>Asia File: Thai army thwarts communist coup, launches final crackdown on “Red Shirt” protests in Bangkok; heavily armed militants counter-attack

>– North American Media Oblivious to Communist Orchestration behind Thailand’s “Red Shirt” Anti-Government Protests

– Thaksin Shinawatra Urges Uprising from Exile; Former PM’s Inner Circle Dominated by “Ex”-Maoists Indoctrinated in Vietnam in 1970s

– Thaksin Close Friend of Cambodia’s “Ex”-Khmer Rouge PM, Warns Red Shirt Uprising Could Develop into Guerrilla Warfare

– “Thousands” of Red Shirt Protesters Respond to Bangkok Crackdown by Attacking City Halls in Three Provincial Capitals

The people who are the real planners, not the people up on stage making protest speeches, these people probably keep a very low profile, but they must calculate that aggression is vital. Aggression paralyzes and divides opponents.

This is what we were taught [in Hanoi]. This is how a smaller force can defeat overwhelming power. The message was: divide and conquer.

The tactic is to keep saying that you are a peace-loving people.

The red shirt people have been told over and over that greedy people in authority have denied them justice and their fair share. They have been pumped full of toy-town leftism and told to hate every institution that has held this country together.

Many of them are now absolutely convinced that Thaksin was the best leader in Thai history, that he was a kind and generous man who holds the solution to all their problems. They don’t need a program – they just need a new Thai state with Thaksin in charge. It has become very emotional – as it was designed to be.

Old communists know that when it comes to revolution, ignorance is much more powerful than knowledge.

– Chaidee Therdpoum, Red Shirt sympathizer, “former” cadre of “defunct” Communist Party of Thailand; quoted by Asia Times, May 13, 2010

On Wednesday the Royal Thai Army moved into central Bangkok to finally crush a two-month street protest carried out by the “Red Shirts,” a “populist” uprising orchestrated by supporters of exiled prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose political career is guided by “ex”-cadres of the Communist Party of Thailand. Five people, including an Italian news photographer, were killed and 52 injured in the final onslaught by government troops. Amazingly, the carnage from today’s street battles was not greater.

“A crackdown on antigovernment protesters launched by the Thai military on Wednesday,” reports the New York Times, “degenerated into riots, firebombing attacks, looting and street battles after militants allied with the protest movement resisted the army’s onslaught with grenades and assault weapons.” The newspaper continues: “As they retreated, protesters set fire to the country’s stock exchange and a number of buildings including a major shopping mall, two banks, a movie theater and a television station.” The shopping mall that the Red Shirts torched was Central World Plaza, one of the largest department stores in Southeast Asia (pictured above).

“We cannot resist against these savages anymore,” Jatuporn Prompan, one Red Shirt leader was quoted as saying, referring to the regular soldiers, before turning himself in. Another protest leader, Weng Tojirakarn, a medical doctor and “former” communist activist, was interviewed. “I have no gun,” he told a reporter, adding: “I can’t do anything.”

Infantry accompanied the armored vehicles that rolled into the protest zone, taking control of major streets and occupying Bangkok’s Lumpini Park. Soldiers assaulting an upscale neighbourhood–home to many corporate headquarters, high-end shopping malls, luxury hotels, and high-rise apartment buildings–were repelled by black-clad gunmen armed with M-16 assault rifles and grenade launchers.

Panitan Wattanayagorn, a government spokesman, announced that the “first phase” of the counter-insurgency operation was “successful.” “We are going to focus on setting a perimeter,” Panitan explained in a televised speech on Wednesday morning, adding: “We would like to reassure the citizens, the residents of Bangkok, that the operations are designed to make sure we stabilize the area.”

Thai news outlets reported that one of the more militant protest leaders, Arisman Pongruengrong, who is also a popular singer, fled the protest zone in a disguise. At noon seven Red Shirt leaders surrendered to government forces. Just before turning himself in, one of the protest leaders, Nattawut Saikua, shouted to supporters: “If the prime minister wants to govern the country on the top of this wreckage, he should go ahead and kill us all. But if he wants to do the right thing, he should stop the shooting immediately.”

News of the crackdown in Bangkok provoked Red Shirts to action in at least three northeastern provinces, the populous rice-growing region that gave birth to the movement. Thai media reported that thousands of protesters attacked the city halls in three provincial capitals.

Speaking to the Reuters news agency by telephone from an undisclosed location outside Thailand, exiled PM Thaksin, in a rather self-serving manner, predicted the violence could spread. “There is a theory saying a military crackdown can spread resentment and these resentful people will become guerrillas,” he rumbled.

Last November Thaksin flew to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, where he met with Prime Minister Hun Sen, a close friend and political ally who began his own political career with the genocidal Khmer Rouge. Cambodia’s “ex”-communist government has retained Thaksin as an economic advisor. Three days ago the Cambodians urged the disputing parties in Thailand “to resume peaceful talks in order to achieve a political settlement to the current stand-off and restore peace and normalcy to the Thai people, thus stability in the region.”

Red Strategy and Tactics for Thailand’s Red Shirts

Writing for Asia Times on May 13, journalist William Barnes contends that “Maoist revolutionary thought and guerrilla tactics” inform the objectives and actions of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), otherwise known as the “Red Shirt” movement. The UDD, explains Barnes, has deceptively portrayed itself as a non-violent, pro-democracy movement, “a line many international media outlets have perpetuated.” Furthermore, the Red Shirts have “occupied a large swathe of Bangkok’s luxury shopping and hotel district for more than six weeks, paralyzing the symbolic heart of the country’s capitalist economy.”

To substantiate his thesis, Barnes quotes Therdpoum Chaidee, a “former” communist, Red Shirt ideologist, and former member of parliament for Thaksin’s original party, Thai Rak Thai, now banned. Therdpoum asserts that UDD strategy “necessarily requires violence, or at least the threat of violence, to divide and immobilize” the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. The governing coalition, Therdpoum complains, represents the Thai establishment, consisting of monarchists, businessmen, and military brass.

“The revolution walks on two legs. One political leg and one army leg. Violence is the essential ingredient in the mix. That is what we were taught,” pontificates Therdpoum, alluding to his three months in Communist Vietnam more than 30 years ago.

Therdpoum was a hotel union organizer who fled to the communist underground in 1975 to oppose the monarchist government of the day. “Many hundreds of the country’s most energetic students and intellectuals did the same,” relates Barnes and then describes Therdpoum’s political career as follows:

His five-year odyssey with the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) included a three-month period in Hanoi in the heady period following the unification of Vietnam under communist rule. There, Therdpoum and a handful of hand-picked Thai activists, like prominent student leader Seksan Prasertkun, as well as current UDD leaders Weng Tochirakan and Jaran Dittapichai, were drilled in Maoist revolutionary theory.

The five tactics they learned for unseating a government included: divide your enemies; form a united front; use provocative violence; secure the loyalty of people inside the ruling regime; and, finally, win over the army.

“That is what we have seen. The government people have been quarrelling about what to do. Some senior figures have a divided loyalty. The army and the police cannot move. Provocative violence has been very successful,” gushed Therdpoum, referring to the UDD’s campaign to topple the Abhisit government.

Some of the former communists who took up arms and fled into the jungle in the 1970s and 1980s eventually entered Thaksin’s inner circle between 2001 and 2006, when the billionaire was prime minister. These include Prommin Lertsuridej, Phumtham Wechayachai, Sutham Saengprathum, Phinit Jarusombat, Adisorn Piangket, and Kriangkamon Laohapairot. Since then, the UDD has rallied around its “patron,” who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and later fled Thailand to avoid a two-year jail sentence related to a corruption conviction. “Thaksin,” reports Barnes, “has since cajoled UDD supporters to rise up and topple the government through various video-linked phone-in addresses.”

