega waves to cadres of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front on November 21, the 1st anniversary of the FLSN’s “sweeping victory” in the 2008 municipal elections. The sign behind him reads “Socialist Solidarity.”

Communist Troop Movements in Central America

On a number of occasions, beginning even before the Honduran crisis, we have considered the possibility that Moscow is quietly assembling a “Red Dawn-style” military coalition in Latin America. We have examined many factors, including: 1) Russia’s first-ever, “post”-Cold War, week-long deployment of two Tu-160 strategic bombers to Venezuela in September 2008; 2) Russia’s first-ever joint naval drill with Venezuela in November 2008; 3) subsequent ports of call by the Russian Navy in Nicaragua, Cuba, and Balboa on Panama’s Pacific coast, the last necessitating a rare Soviet/Russian transiting of the Panama Canal; 4) the arrival last month of Russia’s civil defense “czar” in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela with promises to set up an emergency situations center in each country; 5) Cuba’s three-day Bastion 2009 “strategic maneuver,” which wrapped up this past Saturday; and 6) another port of call by the Russian Navy in Cuba, slated for some time in December.

We have also awaited news of combined maneuvers among the ALBA states themselves, since Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales have joined Chavez in urging the formation of an “anti-imperialist” army in Latin America. Well, just in time for the release of the Red Dawn re-make next year, troops from Venezuela and Nicaragua will hold their first-ever, two-month joint military drill in Central America next spring. In late September we blogged about a story from the Costa Rican media in which Ortega hurriedly approved the introduction of Venezuelan soldiers in his country beginning on November 1. The purpose of the foreign troop deployment in Nicaragua was not clear and, moreover, the MSM in North America did not touch the story with a ten-foot pole.

At the time even Liberal opposition leaders in Nicaragua’s National Assembly denied that the arrangement was related to the Honduran crisis. On several occasions Honduras’ interim president Roberto Micheletti has alleged that Venezuela and Nicaragua are preparing to reinstall deposed president Manuel Zelaya, a subservient pawn of Chavez, at the head of an invasion force. These are no idle accusations. Within 24 hours of Zelaya’s ouster on June 28, Chavez did in fact threaten to throw his military against Honduras on the pretext of protecting Venezuelan diplomats in the Central American country.

In spite of National Party candidate Porfirio Lobo’s election to the presidency on November 29, the Honduran crisis is still not fully resolved. The USA, Colombia, Panama, and Peru have promised to recognize President-Elect Lobo, who will take office on January 27, but the communist-led ALBA, which captured Honduras in 2008, refuses to do so. Incidentally, the fact that Lobo, a wealthy cattle rancher by occupation, is a Soviet-era graduate of Moscow’s terrorist-indoctrination center, Patrice Lumumba University, adds a twist to this story that may be addressed in another post if more information becomes available.

For his part, Zelaya remains defiant from his base of operations in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. Between his ouster, which was backed by his own Liberal Party, and his secretive return to Honduras on September 21, Zelaya enjoyed Ortega’s hospitality in Managua. On December 2 a majority of the Honduran Congress blocked Zelaya from serving out the final month of his term, upholding the body’s initial decision to support his removal, a decision that was condemned by the United Nations and the Organization of American States. The Honduran Congress’ latest anti-Zelaya resolution will only act as a final slap in the face to the region’s Red Axis.

All of these developments bring us full circle to a story in the December 3 edition of Caracas’ El Universal, which reports on next spring’s combined Nicaraguan-Venezuelan military drill:

The armies of Nicaragua and Venezuela will conduct military exercises aimed at training their air and naval forces, reported on Thursday official sources in Managua. The military exercises will take place in Nicaragua from May 1 to June 30, with the presence of about 30 Venezuelan soldiers and an unspecified number of ships and planes of the Venezuelan Air Force, DPA reported.

The participation of Venezuelan troops was authorized on Wednesday by the Nicaraguan parliament as required under the Constitution, said Sandinista deputy René Núñez, who is the speaker of the Chamber. Nicaragua and Venezuela strengthened their diplomatic and trade relations in 2007, after the return of Daniel Ortega to the government and the accession of the Central American country to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).

In spite of the reportedly low number of Venezuelan soldiers who will participate in this eight-week exercise, the fact there will be an “unspecified number of ships and planes of the Venezuelan Air Force” should cause the Honduran government some concern. At Once Upon a Time in the West we can only make predictions based on open-source information. However, it may be that under the guise of a joint drill that the armed forces of Nicaragua and Venezuela will incrementally pre-position their forces for launching an attack against the stubbornly anti-communist Hondurans. Surely it is not a coincidence that Russia is re-arming Nicaragua’s Soviet-era military even as it transforms Venezuela’s into a formidable regional force.