UDD organizer Jaran Dittapichai told Barnes that Red Shirt leaders have adopted “Mao Zedong’s method of thinking” and some of his techniques, including the establishment of a united front. In the same breath, Dittapichai insists that he has abandoned communism even though he espouses its objectives, tactics, and rhetoric: “I was a communist and several UDD leaders were former communists . . . but the red shirt people don’t like communism or socialism. We use his principles to build up our front and to work with people who are not red shirts, but who are fighting for democracy like us.”

Beginning in mid-March, Red Shirt leaders moved their rent-a-mob into the streets of Bangkok. There they demanded the dissolution of parliament and new elections that they hoped would be won by the newest political vehicle for Thaksin’s restoration, the Puea Thai Party.

“Tensions spiked violently on April 10,” relates Barnes, “when a routine crowd clearance operation turned into a nightmare of bloodshed.” He continues: “Mysterious commandos, clad in black and circulating freely through the red shirt protesters, used M79 grenades to attack tactical army commanders, killing a highly respected colonel and maiming others.” In the melee that followed, 25 protesters and solders were killed and over 800 people injured. Coincident with the UDD’s protest has been a series of anonymous grenade attacks, with over 50 incidents in Bangkok and at least 30 more across the country since mid-March.

According to Therdpoum, the Red Shirt movement consists of “many passive supporters, many active ones and, now, a hand-picked core of ‘professional revolutionaries’ chosen for their loyalty and street smarts.” He then partly lifts the veil from the movement’s revolutionary strategy: “Behind them are many ‘deep secrets and hidden messages’ that are revealed to only a privileged few in the movement, while an even smaller number know the entire strategy.” Therdpoum gloated: “Old communists know that when it comes to revolution, ignorance is much more powerful than knowledge.”

Therdpoum admits to Barnes that the black-clad commandos constitute the UDD’s “shadowy armed wing” but feigns ignorance with respect to their true identity: “Whether the UDD’s shadowy armed wing consists of mafia thugs, unemployed irregulars or disaffected regular soldiers, they must be capable of ruthless and focused violence.”

Therdpoum, Barnes writes, believes that the UDD’s left wing is using Thaksin in a marriage of political convenience and intends to “dump his personal agenda in favor of the establishment of a more socialist society.” Indeed, as past revolutionary seizures attest, like the fall of Czechoslovakia to communism in 1948, communists will not hesitate to establish political alliances with non-communists, according to the united front principle, to springboard into total power.

Since the 1970s Thailand has been surrounded by Communist Bloc states, including Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, not to mention Burma/Myanmar. Now the pro-Western regime in Bangkok faces a powerful internal enemy consisting of “ex”-cadres of the Communist Party of Thailand financed by billionaire businessman-turned-socialist Thaksin Shinawatra.

>Middle East File: Marxist secessionists ambush Yemeni deputy PM, kill two security escorts in S. province; Saleh regime cracks down on opposition

>Last weekend gunmen associated with Yemen’s secessionist Southern Movement ambushed the convoy of Rashad al-Alami, Deputy Prime Minister for Defence and Security. The deputy PM survived, but two of his security escorts were killed, the Yemeni Interior Ministry informed Red China’s Xinhua news agency. Pictured above: On May 15 Yemeni soldiers provide security for President Ali Abdullah Saleh along the road to Zinjibar, in the southern part of this Arabian country.

According to the Yemeni government, the shoot out took place last Saturday in the town of al-Habilain, in the southern province of Lahj, as the convoy traveled from Aden to Sanaa, the national capital. When Aden was the capital of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, the port city hosted a Soviet naval base.

Northern and southern Yemen were unified 20 years ago according to a deal between President Saleh’s General People’s Congress and the Moscow-backed Yemeni Socialist Party. However, the deal fell apart, leading in 1994 to a brief civil war that the “ex”-communists lost. Since 2007 Yemen’s “former” Marxists have ramped up their agitation for “disengagement” from the north and restoration of the southern state. The old PDRY flag has become a banner around which Yemen’s “ex”-communists are rallying, while Aden’s oil refinery offers the prospect of economic self-sufficiency.

On April 28 Yemeni security forces dispersed a joint demonstration by the country’s opposition parties in Lahj. Abdullah Bamatraf, executive director of the Islah Party in Lahj, told News Yemen that Saleh’s henchmen tried to storm the party’s office in al-Huta. Under the umbrella of the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), the Islah Party, Yemeni Socialist Party, Nasserite Unionist People’s Organization, Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and Al-Haq Party have organized demonstrations in both the northern and southern provinces. There the JMP has railed against Saleh’s “failed policies that have led to a horrible economic crisis in the country.”

In 2008 Moscow again expressed an interest in reactivating its naval base in Yemen, dispatching Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov to hold talks with Saleh’s government. Saleh is not a communist, but he is a reliable Soviet ally who continues to buy Russian-built military hardware.

In February the Saleh regime negotiated a peaceful end to the six-year, Iran-backed Shia Muslim insurgency in northern Yemen, a conflict that provoked a military response from Saudi Arabia against the rebels. Yemen is the ancestral home of Soviet/Russian terrorist proxy Osama bin Laden who, almost nine years after the 911 terrorist attacks, is still hiding out somewhere in Iran or along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

>Latin America File: Nicaraguan opposition calls for “general rebellion” against Ortega; Cuban state media defends Sandinistas, denounces Aleman

>Nicaragua’s fragile, 20-year-old democracy is tanking under the leadership of Daniel Ortega, a slavish KGB asset who returned from political oblivion in 2006 to again masquerade as the country’s president. Opposition leaders are calling for “civil disobedience” and “general rebellion” against the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). This follows the latest rulings by the Supreme Court, which is controlled by judges who sympathize with President Ortega, two of whom refuse to hand in their gavels after their terms expired on April 11.

Pictured above: On May 13 Ortega hosted deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in Managua, where they promoted a new plan to end Zelaya’s exile and reintegrate Honduras into the Organization of American States. Afterward, Zelaya flew to Havana where he consulted with Cuban dictator Raul Castro. Last summer, after his ouster in Tegucigalpa, the Nicaraguan capital served as a base of operations for Zelaya. In March Hugo Chavez appointed Zelaya head of Petrocaribe’s Political Council.

On May 12 the Supreme Court nullified an April 20 congressional session held inside the Holiday Inn in Managua–while Sandinista thugs fired mortars at the hotel–and revoked the legal immunity enjoyed by seven opposition lawmakers who sit on the National Assembly’s Judicial Affairs Commission. The opposition responded by condemning the Supreme Court’s decision as another “illegal barbarity” and “shameful disrespect for the constitution.”

During the extraordinary session, the National Assembly deputies, who achieved quorum without their FSLN colleagues being present, introduced a bill to the commission to overturn Ortega’s January 9 executive order that extended the terms of 25 top judicial and executive officials. The Sandinista judges had passed a separate resolution earlier in April forbidding the National Assembly from overturning Ortega’s decree. The opposition, however, argues the court has no legal right to forbid the assembly from passing laws and, thus, went ahead and presented the bill.

From the perspective of José Pallaís, president of the Judicial Affairs Commission and a member of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC), everything that the Sandinistas are doing is flagrantly illegal. “There is no rule of law here anymore! Everything has become absurd and totally contrary to the law! The only thing left is the right to rebellion!” Pallaís declared to the Costa Rica-based Nica Times last Wednesday.

Meanwhile, unrest has returned to the streets of the capital and to the campus of the National Autonomous University of Managua (UNAN), which masked “students” have occupied for the past week. On May 11 what appeared to be two rival factions of the Sandinista Youth clashed on the streets outside the university with rocks, home-made mortars, and pistols. Several students were injured during the fighting, including one who was pistol-whipped by another student. The latter, in turn, was captured by TV cameras pointing his gun in the faces of other students. As usual, the National Police did nothing to intervene, claiming that the university’s autonomy prevents them from acting.