In a noteworthy development that could be related to the Nicaragua-Venezuela war game, President Ortega has appointed a new army chief. Like the outgoing chief of staff, General Omar Halleslevens, incoming commander of the Nicaraguan National Army, Major General Julio Aviles, is presumably a Sandinista. Aviles, whose promotion was announced at an event of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front, will assume his new position on February 21, 2010. Born in 1965, Aviles was only 14 years old when the Nicaraguan Revolution swept away the Somoza dynasty. He holds a degree in business administration, but that fact shouldn’t fool students of the 21st-century Red Spread in Latin America. The relatively young Aviles was formerly chief of military intelligence and counter-intelligence. He has also represented the Nicaraguan military in France and, significantly, Cuba, Ortega’s oldest regional ally.

Meanwhile, Russia is expanding its official representation in Nicaragua by opening a trade mission in Managua by direct order of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Nicaragua is a major exporter of coffee, nuts, and tobacco to Russia, and beginning in 2010 will supply 12,000 metric tons of beef and pork products to the Eurasian country. Russia’s main exports to Nicaragua are machinery, equipment, and chemicals. Moscow’s new trade mission in Nicaragua—in addition to regular embassy staff—could conceivably offer expanded cover for Soviet subversion in Central America, as well as a hub to coordinate the political-military activities of the region’s Red Axis. Ortega’s unwavering commitment to his Soviet masters is clear from his first “post”-Cold War trip to Moscow in December 2008, as well as a missive published 26 years before that exposes the Sandinistas’ solidarity with the Soviets:

To the Central Committee of the CPSU, To the Supreme Soviet of the USSR

Comrades,

On behalf of the FSLN membership and the heroic people of Nicaragua the National Leadership of the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the Council of the National Reconstruction Government salute you, the glorious Soviet people, the Government and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on the 60th anniversary of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The great unity of the Soviet people, sealed on December 30, 1922, was an accomplishment without precedent in human history. The establishment of a state of workers and peasants enabled them to attain their most cherished and urgent social, political and economic goals.

Marking the 60th anniversary of the USSR we are fully aware of the colossal material and spiritual advances made by the Soviet people and of their great contribution to the struggle to preserve world peace, which checks the hegemonic moves of the more reactionary and militarist imperialist quarters [meaning the USA]. Equally great and effective has been the solidarity of the Soviet people with our people, the people of [Augusto] Sandino.

Paying homage to the people, the Communist Party and the Government of the Soviet Union, we want the friendship and solidarity existing between our peoples, governments and parties to develop and grow still stronger.

Patria libre o morir! [Free fatherland or death!]

DANIEL ORTEGA SAAVEDRA
Coordinator of the Council of the National Reconstruction Government
Member of the FSLN National Leadership

BAYARDO ARCE CASTANO
Coordinator of the Political Commission of the FSLN National Leadership

(60th Anniversary of the USSR: Greetings from Abroad; Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1983; pages 344-345)

Before the Nicaraguan-Venezuelan war game begins, don’t be surprised if other ALBA states like, say, Cuba, Bolivia or Ecuador, announce their participation.

Incidentally, Bolivia’s self-avowed Marxist-Leninist president Evo Morales is expected to be re-elected during that country’s December 6 poll. Even though Ecuador’s socialist president Rafael Correa was re-elected back in April, his popularity rating has slipped since then, encouraging this Chavez “mini me” to clamp down on press freedom. Reuters reports that on Tuesday Correa affirmed his support for a bill that will establish a government-controlled “watchdog” panel with powers to penalize journalists who break rules to be outlined in the tabled legislation.

This past weekend Correa, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), flew to Brussels to urge the European Union (EU) to reject the results of the Honduran election. Both Unasur and the EU may rightly be described as Leninist building blocks for world government.

>Red Terror File: Umarov’s “Caucasian Mujahadeen” claims Nevsky Express bombing; Putin attributes 2nd train bombing in Dagestan to "terrorism"

>While Russian investigators claim to have found new leads in their search for the “terrorists” who killed at least 26 people traveling on the Nevsky Express between Moscow and St. Petersburg, the “Caucasian Mujahadeen,” under the orders of its leader, Doku Umarov, have claimed responsibility for the November 27 bombing. Intriguingly, the Kremlin’s top banker, Boris Yevstratikov, was killed in the blast and derailment.

On Monday Prime Minister Vladimir Putin linked the Nevsky Express bombing with an explosion that occurred that day on a railway line in the internal Russian republic of Dagestan. The Tyumen-Baku line connects southern Russia with the “former” Soviet republic of Azerbaijan. Russia’s KGB-communist dictator called the Dagestan bombing a “second terror attempt.” No one aboard the second train was hurt and the locomotive sustained only superficial damage from the blast. After Monday’s attack, the Kremlin-run rail monopoly, Russian Railways, stated: “Traffic on the railway is closed. Employees of Russian Railways, law enforcement bodies, the FSB [Federal Security Service] and emergency services are working at the scene.’”

In a statement posted at the pro-Chechen website Kavkazcenter.com, Russia’s most-wanted rebel Umarov declared: “Today, we carry out sabotage operations on electricity transmission lines, oil-and-gas-wires. Many of the operations are under preparation status. We intend to conduct such diversions in future, which are the just acts of vengeance… These diversions will continue for as long as the [Russian] occupants [occupiers] in the Caucasus will not stop its policy of killing ordinary Muslims purely on religious grounds.” BBC News affirms that “Kavkazcenter.com has carried statements before by North Caucasus groups claiming responsibility for attacks on Russia that have turned out to be correct.”

Chechnya’s rebel president Umarov succeeded Abdul-Khalim Saydullayev in June 2006 after the latter was killed in a police operation. Saydullayev, in turn, succeeded Aslan Maskhadov, who was killed by Russian forces in March 2005. In October 2007 the 45-year-old Umarov was proclaimed emir of the “Caucasus Emirate,” an aspiring Islamic state spanning several internal Russian republics in the North Caucasus. Umarov also served as Chechnya’s security minister during its short-lived independence between 1996 and 1999.

Umarov reportedly commands 1,000 fighters and had led several “high-profile” raids. He is believed to have played a “key role” in organizing an attack in Ingushetia in June 2004, in which several dozen people, including the acting Ingush interior minister were killed. The FSB/KGB accused Umarov of leading the September 2004 school siege in Beslan, North Ossetia, which resulted in more than 300 deaths, including many children. In January 2005 and again in June 2009 Kremlin officialdom pronounced Umarov “dead” after the warlord’s guerrillas clashed with Russian troops.

Incidentally, notes BBC News, the Kremlin’s allegation against Umarov regarding the Beslan tragedy have never been substantiated. This, we might add, is probably because the Soviet strategists perpetrated the act to promote the myth that Russia, like the USA, is a victim of Islamic terrorism. Thus, when one day, in the not-too-distant future, Muslim terrorists (Spetsnaz) detonate a “suitcase nuke” in a US city Moscow will have “plausible deniability.”

>Latin America File: Honduras’ "conservative" president-elect graduate of Patrice Lumumba U., Uruguayans vote for "ex"-Marxist guerrilla "Pepe" Mujica

>With the election of National Party candidate Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo to the Honduran presidency yesterday, the voters of that country have not only (hopefully) ended the five-month political crisis in Tegucigalpa, but also demonstrated their rejection of Manuel Zelaya’s Red Axis-backed attempt to install a leftist dictatorship in that country. Like Panama’s president, Ricardo Martinelli, wealthy cattle rancher Lobo is a US-educated businessman, and thus can be expected to steer Honduras back into the fold of Washington’s few allies in the Western Hemisphere, which also include Mexico, Colombia, and Peru.

There is one anomaly in the career of “conservative” politician Lobo. In addition to obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Miami, he is also a Soviet-era graduate of Patrice Lumumba University, Moscow’s terrorist-indoctrination center (which is still in operation as People’s Friendship University).

Pictured above: President-Elect Lobo talks to reporters in his house in Tegucigalpa, on November 30.

Lobo’s main opponent, Elvin Santos conceded defeat. Santos was backed by the Liberal Party of Honduras. On June 28 the leadership of the Liberal Party deposed colleague Zelaya, another rancher, but one who after his election in 2005 lurched to the political left, embracing Venezuela’s red dictator Hugo Chavez and attaching Honduras to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) in August 2008.