Lately, the US embassy in Managua has issued at least two alerts to its citizens to stay clear of the district around UNAN, to “maintain a high level of security awareness, and to avoid large crowds due to the potential for violence.”

Last Thursday National Assembly secretary Wilfredo Navarro boldly declared: “We are ready to become the first political prisoners of the second Ortega dictatorship. They are going to have to put us in jail or kill us, because that’s all that’s left for them to do. Ortega keeps saying this is not a dictatorship because there are no political prisoners. So it would be an honor to be the first.”

In response to Sandinista Supreme Court judge Francisco Rosales, who described the opposition’s Holiday Inn session as a “flagrant crime,” Navarro protested: “This is an outrage. The clause about flagrant crimes no longer exists in the constitution.” According to Navarro, Rosales appears to be referring to the old constitution that existed during the first Sandinista regime in the 1980s. That constitution was amended in 1995 so that a legislator’s immunity can be lifted only by the National Assembly itself.

Although Ortega has yet to formally announce his candidacy in the 2011 presidential election, La Voz del Sandinismo is already peddling public opinion figures that supposedly show substantial support for Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator. According to the official organ of the FLSN, citing a New Century poll from May 8, 44 percent of respondents would vote for “El Comandante” or another FLSN candidate, even though only 38 percent of the electorate chose Ortega in 2006. New Century also polled the army and the police. Nearly 65 percent of soldiers held a “very favourable” or “favourable” opinion of the Sandinistas, while 61 percent of police held the same views.

The Cuban state media is making no secret about its support for the Sandinistas. In an editorial at Prensa Latina, propagandist Alfredo Pierrat defends the Nicaraguan Supreme Court’s unconstitutional machinations, accuses the PLC of “paralyzing” the government’s business and of refusing to accept “political alternation,” and charges former President Arnoldo (“Fasto”) Aleman, who was once allied with Ortega in “El Pacto,” and the Roman Catholic Church of fomenting political chaos to oust the FSLN.

Will Vice President Jaime Morales Carazo, a former Contra, join Pallaís and Navarro in the rebellion?

Will Ortega cling to power by attributing provocations to the opposition, declaring a state of emergency, and trying to illegally run in next year’s election?

Will Hugo Chavez, obediently following orders from his masters in Moscow, funnel more petro-bucks into Nicaragua, via ALBA front companies, to prop up beleaguered ally Ortega?

Will the Russians offer verbal or more substantial support to Ortega who, along with Venezuela and Nauru, has recognized the independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia?

One thing is sure: As long as the Sandinistas control Nicaragua, this country serves as an important beachhead for Soviet subversion and war preps in Central America. Russia’s KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin has a strategic interest in keeping Ortega in power.

>End Times File: Turkey installs anti-aircraft batteries near southern border to deter US, Israeli attack against Iran, Syria; Magog’s Cossack troops

>According to a Turkish newspaper, Ankara, which hosted Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier this week, has installed Hawk anti-aircraft batteries in Kayeel, a village close to the Syrian border, with the intent of deterring the US and Israeli air forces from violating Turkish airspace in case Jerusalem decides to attack Iran or Syria. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Turkish military official stated that the batteries will protect NATO state Turkey and its airspace against any such incursions.

Prior to meeting with the Turkish president and prime minister, Medvedev also flew to Damascus where he conferred with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Hamas’ exiled political leader Khaled Mashaal. This is the first time any incumbent Soviet/Russian leader has ever travelled to Syria, demonstrating the strategic premium Moscow places on its relationship with the terrorist state of Syria. Hamas leaders were invited to Moscow in 2006.

The Israeli media also reports that Russia may help its long-time proxy state build a nuclear reactor. This possibility prompted the US State Department to remind both countries of their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. In September 2007 the Israeli Air Force bombed a site in eastern Syria, which Washington later claimed was an installation tasked with assembling an atomic bomb with material aid from North Korea.

Although independent confirmation has yet to emerge, according to the BeforeItsNews blog, during their Damascus tete-a-tete, Medvedev warned Assad that Russia and the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have given Israel a “green light” to use nuclear weapons in any future war with Syria.

The Russian President made it clear for Bashar Assad that Russia had given Israel a green light to do so if Israel will refrain from risking the Middle East oil fields. Moreover, Russian President Medvedev made it clear that currently there is a silent agreement between the major powers, Russia, USA, France, Britain and Germany, and Israel, that in a Total war, Israel will get all the breathing space it will need to Overpower the Arab world.

We find this report, which portrays Israel as aggressor, somewhat unlikely in view of the well-established strategic partnership between Moscow and Damascus and the Russian Navy’s renewed presence at Tartus. On the other hand, the Soviet strategists at some point may goad Israel into attacking Syria and Iran in order to justify a punishing counter-attack. If this scenario plays out, then the world is on the verge of witnessing the fulfilment of Ezekiel’s Magog and Isaiah’s “destruction of Damascus” prophecies.

Along this theme, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking to soldiers during a tour of the Israeli Defense Forces’ Northern Command this past Tuesday, asserted that Iran is trying to provoke war between Israel and Syria. “We want security, stability and peace,” Netanyahu stressed. “Israel has no intention of attacking its neighbors, contrary to false rumors which have been spread on the subject.” With respect to Medvedev’s overtures to enhance Moscow’s peace-making profile in the Middle East, the Israeli leader commented: “Israel will give its blessing to any contribution to advance peace, as well as any practical steps taken by our neighbors, including Syria, that lead to calm in the region and the start of a peace process.”

Certainly, the new defence pact between Iran and Syria, the new partnership between Syria and Turkey, which has included joint military drills, and Turkey’s post-Cold War alliance with Russia demonstrate–as Christians would acknowledge–that Bible prophecy is unerringly accurate. The Hebrew prophet Ezekiel describes a vast military coalition that will invade Israel in the end times, after the return of the Jews to their homeland (chapters 38 and 39). In this prophecy Russia is referred to as Magog, Turkey is Togarmah, and Iran is Persia, a name used until as recently as the early 20th century. Libya is also involved under its ancient name.

Significantly, Ezekiel does not mention Syria, but this could be that Damascus, the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city, has already been turned into a “glass parking lot” by an Israeli nuke, per Isaiah’s prophecy (chapter 17). By considering all of the relevant Bible verses, it appears that this attempt to annihilate the Jewish state will take place during the early days of the seven-year tribulation period.

The Palestinian Arabs appear in end-times Bible prophecy, too, under the guise of the Philistines, Israel’s ancient enemies. Indeed, the official name of the Palestinian National Authority is As-Sulta Al-Wataniyya Al-Filastīniyya. Gaza is mentioned by name in both Amos 1 and Zephaniah 2.

Incidentally, Christians who disbelieve in a literal, future fulfilment of the Magog invasion of Israel due to the listing of ancient weaponry in the prophecy—shields, bows, arrows, and spears—should consider the fact that in 2005 KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin integrated the horse-mounted, sword-wielding Cossacks into Russia’s military (pictured above). Standard histories of the Cossacks reveal that these proud Russian warrior clans use all of the weapons listed by Ezekiel. Furthermore, since the collapse of the Soviet Union the Cossacks have fought side by side with the Russian Armed Forces in Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Chechnya, and Kosovo.

In any case, the Holy Spirit gave the Magog revelation to Ezekiel in terms that he understood as a man living in the sixth century BC. Obviously, God’s prophet possessed no personal acquaintance with modern weapons such as ballistic missiles, jet fighters, and tanks. Actually, there’s nothing in Ezekiel’s Magog prophecy that absolutely excludes the use of modern warfare in the Magog invasion of Israel.