Sunday’s general election also witnessed the election of three vice presidents, 128 Congressional deputies, and 298 mayors. The center-left regimes in Argentina and Brazil, whose embassy in Tegucigalpa continues to shelter Zelaya, and the communist regime in Venezuela have sworn that they will not recognize the election results. “It was a very dangerous signal that ousted President Manuel Zelaya was not allowed to return to his country,” growled Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, president of South America’s largest country. This past Friday the Union of South American Nations, minus Colombia which refused to send its government ministers to a Unasur summit in Quito, resolved as a bloc to boycott the Honduran election. Afterwards, summit host Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa jetted to Brussels where he endeavored to sway European Union leaders against recognition.

Surprisingly, the Obama White House made an about-face and stated that the USA will recognize the new Honduran president, if the voting is “transparent and fair.” Panama and Costa Rica have also pledged to recognize the winner. Costa Rican President Oscar Arias was heavily involved in resolving the dispute between the post-“coup” government of President Roberto Micheletti and the exiled government of Zelaya. Former Congress speaker Micheletti, who stepped down for a week during the election campaign, addressed local radio on Monday, saying: “Yesterday’s ballot was proof Honduran democracy has corrected its path. Each vote confirms we’re a nation that deserves the respect of all on the international stage.”

The Ibero-American summit meeting in Portugal this week is expected to denounce the Honduran election. This international forum includes Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and 19 Latin American states, including mutual antagonists Colombia and Venezuela. Ibero-American Deputy General Secretary Maria Elisa Berenguer declared her support for Red Axis lackey Zelaya: “We will defend the constitutional order in Honduras.” Although Colombian President Alvaro Colom arrived in Estoril to attend the summit, his nemesis Chavez was conspicuously absent. Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, and Cuba’s Raul Castro were also AWOL at the Portuguese seaside resort. Colombia will probably part company with its Ibero-American colleagues in joining the USA in recognizing Lobo as Honduras’ next president. The United Nations and Organization of American States condemned Zelaya’s ouster shortly after it occurred.

For his part, speaking to Telesur the night before the election, Zelaya denounced Sunday’s election as a “fraud” and pledged to fight until “toppling the dictatorship.” Telesur is a regional television network backed by a consortium of leftist regimes, including Cuba and Venezuela. On December 2 the Honduran Congress will decide whether to allow Zelaya to finish his term before Lobo takes over on January 27. Heather Berkman, a political risk analyst at the Eurasia Group in New York, speculated that “Zelaya may turn his focus now to seeking some form of amnesty from charges of treason and violating a Supreme Court order.” In a post-election analysis, Michael Shifter, vice president of the Washington-based think tank Inter-American Dialogue, reflected: “Lobo is going to need a lot of support. No matter how committed and talented he is as a president-elect, he’s going to need the support of sectors in Honduras and of the international community.”

On Saturday Liberal Party candidate Santos vowed to withdraw Honduras from ALBA if he won the presidential poll. At a Saturday press conference in the national capital he stated: “I do not agree that Honduras would continue to be part of that regional group until they know the real benefits it has brought to the country, because it has brought us an enormous problem that currently has divided our people.” According to the Social, External Debt and Development Forum of Honduras, 74 percent of the aid sent to Honduras in 2008 came from Venezuela, the main promoter of ALBA. It is likely that after his installation in January Lobo will terminate Honduras’ involvement in the Havana-Caracas-led bloc of socialist states.

In a related story, Nicaragua and El Salvador closed their customs posts along the borders with Honduras to avoid any possible incidents linked to the Sunday elections. Nicaragua shut down its El Espino, Guasaule, and Las Manos posts on Saturday evening, Honduran police spokesman Orlin Cerrato told media, while El Salvador did the same at noon. Interim President Micheletti responded to the news by blaming Chavez for trying to “apply boycotts to Hondurans right to be free.” Managua and San Salvador promised to open the customs posts again on Monday.

Yesterday, while Hondurans rejected an attempt by the region’s Red Axis to subvert their country, thousands of miles to the south Uruguayans ratified the Communist Bloc’s four-year-old grip on their country. Fifty percent of voting Uruguayans chose Broad Front candidate Senator Jose Mujica as the country’s next president. Mujica, a former member of the urban guerrilla army known as the Tupamaros National Liberation Movement, spent 12 years in solitary confinement during military rule in the 1970s and early 1980s. He twice escaped from prison. Ironically, Mujica’s nickname “Pepe” is the same as Lobo’s. It is expected that the 74-year-old Mujica, now perceived (rightly or wrongly) as a “moderate” leftist, will continue the economic policies of his predecessor, President Tabare Vasquez, Uruguay’s first socialist president.

Mujica and Vazquez are pictured above.