Israel’s close relationship with Georgia prior to the Russian re-invasion/re-occupation in August 2008 was in large part spurred by Jerusalem’s interest in using Georgian airspace to launch air raids against Iran’s nuclear reactors. Georgia also has a substantial Jewish community. Both factors irked the anti-Semitic leadership of Russia, which has traditionally sided with the Arabs. While it is true that anti-Zionist Jews were prominent among the early Bolshevik leaders, like foreign affairs commissar Leon Trotsky and NKVD chief Genrikh Yagoda, Jews were largely purged from the communist hierarchy by the time Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin concocted the so-called “Jewish Doctors’ Plot.”

Finally, it should be observed that some of the political-military figures mentioned in end-times Bible prophecy may be on the world stage too. For example, the Caucasus Mountains, where Georgia is located, literally means “Gog’s Fortress.” Is Putin, whose troops occupy the “former” Soviet republic, “Gog,” “chief prince of Meshech and Tubal [Tobolsk or Tbilisi]”?

In 2008 more than 200 tribal chiefs from Africa hailed eccentric Libyan strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi, who recently served as head of the African Union (AU), as “King of Kings,” a title reserved in the Bible for Jesus Christ. At the AU summit in Addis Ababa this past February, a tribal chief compared Qaddafi to “the prophets of the Bible or the Koran,” and exhorted the heads of state present to “follow the Guide who is showing us the way.” Is long-time Soviet ally Qaddafi “King of the South” (Daniel 11)? Or possibly, as some Bible prophecy enthusiasts suggest, the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak? The world will find out these details soon enough.

>Latin America/USA Files: Russian Duma VP, Zyuganov henchman visits Cuba, meets Castro; Kremlin media: N. Korean commandos blew up Deepwater Horizon

>Soviet-Cuban relations appeared to lapse during the 1990s, picking up somewhat with Vladimir Putin’s official trip to the island in 2000. Coincidentally or not, this visit occurred only one year before Moscow closed down its electronic eavesdropping base in Lourdes (Google cache), a facility in the suburbs of Havana that may have provided air traffic data to Mohammad Atta and his 911 skyjackers.

Over the past two years Moscow has intensified its contacts with Havana. Current Russian President Dmitry Medvedev showed up in Havana in 2008, while Cuban counterpart Raul Castro reciprocated the visit by trekking to Moscow last year. High-level military exchanges, including the top generals of both countries, Nikolai Makarov and Alvaro Lopez Miera, have also taken place.

Nearly 20 years after the Cold War supposedly ended, therefore, Cuba is still Russia’s most important strategic partner in Latin America, followed very closely by “new communist on the bloc,” Hugo Chavez, and compliant KGB asset Daniel Ortega. Moscow has also intensified military and economic linkages with the far-left governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Guyana, and the center-left governments of Brazil, Argentina, and Guatemala. The Soviet strategists have even made overtures to Mexico, offering to help President Felipe Calderon crush that country’s out-of-control drug cartels, themselves armed by the Russian Mafia.

Today, reports Cuba’s state media, President Castro received the vice president of the Russian State Duma, Ivan Melnikov, who, not surprisingly, is also vice chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Comrade Melnikov teaches at Moscow State University and heads up the Duma’s education committee, which means an open communist controls Russia’s education system. Melnikov is Gennady Zyuganov’s second-in-command in the CPRF. Chairman Zyuganov lately urged the Putinist regime to display pics of “Uncle Joe” Stalin throughout Moscow in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the defeat of Nazism.

Incidentally, the CPRF holds the second largest number of seats in Russia’s rubberstamp parliament, after (putatively ruling) United Russia, itself founded and controlled by “ex”-cadres of the (supposedly defunct) Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In regional elections this past March the CPRF made long-anticipated electoral gains at the expense of potemkin United Russia.

Melnikov and Castro discussed “current international affairs” and praised the “excellent state” of bilateral relations between Cuba and Russia. Commerce between the long-time allies amounted to US$400 million in 2009, while Moscow granted Havana more than US$350 million in trade credits. Also attending this communist conclave were Cuban parliament speaker Ricardo Alarcon and Russia’s ambassador to Cuba, Mikhail Kamynin.

In what might be a related story, but which sounds like the plot from a James Bond thriller, the Kremlin media contends that North Korean commandos blew up the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20. This semi-submersible offshore drilling rig, which sank 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana with the loss of 11 crew, was built in South Korea in 2001, owned by Transocean and operated by British Petroleum. According to the European Union Times, citing a report allegedly produced by the Russian Navy:

The North Korean “cargo vessel” Dai Hong Dan believed to be staffed by 17th Sniper Corps “suicide” troops left Cuba’s Empresa Terminales Mambisas de La Habana (Port of Havana) on April 18th whereupon it “severely deviated” from its intended course for Venezuela’s Puerto Cabello bringing it to within 209 kilometers (130 miles) of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform which was located 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the coast of the US State of Louisiana where it launched an SSC Sang-o Class Mini Submarine (Yugo class) estimated to have an operational range of 321 kilometers (200 miles).

On the night of April 20th the North Korean Mini Submarine manned by these “suicidal” 17th Sniper Corps soldiers attacked the Deepwater Horizon with what are believed to be 2 incendiary torpedoes causing a massive explosion and resulting in 11 workers on this giant oil rig being killed outright.

Is this conspiracy theory true? We have no idea. Is it more Soviet disinformation, designed to enflame tensions between the USA and Communist North Korea? Maybe. The Dai Hong Dan is in fact a North Korean cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates in October 2007. Furthermore, Seoul has determined that the March 26 explosion that sank the Cheonan warship in waters disputed with Pyongyang was caused by an “external explosion,” possibly a North Korean torpedo or mine. Forty-six crewmen perished. However, the Republic of Korea has directed no formal charges against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

If the Kremlin media were honest, perhaps it would admit that Spetsnaz frogmen blew up the Deepwater Horizon. After all, Russia intends to start drilling for oil in Cuban waters. Communists, of course, don’t like competition. With some smugness, no doubt, Moscow, according to the US State Department, has offered technical assistance in cleaning up the oil spill that resulted from the destruction of Deepwater Horizon.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Moscow’s top space officials arrive in French Guiana, delay Soyuz launch; Russian cruisers hold drill in Indian Ocean

>On Tuesday, Anatoly Perminov, chief of Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, arrived at the Kourou space center in French Guiana to oversee preparations for the first launch of a Soyuz-ST carrier rocket. During his visit, Perminov will meet with European Space Agency director-general Jean-Jacques Dordain and officials of the French space agency, CNES.

Sections of two Soyuz-STs were shipped from St. Petersburg to France’s South American department in November 2009. The April deadline for the launch, however, came and went. Russian, EU, and French space officials are now uncertain when this will take place, confiding only that the rocket will certainly blast off by the end of 2010.

Two years ago Roscosmos and French satellite launch firm Arianespace inked a contract to launch 10 Russian Soyuz-STs from Kourou, with two launches specifically slated for 2010. However, according to Arianespace Chairman/CEO Jean Yves le Galle, only one Soyuz launch will be held this year, to deliver the Hylas-1 commercial satellite into orbit. The second Russian launch from Kourou, he explains, is not expected by year’s end.

In any event, Perminov will inspect the Soyuz-ST assembly facility at Kourou and the launch pad of Ariane-5, the main EU-built booster. Sergei Ivanov, deputy prime minister in charge of Russia’s aerospace and defense industries, is expected to join Perminov for a working visit.

Russia’s new spaceport in French Guiana is intended mainly for the launch of heavier, geosynchronous satellites, which are ideally launched from an equatorial region. Until now Russia was restricted to using two spaceports, the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which Moscow rents from the “former” Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, and the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwest Russia. Constructed in 1955, Baikonur is the world’s oldest, continuously operating rocket base.

French Guiana offers the Soviet strategists a potential platform from which to lob nukes at the Continental USA from an unexpected direction. This may be one reason why they have wooed France and the European Union into Moscow’s sphere of influence. French Guiana, which is located among South America’s “northern tier” countries, is close to Soviet ally Venezuela. No one at the Pentagon, which is now effectively committed to unilateral nuclear disarmament under the Obama Admin, seems be considering this threat.

On the other side of the world, in the eastern Indian Ocean, the Russian Navy, although a shadow of its Soviet-era strength, is re-projecting its influence. This past week, two warships, the Northern Fleet’s Peter the Great battlecruiser and the Black Sea Fleet’s guided missile cruiser Moskva, carried out a drill that included repelling enemy airstrikes. The US-British naval base at Diego Garcia is located in the central Indian Ocean.

Rebuilding Russian naval power, with Borei-class ballistic missile submarines and multiple carrier strike forces, is a top priority for the Moscow Leninists, but will take some years to realize, even with enough money. The first of four Borei-class subs, Yury Dolgoruky, is currently undergoing sea trials. The Russian Navy is also committed to purchasing a Mistral-class amphibious assault ship from errant NATO member France and building three more under license. The latter prospect greatly worries former communist states like Poland and the Baltic republics.

Earlier today, Japanese and South Korean jets intercepted two Russian Bear bombers and their multirole fighter escort over the Sea of Japan. The Russian military aircraft were en route to the Pacific Ocean to conduct exercises.

>End Times File: Medvedev visits Damascus in first-ever visit for Soviet leader to Syria, meets Assad, Hamas leader; next stop: NATO state Turkey

>Fresh from hosting the Chinese president, German chancellor, and US/NATO troops at the Kremlin’s Victory in Europe celebration on May 9, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev flew to Damascus on Monday in the first-ever visit to Syria for a Soviet/Russian head of state. During his two-day official stopover, Medvedev will confer with Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, on the subject of Middle East peace. That elusive beast, however, will not be found until, according to Daniel’s prophecy in the Old Testament, the Antichrist steps onto the world stage and imposes a brief, false peace on the region.

Medvedev and Assad will also discuss Iran’s (Russian-built) nuclear program; the political situations in Iraq, where Tehran-sponsored insurgents seek to topple the US-backed government, and Lebanon, where the political party/terrorist army Hezbollah holds a dominant position in the government; and Soviet-Syrian relations in the fields of energy and economic cooperation.

Russia has revitalized its Soviet-era naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus and reportedly sold Iskander missile batteries to Damascus. These offensive weapons can easily reach Syria’s mortal enemy Israel, which share a common but disputed border on the Golan Heights.

In remarks to reporters after a closed-door meeting with the Russian president, Assad stated that: “Thousands of Syrians have studied in great Russian universities and come back to contribute to building their homeland, and thousands of Russian technicians have come to Syria to help build infrastructure for dams, roads and factories.”

Significantly, reports Novosti, Medvedev and Assad also met with Hamas’ Damascus-based political leader Khaled Mashaal. Hamas is the Palestinian terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip and one of many unholy offspring of the Kremlin’s international terrorist network.

On Wednesday, Medvedev flew to Ankara, where he met Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul (pictured here) and Prime Minister Recep Erdogan for the purpose of discussing energy relations. Reuters reports that Moscow and Ankara have signed a US$20 billion deal to build a nuclear power plant with four reactors in Turkey. Russian nuclear agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko explained that Atomstroiexport will lead construction of the plant on Turkey’s southern coast.

Although Turkey is a member of NATO and was putatively anti-communist in the Cold War, since the fake demise of communism in Russia, Ankara has cozied up to Moscow, to the point of buying military hardware from and holding joint naval exercises with Russia. Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party is pro-Islamic and anti-Israel. Over the past year, Turkey has deepened its alliance not only with Russia, but also with Syria, having carried out two joint military drills with Damascus, much to the disconcertment of Israel’s rightist government.

Moscow places a strategic premium on its relations with the Islamic world, knowing that the Islamo-socialist regimes that predominate in North Africa and the Middle East would rejoice to witness the destruction of America’s chief ally in the region. From the vantage of Bible prophecy, the end-times, Russian-led military coalition that will invade the Jewish state during the first part of Daniel’s 70th week–only to be supernaturally defeated by God–is fast-coalescing before our eyes.

>Latin America File: Ortega buys votes, army loyalty with ALBA cash; Caracas exports petro-communism to Caribbean; Ecuador to seize foreign oil ops

>This is very important, not just for the Dominican Republic but also for Venezuela because it puts us in the heart of the Caribbean.
— Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, statement made in Caracas on May 4, 2010

The latest headlines reveal that petro-communist thug Hugo Chavez continues to export his revolutionary socialism and strategically prop up kindred regimes in Central America, like Nicaragua, and the Caribbean Basin, like Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

On May 1, on the occasion of International Workers’ Day, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, under the banner of “Christianity, Socialism, and Solidarity,” announced the implementation of a pay raise, amounting to US$25 per month, for every soldier, police officer, and civil servant. Although Ortega did not explain how the bonuses, totalling US$27 million, will be financed, he indicated that state workers should be grateful to the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA). International Workers’ Day is the commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago.

With a nod toward the glib liberation theology that also animates red buddies Chavez and Rafael Correa, Ortega enthused: “In the spirit of solidarity, Christianity and socialism that we are cultivating in the hearts of Nicaraguans and cultivating in ALBA, we can multiply bread. When there is faith, there is Christ! When there is faith, there is hope!” Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America.

Since January 2007, when he regained the presidency, Ortega has received almost US$1.1 billion in Venezuelan aid, according to a new report published by the Central Bank of Nicaragua. Ortega and his closest aids tightly handle Nicaragua’s ALBA accounts, so even the country’s central bank can only provide broad and non-itemized statistics about Venezuelan aid.

“This is another example of how Ortega is becoming more like Somoza,” complained Enrique Sáenz, referring to former dictator Anastasio Somoza’s practice of throwing around money to buy votes. “This political practice should have been buried a long time ago,” he added. An economist by profession, Saenz is a member of the dissident grouping called the Sandinista Renovation Movement, which rejects Ortega’s personal leadership over all things Sandinista. “Comandante” Ortega’s Soviet/Cuban-backed Sandinista National Liberation Front overthrew the Somoza regime in 1979.

The Sandinista Popular Army (EPS) was supposedly de-communized in 1995, when General Humberto Ortega, Daniel’s brother, resigned. Since then, all of the country’s top generals have been Sandinistas, including the present one, Julio Aviles. Aviles received military training in Cuba after the Sandinista Revolution and later became chief of Nicaragua’s military intelligence. In response to Ortega’s “generosity,” Aviles offered this fulsome praise for his fellow Sandinista:

I am thankful to the president for his support for the army. This is good news to us and the soldiers. The president has always tried to help us to fulfill our functions. This helped us to maintain a wage scale and to have stability in the personnel of the Army of Nicaragua.

Unlike Aviles, retired general Hugo Torres is not impressed by Ortega’s largesse. Torres is a revolutionary hero who played a major role in professionalizing the EPS following Ortega’s electoral defeat in 1990. “This is a mafia practice,” he declared indignantly, “he’s giving money to soldiers and trying to get them to think of him as the boss who is above the constitution and laws of the land. This is behavior typical of the dictators we have had in the region, from Somoza to [former Dominican strongman Rafael Leonidas] Trujillo.” Last December, however, Torres observed:

I think the army is the most solid institution in the country. All of the other institutions–the Supreme Electoral Council, the judicial system, the Attorney General’s Office, the Comptroller General’s Office, the Human Rights Ombudsman–they are all controlled by Ortega. But the army remains the most solid and the most respected institution in the country.

Torres implies that the Nicaraguan National Army, the EPS’s new name, is somehow beyond Ortega’s grasp, but this is a disingenuous comment as the picture above of Aviles and Ortega clearly shows.