In 2005 the Broad Front, which includes the Communist Party of Uruguay, ended a 150-year power lock in Montevideo by the National and Colorado parties. Mujica founded the Movement of Popular Participation, one of the members in the ruling coalition. Since taking office, Vazquez cut the national unemployment rate to 7.3 percent from 12.3 percent, supported record foreign, including Red Chinese, investment, increased social spending, and boosted wages. Vasquez was constitutionally barred from running for another term. Incidentally, this barrier has not prevented other Red Axis leaders, such as Chavez, Ortega, Correa, and Morales, from each subverting his own country’s constitution to consolidate a communist dictatorship.

The grandfatherly but self-avowed “hot-headed” Mujica is known for his insulting comments about other South American leaders, including Chavez, whom he calls “authoritarian.” We rather suspect that such remarks are disingenuous since many other center-left politicians in the region, like Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo (“The Red Bishop”), distanced themselves from Venezuela’s red tyrant prior to their election, but then appeared in smiling photo ops with Chavez after they were safely elected.

Elsewhere in Latin America the following ex-guerrillas either hold posts as political executives or aspire to such posts, or were closely associated with others who were guerrillas:

1. Cuban President Raul Castro (2008-present) is the de facto leader of the ruling Communist Party of Cuba (CPC). He is a former member of the Soviet-backed 26th of July Movement, which in 1961 merged with the Popular Socialist Party and Revolutionary Directorate March 13th to form the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations. In 1965 the latter became the CPC.

2. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (1979-1990, 2007-present) is the leader of the twice-ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). After seizing power in 1979 the FSLN established the Sandinista Popular Army as Nicaragua’s revolutionary armed forces. In 1995 the EPS was rebranded as the Nicaraguan National Army.

3. Salvadoran Vice President Salvador Sanchez Ceren (2009-present) is the former battlefield commander of the Soviet/Cuban-backed Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), a guerrilla army that turned into a political party in 1992.

4. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (1999-present) founded the subversive Cuban-backed Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 (MBR-200) in 1982, which staged two failed coups d’etat against President Carlos Andres Perez in 1992. The MBR-200 later became a political party called the Fifth Republic Movement, which in 2007 merged into the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela.

5. Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera (2006-present) is currently a member of President Evo Morales’ ruling Movement toward Socialism, but he is a former ideologist of the Cuban-backed Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army, which was organized by infamous revolutionary Che Guevara in the 1960s.

6. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet (2006-present) is a long-time member of the Socialist Party of Chile, the party of Soviet/Cuban-backed predecessor Salvador Allende. Between 1985 and 1987 Bachelet had a romantic relationship with Alex Vojkovic Trier, spokesman for the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front, the armed wing of the Communist Party of Chile.

7. Brazilian politician Dilma Rousseff, President Lula’s chief of staff and chairwoman of Petrobras’ board of directors, aspires to the presidency of that country in 2010. Although currently a member of the ruling Workers’ Party and previously the Democratic Labor Party, Rousseff began her political career in the urban guerrilla organizations known as the National Liberation Command and VAR Palmares.

Iranian Dictator Conducts Whirlwind Tour of Brazil, Bolivia, and Venezuela, “Comrade” Mahmoud Joins Chavez in Denouncing “Imperialism”

Into this subversive network of resuscitated Latin American communism steps the Islamo-Nazi dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, who on November 26 completed a three-nation tour of the Western Hemisphere that included Brazil, Bolivia, and Venezuela. In Brazil Ahmadinejad secured Lula’s support for Iran’s controversial nuclear program, while in Bolivia he signed two memoranda of understanding with Morales. In Caracas Iran’s wanna-be Mahdi linked arms with Chavez and, sounding like a true communist, denounced “imperialism”: “Today the people of Venezuela and Iran, friends and brothers in the trench warfare against imperialism, are resisting. They will stand together until the end.” In Spanish Ahmadinejad shouted: “Viva Venezuela! Viva Chavez!”

Sizing up the meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Chavez referred to his unannounced trip to Havana early last week, several days before Cuba’s Bastion 2009 military drill. There he met for seven hours with ailing former president Fidel Castro. Chavez related Fidel’s greeting to “Comrade” Mahmoud: “Fidel told me: ‘Tell Ahmadinejad that reaching Venezuela is like reaching Cuba, because it’s the same homeland. So I’m also welcoming you to Cuba, brother.’” Venezuela’s opposition protested Ahmadinejad’s arrival. “Venezuela’s democrats repudiate the visit of the undesirable Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Venezuela,” Table of Unity opposition group declared, adding: “Ahmadinejad’s alliance with Chavez is dangerous.” A statement from Venezuela’s Jewish community stated: “Ahmadinejad is an ominous character who could produce greater misery for mankind.”

By the way, Comrade Fidel’s comment about Cuba and Venezuela being the “same homeland” is not too far from the truth. In 2007 Chavez and the Castro Bros. batted about the idea of uniting the two communist states into one federation. This Leninist vision may yet come to pass.

>Red Terror File: St. Petersburg governor: Kremlin’s top banker killed in Nevsky Express bombing

>On Saturday Interfax reported that several high-ranking Russian officials were killed in the Nevsky Express bombing, including the Kremlin’s top banker:

St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko officially confirmed that Sergei Tarasov, the board chairman of the Russian Federal Road Agency (Rosavtodor) and a former Federation Council member representing St. Petersburg, and Russian Federal Reserve Agency (Rosreserve) chief Boris Yevstratikov were killed in the crash of the Nevsky Express train on the evening of November 27.

“Sergei Borisovich [Tarasov] was killed on the spot, and his body was found later. In addition, the death of Rosreserve chief Boris Yevstratikov has also been confirmed,” Matviyenko told journalists. Matviyenko expressed her condolences to Tarasov’s and Yevstratikov’s relatives and beloved ones. “This is our common pain and common loss,” she said.

Assuming Yevstratikov was targeted for liquidation, it may be that the Soviet strategists are preparing for “changes” in the international markets, like the demise of the US dollar.

>Red Terror File: Russian FSB/KGB: Bomb blast derailed Nevsky Express en route to St. Petersburg from Moscow on Friday night, 26 killed

>After at least two years of relative calm in the Russian heartland, “terrorists” have once again struck the country’s infrastructure. On Friday night an apparent explosion derailed the Nevsky Express, en route to St. Petersburg from Moscow, near the town of Bologoye on the border between the Tver and Novgorod regions. At least 26 passengers were killed and 100 more injured. In August 2007 an explosion derailed the same express train on the same railroad line, injuring 60 people.

Russian officialdom once again suspects terrorism. Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB) chief Alexander Bortnikov stated that a terrorism probe has been launched. “Indeed, this was a terrorist attack,” confirmed Vladimir Markin, a spokesentity for the investigative committee of Russia’s General Prosecutor’s Office. The home-made bomb gouged a five-foot crater and scattered smoking wreckage over a stretch of rural track.

A second, weaker bomb blew up at 2 p.m. local time on Saturday, but nobody was injured, according to Russian Railways chief Vladimir Yakunin. The Kremlin’s civil defense “czar” Sergei Shoigu–who lately visited Serbia, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to set up emergency situations centers for Moscow’s allies–indicated that “Rescuers were concluding work at the site.” The health minister reported that the 18 passengers listed as missing after the incident had not been located in the three cars that went off the tracks.

“The disaster has fueled fears of a rise in terrorist attacks outside Russia’s volatile North Caucasus region,” Xinhua continues at the last link, adding: “Russia was hit hard by terrorism in the 1990s and the early years of this decade, but there had been no major incident outside the North Caucasus region since 2004.” That being so, perhaps with the latest act of FSB/KGB-contrived terrorism in Russia the Soviet strategists are ramping up for significant “changes” or “movements” on the domestic and international fronts.

In his 2002 book Blowing Up Russia former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko contended that the 1999 apartment bombings that propelled career Chekist Vladimir Putin to power were contrived by Moscow’s secret services. Litvinenko died of radioactive poisoning in London in November 2006. Before he died he dictated a final statement accusing then President Putin of ordering his murder. British authorities consider State Duma deputy and former FSB agent Andrei Lugovoi the main suspect in this unsolved case.

>Latin America File: Chavez pays unofficial visit to Cuba on eve of Bastion 2009 drill, Ecuador buys PRC warplanes, Colombian FM, DM shun Unasur summit

>Unasur Denounces Sunday’s Elections in Honduras, Seeks to Sway EU as Unknown Group Uses Russian-Built RPG to Attack Supreme Court Building

On Tuesday, two days before Havana’s three-day Bastion 2009 “strategic maneuver” was scheduled to begin, Venezuela’s red dictator Hugo Chavez wrapped up an unofficial visit to Cuba. During his island getaway, Chavez met both Castro Bros., Fidel and Raul. The Cuban News Agency reports that Comrades Hugo and Raul discussed “the current state of cooperation ties between Havana and Caracas,” in accordance with “the excellent state of bilateral relations between the peoples and governments of the two countries.” No doubt, too, the two paranoid communist dictators shared their delusional fantasies about an “imperialist” invasion from that “criminal” bastion of “fascism,” the USA.