In 2007 Ortega and his paymaster Chavez articulated their intention of forming an “anti-imperialist army” from the militaries of ALBA, which also includes Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, and three Caribbean states. Nicaragua and Venezuela are slated to hold joint military drills in the former country some time this month or next. Nicaragua and Russia are slated to hold joint military drills at an unspecified future date, presumably in Central America. Last month Nicaraguan and other Communist Bloc troops marched through Caracas in commemoration of Venezuela’s 200th anniversary of independence.

Latin America’s leftist leaders proclaim “social justice” for all people, including the region’s indigenous groups. This is especially the case in Bolivia, where the country’s self-avowed Marxist-Leninist president, Evo Morales, is South America’s first self-proclaimed indigenous head of government/state. Morales enjoys political alliances with Ortega, Chavez, and Correa but, ironically, the interests of indigenous peoples in Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Ecuador are either rejected or suppressed.

Indeed, when indigenous people, or any other group for that matter, get in the way of advancing communist programs, racial and class genocide is the order of the day. For instance, in the 1980s the first Sandinista regime attempted to exterminate the Miskito Indians who live in Nicaragua’s Caribbean region. In 2009 the Miskitos proclaimed independence from Managua and declared their intent to secure United Nations recognition, a stance that excited little interest in Managua and virtually no acknowledgment from the international community.

On May 6 Ecuadorean Indian groups stormed the Congress building in Quito to protest the government’s new law that, oddly, in view of President Correa’s socialist orientation, privatizes the country’s water supplies, presumably into the hands of political hacks who support Correa. Hundreds of protesters took part in the demonstration before being pushed back by police using gas and batons. “We have called on our local organizations to join this protest,” Marlon Santi, president of the Indigenous Confederation of Ecuador, told reporters outside Congress, where Correa’s ruling party, the Proud and Sovereign Fatherland Alliance, enjoys a solid majority. He added: “We are not going to move from here until our concerns are clearly addressed.” Some indigenous groups tried to enter the capital on Thursday. When security forces stopped them, they blocked roads with stones and branches.

For his part, Correa called the protest leaders “liars.” “They do not scare me at all,” he ranted, announcing he would organize a march in favor of the water bill. “Water belongs to the indigenous people, but also to the mixed-race people. The water belongs to everyone.”

Following in the footsteps of the kindred regimes in Venezuela and Bolivia, last month Ecuador’s socialist government threatened to nationalize the operations of foreign private oil companies, unless they sign new contracts agreeing to increased state control over the sector. “Every day that passes there are millions of dollars going to these companies that should be going to the Ecuadorean state,” Correa complained during a televised address on April 18. “I’ve run out of patience,” he blurted, adding: “We are sending a bill to Congress that would allow for the expropriation of oil fields if the companies not want to sign the new contracts.” Spain’s Repsol, Brazil’s Petrobras, Chinese consortium Andes Petroleum, and Italy’s Eni presently operate in the Andean country.

“The government’s rhetoric is driven by its need to raise revenue and reduce its deficits. But a nationalization of private oil assets in Ecuador is probably not imminent,” opined Gary Kleiman, a Washington-based emerging markets consultant. Correa severed Ecuador from international capital markets in 2008 defaulted when his government defaulted on US$3.2 billion in bonds.

Along the same theme, Venezuela’s state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), which is bankrolling Chavez’s communist revolution domestically and abroad, agreed on May 5 to buy a 49% stake in the Dominican Republic’s Refidomsa refinery, which processes 34,000 barrels of oil per day. Venezuela is already a major supplier of crude oil to Santo Domingo. The purchase of such a large stake in Refidomsa will allow Caracas to expand its role as a supplier of fuel via Petrocaribe. The agreement was signed during a visit to the Dominican Republic by Chavez and PDVSA chief, Rafael Ramirez, an ardent communist like his boss.

“This is very important, not just for the Dominican Republic but also for Venezuela because it puts us in the heart of the Caribbean,” Chavez confided on May 4, the day before he flew to Santo Domingo. With an eye toward “helping” quake-ravaged Haiti, he added: “It will allow us to ship our petroleum for refining and distribution, not just within the Dominican market, but also throughout the Caribbean’s central market.” Prior to finalizing the transaction, Chavez also consulted with his compliant lackey, Manuel Zelaya, the former Honduran president who dragged his country into a short-lived partnership with ALBA. Earlier this year, Chavez appointed Zelaya as head of Petrocaribe’s “Political Bureau.”

Finally, an unusual development has taken place in the strategically important country of Panama. On May 1 Panamanian counter-narcotics police discovered an arsenal of 47 assault rifles, 24 machine pistols, 4,000 grenades and grenade-style munitions, and nearly 500,000 rounds of ammunition at the home of a Guatemalan-born sociology professor. Vinicio Jimenez, who teaches at Chiriqui Regional University, was arrested following the raid on his residence. Chiriqui is a province that borders Costa Rica. Panamanian police have made no comment concerning Jimenez’s political affiliation or why his home contained enough firepower to launch a small insurgency.

Such discoveries of illicit arms are rare in Panama, but Guatemala is home to violent street gangs, like Mara Salvatrucha, and serves as a conduit for the Latin American cocaine trade. Lately, operatives of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel have been detected in Panama.

Incidentally, a number of communist parties operate in Panama, including the People’s Party of Panama, which is the country’s oldest Marxist party and supported Omar Torrijos’ military regime in the 1970s; Socialist Workers’ Front (Marxist-Leninist) (FOS (ML)), which split from the PPP in 1973; Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) of Panama, which split from the FOS (ML) in 1980; and November 29 National Liberation Movement (MLN-29), a small, still-active guerrilla army that has links with the ruling parties of Nicaragua and El Salvador, that is, the FSLN and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. The MLN-29 opposed the US invasion in December 1989. We have no evidence linking the good professor Jimenez to these subversive groups.

>Buncha Commies Corner: US, UK, French and Polish troops join Russian counterparts in VE celebration, strategic bombers buzz Red Square

>In another hair-tearing example of communist-scripted East-West convergence, yesterday US, British, French, and Polish troops joined 10,500 Russian counterparts in the Kremlin’s observance of the 65th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, sometimes known as “VE Day” in the West. Your resident blogger has a personal interest in VE Day since my father, now on the verge of retirement, was born in the United Kingdom on the last day of the European war.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the friendly face of the secretly ruling Communist Party of the Soviet Union, hosted several foreign dignitaries at the Red Square march-past, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who as a girl was raised in East Germany, and Chinese President Hu Jintao. The Federal Republic of Germany and the People’s Republic of China are two of Russia’s most important “strategic partners” in Europe and Asia, respectively. Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, lurked in the review stand (pictured above).

A Russian color guard bearing the country’s “post”-communist tricolor flag and the hammer-and-sickle-emblazoned Victory Banner, which Soviet troops raised on the German Reichstag in Berlin 65 years ago, kicked off the parade (pictured here). In 2007 the Russian State Duma restored the Victory Banner as the Russian Ground Forces’ official flag, a little hint to the West that communism is not yet dead and buried in Moscow.

Predictably, reports Voice of America, in his obligatory presidential remarks, Medvedev blathered about “the need for international cooperation to prevent war.” He stated that “modern threats can only be opposed together,” adding that “the problems of global security can only be resolved on the basis of neighborly relations so that the ideals of justice and goodness may triumph throughout the world.” In view of the Kremlin’s obvious role in the demise of Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski and that country’s top generals last month, one is forced to question Moscow’s commitment to “ideals of justice and goodness.” Apparently, as evidenced by the presence of NATO troops in Red Square, the North Atlantic alliance’s political-military leadership is not asking that all-important question.

In an interview with VOA, US Army Captain Matthew Strand imparted a positive spin to NATO’s participation in Moscow’s re-enactment of the Allied Powers’ victory over Nazism. Strand, whose 90-year-old grandfather was a pilot during the war, gushed: “Every time my grandpa meets a veteran from World War Two, even if he doesn’t know him, the second he meets him, they automatically have something in common. And just by me having a grandfather that was in it, I have something in common with the veterans I meet here in Russia.” Strand, who is no doubt sincere, is an unwitting player in the Soviet deception strategy. Strand commanded the US military unit that participated in the Kremlin’s anti-Nazi production, the 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment.