Bastion 2009, which began on Thursday, follows four identically named but sporadically implemented exercises spanning the last three decades. The first three Bastion drills took place in 1980, 1983, and 1986. Following the “end” of the Cold War and an 18-year hiatus, the Cuban military and civilians once again repulsed a mock US invasion in 2004. Originally slated for November 2008, the last Bastion drill was postponed due the damage wreaked by Hurricanes Ike and Gustav. Bastion 2009 involves 45,000 active-duty soldiers, 55,000 reservists, as well as civil defense and emergency responders. The war game is pictured above in a photo taken from Cuba’s Prensa Latina website.

On November 24 Radio Rebelde announced that the simulated attack against Cuba was aimed at “confronting a possible aggression by North American imperialism.” Ignoring US President Barack Hussein Obama’s olive-branch overtures to the island’s ruthless communist dictatorship, the state-run media outlet rumbled: “The current political-military situation that characterizes the confrontation between Cuba and the U.S. government has made these strategic exercises a necessity of the first order.”

On November 26 Cuban television showed images of tanks blasting their guns, artillery batteries firing away, camouflaged troops digging trenches and shooting bazookas, attack helicopters and fighter jets soaring through the sky, and rescue teams aiding wounded combatants. It was unclear if the images came from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba’s current maneuvers or from file footage of previous activities. However, on Thursday tanks and anti-aircraft guns were spotted on trains near Havana being prepared for transport to an unknown destination. In the evening news broadcast, President Castro urged Cubans to resist the US invaders: “The objective is to never surrender, to never stop fighting. Fight and fight until we exhaust the enemy and defeat it.”

Military analyst Hal Klepak, who teaches at the Royal Military College of Canada, downplays the level of confrontation between Havana and Washington DC: “I don’t think it is so much that they expect an invasion or anything like it. I think what they worry about is disorder in Cuba of any kind that would lead to blood in the streets.” No doubt Bastion 2009 will help the Communist Party of Cuba “deal with” both scenarios.

During Tuesday meeting, Chavez and the younger Castro also discussed the upcoming summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), scheduled to occur in December in the Cuban capital. Not so coincidentally, next month Russian warships are slated to put in an appearance in Havana Bay for the second time since the Cold War. In November 2008 President Dmitry Medvedev, while attending the sidelines of an ALBA summit in Caracas, first articulated the Kremlin’s interest in linking up with Latin America’s Red Axis.

Chavez’s unannounced trip to Havana also comes in the midst of a Venezuelan troop build-up along Colombia’s northeastern border. South America’s red tyrant claims that the planned deployment of 800 US counter-narcotics troops in Colombia is a threat to regional stability. Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator and stalwart Chavez ally Daniel Ortega agrees. On November 9, according to Colombia Reports, he urged “Latin American peoples” to unite against the implementation of the new US-Colombian military pact. Ortega ranted: “We must make disappear once and for all . . . the military bases that threaten the sovereignty, integrity and peace of our people. The military bases are symbols of war. Colombia is a traitor for allowing the US to use its territory for military purposes.”

In a tit-for-tat response to Bogota’s recent complaint to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) regarding Chavez’s warmongering, Venezuela has lodged a counter-complaint. Venezuela’s UN representative Jorge Valero told the AFP news agency: “This is a serious problem threatening continental peace and security, not just a problem between Venezuela, Colombia and the United States.” Valero delivered a letter to the Austrian presidency of the UNSC, demanding inclusion of the Colombian situation in the agenda of Security Council. The USA wields veto power in the Security Council.

Ecuador’s socialist president Rafael Correa, another stalwart Chavez ally, also appears to be ramping up for war against Bogota by bolstering troop strength along Colombia’s southwestern border. In support of these activities, as we have previously posted, the Ecuadorean Air Force is upgrading its combat aircraft. In addition to the six French-built Mirage 50 fighter jets that Chavez recently donated to Ecuador, Correa has obtained a US$438 million credit from the People’s Republic of China to purchase four warplanes from Beijing. On November 24 Jia Qinglin, chair of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, met with Correa in Quito as part of a multinational tour to secure Latin American clients for Red China’s “socialist market economy.”