Russia’s open communists were not pleased by the presence of NATO troops on their turf. According to a recent public opinion poll by the independent Levada Center, eight percent of Russians, mostly communists and nationalists, expressed “strong opposition” to the foreign presence in the parade. Russia’s communists ranted, “No NATO boots on Red Square.” However, more than half of the Russians surveyed approved of NATO participation which, of course, supports the Kremlin preferred line vis-a-vis East-West convergence.

Just in case the West does not follow the “path of peace,” the neo-Soviet leadership reminded the world that in addition to the WW2-vintage T-34 Soviet tanks that led the parade of military hardware, the Kremlin also possesses an array of modern weapons, including road-mobile long-range missiles, helicopter gunships, fourth-generation fighters, and aging but still dangerous nuclear bombers. Pictured above: In this Red Square fly-over, a Tu-95 Bear bomber is preceded by an Il-78 Midas aerial tanker and accompanied by Su-24 Fencer fighter-bombers (rear) and Yak-130 trainers (right and left).

Long-time Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, in collaboration with communist party boss Gennady Zyuganov, proposed that the Victory Day celebrations include public displays of posters of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Anxious to soothe strained relations with Poland, the Kremlin prohibited the decision, backing its recent decision to release documents admitting Stalin issued the orders leading to the massacre of more than 20,000 Polish military officers in 1940.

As a sidenote, your resident blogger is presently reading The Black Book of Communism, which exposed this truth back in 1997. Compiled by European academics, some former communists, this massive narrative chronicles the “class genocide” commited by communist regimes in the 20th century.

Viktor Kremenyuk, a political analyst at the venerable KGB think tank known as the Institute for US and Canadian Studies, commented that “Stalin weakened the country, having eliminated some of its best military leaders three years before the German invasion.” Apparently, “de-Stalinization” is still in vogue in Moscow since the neo-Soviet leadership is not quite ready to pounce on the West and must maintain the pretense of being a potential partner for NATO.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Rebuilding Communism in Nicaragua:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

>Tu-160

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

>Drug War Updates:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

>Blogger’s Note: And so, while the world falls apart . . .

>We’re going on vacation. Back on April 6. Pray the commies don’t invade before then.

>Red Dawn Alert: Looming Soviet Bloc victory in Mexico as Clinton sits on military aid to crush drug cartels; Venezuela, Bolivia communize armed forces

>– Bolivarian Intelligence Service Arrests Oswaldo Alvarez, Chavez Opponent Accused President of Drug Trafficking and Links with “Armed, Outlaw Groups”

– DAS Busts Smuggling Ring Shipping Weapons from Central America to Colombia, Nicaragua’s Top General Denies SAMs Originated from His Inventories

– Guatemalan Vice President: Central American Country’s Generals Eager to Acquire Russian Weapons

We need equipment today and not in a few years.
— Patricia Espinosa, Mexican Foreign Secretary, March 23, 2010

The drug cartels are out of control in Mexico, blockading highways to thwart army operations, gunning down civilians, police, and soldiers alike, and in many cases viciously decapitating and dismembering their victims to terrify rivals and the population in general. As we have documented, Russian operatives in the form of “ex”-KGB types are furtively arming these gangs with automatic weapons and RPGs, even as the Kremlin sidles up to the Mexican government with incentives to sell helicopter gunships and other weapons to crush the narco-insurgency.

Mexico’s communist rebels, like the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and the Popular Revolutionary Army, are kicking back these days. There’s nothing for them to do. Instead, the drug cartels are efficiently destroying the country. Meanwhile, as Mexico burns, the Obama White House fiddles.

In the wake of this week’s official visit to Mexico City by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it would appear that President Barack Hussein Obama is indeed giving the Soviets an open door to become Mexico’s “best friend” in combating this menace. Accompanying Clinton—a veteran leftist whose husband, the former president, is an alleged KGB asset—were Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, and Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair.

Disturbingly, reports the Washington Post, the White House is shifting its support away from military-style hardware and toward “investments designed to strengthen Mexican communities.” Clinton’s powerful delegation, therefore, had little to offer the besieged government of President Felipe Calderon except a promise to secure support from US lawmakers to continue the Merida Initiative, as well as sponsor community-based programs that dissuade young men from enlisting as foot soldiers in the cartels’ armies. Well, yeah, that’s not a bad idea, but Mexico’s regular forces are outgunned and lacking the technology and expertise needed to wage war against a ruthless (Moscow-backed) insurgency.

During their day-long meeting, Clinton and her Mexican counterpart, Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, reviewed the progress of the Merida Initiative. The three-year, $US1.4 billion program is designed to help governments like Mexico’s combat drug trafficking by providing them with helicopters, night-vision goggles, crime data software, and training for federal police officers and judges. The Obama Admin expects to allocate $US310 million for Mexico in 2011.

However, Espinosa was not impressed by the White House’s package. While agreeing that a joint survey was needed to better understand the nature and extent of illicit drug consumption in the two countries, Espinosa protested: “We need equipment today and not in a few years.” Mexican officials have repeatedly complained about the slow arrival of US-built military equipment and US-delivered counter-insurgency training.

While in Mexico City, Clinton repeated statements that the “appetite” for drugs in the USA greatly contributes to drug trafficking and its “attendant violence” in Mexico: “We know demand for drugs drives much of this violence.” No kidding, Hillary. (Incidentally, Hillary’s hubby knows all about personal drug consumption. Little Rock was awash with cocaine when Bill was governor of Arkansas.) To that end, Clinton pledged to crack down on the southward flow of illegal weapons and drug cash, which will no doubt translate into more gun control and financial regulations in the USA. Decriminalizing drugs was not on the agenda.

For her part, Napolitano told reporters on the flight to Mexico City that the 50,000 troops that Calderon has sent into the streets is the wrong strategy. “It has to be complemented with civilian law enforcement and the whole traditional framework that surrounds that,” she pontificated, adding: “We can help with that.”

Sounds good, Janet, but in reality the US government should give the Mexican Army whatever it needs to crush the cartels and pronto too. US national security depends on the stability of the Mexican state and the exclusion from government of Mexico’s hard left, dominated by the communist-infiltrated Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). The next general election in Mexico will take place in 2012. Overweening PRD leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who bombed out in the 2006 election, still fancies himself the “Legitimate President of Mexico.” “Bolivarian cells” linked to the Chavezista regime are active in Mexico.

So, while the US and Mexican governments hire polling firms to ask their respective publics why they consume narcotics and join drug gangs, the Juarez, Sinaloa, and Gulf Cartels, and Los Zetas and Los Negros paramilitaries will continue to shoot up and chop up anyone who infringes on their multi-billion-dollar-a-year enterprise. Time to lock and load, folks. Everything’s moving south these days, except the drugs themselves.

Latin America’s Expanding “Anti-Imperialist” Army

That the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba are heavily indoctrinated with Marxism should go without saying. Less appreciated is the fact that the red regimes in Venezuela and Bolivia are also inculcating their armed forces with communist dogma.

On March 23 Bolivia’s self-avowed Marxist-Leninist president Evo Morales inaugurated the use of the military’s new slogan, “Fatherland or death, we shall overcome!”, popularized by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, who not-so-coincidentally met his demise in Bolivia in 1966. The Bolivian army’s new communist slogan has angered some retired generals because it is perceived as part of Morales’ effort to transform the military into guarantors of his socialist revolution. The Bolivian army began using the chant “Patria o muerte, venceremos!” during an annual ceremony known as “Day of the Sea,” which is observed to remember the 1879-84 war against Chile, when Bolivia lost its Pacific coastline. Historically, Bolivia’s military has been associated with right-wing repression.