With Ortega’s rant in mind, there are only two methods, of course, that the regional Red Axis can use to force the abrogation of the US-Colombian pact: diplomatic and economic sanctions, or military intervention. At Friday’s Union of South American Nations (Unasur) summit in Quito, however, the Colombian ministerial delegation, reports Bloomberg, was a “no-show.” Defense Minister Gabriel Silva and Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez were replaced by a technical team at the conclave, which otherwise brought together the defense and foreign ministers of the 12-nation European Union-style federation. Referring to Chavez’s near-declaration of war last week, Silva, speaking with Bogota-based Caracol Radio, rumbled: “The No. 1 obligation of a defense minister is to avoid war at all costs. The second obligation of a defense minister is, if someone makes war on Colombia, to confront it and win it.”

During the same radio interview Silva revealed that three National Liberation Army (ELN) commanders and at least one commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were “currently conducting activities and seeking refuge in the Venezuelan jungle.” For the most part, the Colombian government’s Washington-financed counter-insurgency measures appear to have yielded strategic dividends in the last 10 years. In 2002, Silva explained, there were an estimated 30,000 FARC guerrillas, whereas in 2009 the numbers appear to be less than 10,000. Moreover, the FARC’s control centers are now outside Colombia which, we might add, presents a whole new set of problems.

Silva then related that the policy of the government of President Alvaro Uribe was to not carry out a military operation similar to the one that killed FARC commander Raul Reyes in Ecuador in March 2008. “We are not planning any operation outside of Colombian territory,” Silva assured. Instead, President Uribe has ordered that “All necessary allegations be raised at international level in order to deal with any future cases regarding guerrilla activities in Colombia’s neighbouring countries.” It appears, therefore, that Bogota is not only seeking the moral high ground in its war of words with Caracas, but also possibly buying time to improve its own military capabilities.

Finally, during yesterday’s summit in Quito, the Unasur states decided as a bloc to boycott Sunday’s election in Honduras, demanding as they have since June 28 the restoration of wealthy rancher-turned-socialist Manuel Zelaya to the presidency. Unasur, minus Colombia, is also calling on the EU to reject the Honduran poll. “The Unasur decision has already been taken: we are not going to recognize elections held under the de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti,” vowed President Correa, who is presently visiting Belgium. He added: “I hope the European Union adopts a similar attitude to Unasur.” Siding with the lawful government of President Roberto Micheletti, Bogota ordered its ambassador to return to Honduras on November 9.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Obama White House, which until now backed Zelaya’s reinstallation, has promised to recognize the election results, whether they include Zelaya in a national unity government or not. Three of Honduras’ non-communist neighbors in Latin America, Peru, Costa Rica and Panama, have also pledged to recognize the outcome.

Zelaya, who is still holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa after more than two months, remains adamant against any political solution that does include his participation as chief executive. “The United States is not just supporting the elections but it is supporting the de facto regime, it is supporting the dictatorship, it is supporting the coup-perpetrating regime,” Zelaya spluttered in a telephone interview published Thursday by the Brazilian website UOL.

The favourite presidential candidate in tomorrow’s election is wealthy farmer Porfirio Lobo from the National Party, with Elvin Santos from the Liberal Party considered his nearest rival. Lobo urged Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to view a new Honduran president-elect as legitimate even though Sunday’s vote follows what most of the world considers to be a military-backed coup d’etat. “We will be knocking at president Lula’s door and everyone else’s to reestablish channels of friendship with all nations,” Lobo told foreign reporters on Friday.

This past Wednesday the election campaign in Honduras was marked by several violent incidents, including the use of a Russian-built rocket-propelled grenade launcher to attack the country’s Supreme Court building. The structure sustained minor damage. Not uncoincidentally, Honduras’ top judges supported the ouster of Zelaya on June 28. An explosion also took place at the Channel 10 television station’s offices in Tegucigalpa, shattering some second-storey windows. The day before, police seized a rifle with a telescopic sight, an AK-47 assault rifle, computers, and radios in northern Honduras. Police spokesman Orlin Cerrato asserted that some groups planned to damage the La Democracia bridge, which links the city of El Progreso with La Lima and San Pedro Sula.

Although the identity of the groups was not revealed, it is very possible that the National Front against the Coup D’Etat was responsible for the incidents. Intriguingly, this organization maintains an address in Belgium where Jesuit priest/sociologist Francois Houtart, a prime mover behind the leftist World Social Forums, is listed as a contact.