In 2007 communist dictator Hugo Chavez enacted a similar requirement for Venezuela’s armed forces, selecting “Homeland, Socialism, or Death” as its official salute. At the time retired General Alberto Muller Rojas, a close adviser to Chavez, told Venezuelan media he had already heard the salute in various military installations. Chavez purged the military of opponents after a brief counter-coup ousted him in 2002. Since then he has used Venezuela’s oil revenue to not only beef up the military’s firepower with Russian and Red Chinese warplanes and arms, but also to raise salaries in the ranks.

Some of the military dissidents whom Chavez has thrown in prison include former army chief Raul Isaias Baduel, former admiral Carlos Millan, and onetime general Wilfredo Barroso, who was arrested along with Millan on charges of conspiring to oust the president.

“Chavez does not have the support he thinks he has in the armed forces,” Baduel declared in a jail cell interview last year. Twenty years ago he was a cadre in the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200, Comrade Hugo’s secret cell of leftist officers who tried to seize power twice in 1992. Ten years later Baduel led the paratrooper operation that returned Chavez to power. In 2007, after retiring as defense minister, Baduel broke with Chavez, publicly criticizing the president’s intention to rewrite the constitution and transform Venezuela into a socialist state. “I won’t leave this prison,” Baduel vowed last year, “until Chavez leaves the presidency of Venezuela.”

In March 2009 Chavez replaced the chiefs of the army, air force, and Bolivarian Militia, a Cuban-inspired reserve force organized to repel a US invasion, one of Comrade Hugo’s favourite bête noires. During the same wave of dismissals, Chavez also sacked his latest defense minister, General Gustavo Rangel Briceño, and ordered his henchmen to detain Otto Gebauer, a now-retired captain who apprehended Chavez during the counter-coup. Indeed, the authority of as many as 800 military officers was stripped away in 2008 after doubts surfaced over their loyalty to Chavez and his Cuban-backed “Bolivarian Revolution.”

Of course, the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela also persecutes civilian dissidents. This past Monday Chavez’s cronies in the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (formerly DISIP) arrested opposition figure Oswaldo Alvarez, who had publicly accused the Chavezista regime of trafficking in drugs and hiding links with armed, outlaw groups (like no doubt Colombia’s Marxist rebels).

Although the neo-Sandinista regime in Nicaragua has yet to re-politicize the armed forces, the latest commander of the Nicaraguan National Army, General Julio Aviles, is a former Sandinista guerrilla and, thus, an ally of President Daniel Ortega. In fact, the Sandinista Popular Army was not officially de-communized until 1995.

In a related story, on March 24 General Aviles was forced to deny reports that an “international arms trafficking gang” recently busted by Colombian authorities was stealing weapons from the Nicaraguan military and smuggling them into Colombia. Nicaragua’s top general huffed: “You can be assured that the inventories of the Nicaraguan army are secured and safe. The materiel that is spoken of is not of Nicaraguan origin. The information says that the arms are made in other countries, and are not of our own materiel.”

According to Colombia’s intelligence agency, DAS, the smuggling ring transported weapons procured in Central America via the Colombian island of Sand Andres, where they were ferried to the mainland by plane and speedboats. Contraband weapons included “rockets, rifles, and machine guns.” Presumably, “rockets” refer to surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).

It is known, of course, that Nicaragua is still in possession of 1,000 Soviet-built SAM-7 missiles, acquired by the first Sandinista regime in its war against the US-backed Contras. This arsenal remains a point of contention between Washington—which fears that the old man-portable rocket launchers could fall into the hands of terrorists, like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—and Managua—which insists upon retaining at least 400 of the weapons for its own defense. It is also known, too, that veteran communist Ortega sympathizes with the aims of the FARC, which seeks to install a Marxist dictatorship in Bogota. If an international criminal syndicate is smuggling SAMs from Central America to shady customers fronting for FARC, then Nicaraguan armouries may very well be the point of origin for these shipments.

Finally, Guatemala’s center-left government is not communist but President Alvaro Colom is very obviously moving his country into Moscow’s orbit, especially in the wake of his visit this week to the Russian capital. In Colom’s delegation was Vice President Rafael Espada, who told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev his country is interested in acquiring Russian arms in exchange for coffee and sugar exports. Like Mexico, although not on quite the same scale, Guatemala is plagued with drug violence. “Guatemala is interested in acquiring planes, armored vehicles and other arms to struggle against organized crime in the country. We could pay for the arms with coffee and sugar,” Espada suggested.

Guatemalan officials already discussed the issue with Russian diplomats last week, Espada revealed. Guatemala’s Chief of Staff, General Juan Jose Ruis, and five other high-ranking officials of the country’s defense ministry took part in the talks, which were apparently held in Guatemala City. Espada related that Russia provided a catalogue of its weapons systems, which would be of interest to Guatemala’s armed forces and the national police. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Guatemala in February.

>Latin America File: US Southern Command chief: Venezuela’s “socialist” regime “destabilizing force," backs FARC; Guatemala president heads for Moscow

>– FMLN Regime in San Salvador Opens Embassy in Havana as It Projects Moderate Image in USA, Sends President Funes to Meet Obama

– President Lobo Invites Deposed Predecessor Back to Homeland as Honduran Left Agitates for Lobo’s Removal, Zelaya’s Reinstatement

– Colombia’s Center-Right Parties Win March 14 Congressional Vote, Uribe’s Anointed Successor Faces Off Against Former M-19 Guerrilla in May 30 Presidential Poll

There appears to be a new willingness in Washington DC to acknowledge that Communist Venezuela is a “destabilizing force” in the Western Hemisphere. Last Thursday, in testimony to the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, General Douglas Fraser, chief of the US Armed Force’s Southern Command, admitted:

They [the Venezuelan government] continue to have a very anti-US stance and look to try and restrict US activity wherever they have the opportunity to do that. They are continuing to engage with the region and continuing to pursue their socialism agenda. They remain a destabilizing force in the region.

Venezuela continues to provide the FARC a safe haven and financial logistical support.

Fraser’s strangely frank comments came barely a week after the good general told a US Senate hearing that “The Pentagon has no evidence of a government-to-terrorist connection between President Hugo Chavez’s government and Colombian FARC rebels.” The good general’s sudden candor also suggests that—gasp!—communism may not be dead after all, in spite of its KGB-orchestrated funeral on Christmas Day 1991. For Internet surfers who may be too young to remember, on that day Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev announced the demise of CCCP V1.0. (V2.0 waits in the wings. See quote at top of this blog.)

Venezuela’s ambassador in Washington, Bernardo Alvarez, protested that Fraser’s about-face was politically motivated: “The Obama administration is continuing the aggressive policy against Venezuela of the Bush administration. They cannot accept a government with a different ideological perspective in this hemisphere.” Venezuela is among the USA’s top five oil suppliers and its second-leading trading partner in Latin America, after Mexico. However, in spite of the ideological differences between Washington and Caracas—that is, soft communist versus outright communist—Alvarez soothed: “Venezuela has no interest in reducing the oil trade.”

Comrade Alvarez is correct. Venezuelan oil will be used as a bargaining chip later, after President Barack Hussein Obama bans offshore drilling in the USA, after Russian companies begin drilling for oil in Cuban waters, and after Obama imposes full-blown socialism on America, beginning with mandatory private health care. In a March 18 editorial titled “Obama Surrenders Gulf Oil to Moscow,” the Washington Times worried: “Russia is projecting power in the Western Hemisphere while the United States retreats. The world will not tolerate a superpower that acts like a sidekick much longer.”

Russian companies also intend to exploit offshore oil reserves in Venezuelan waters. The two Communist Bloc allies are in reality playing energy politics with the intent of hobbling the infrastructure of the world’s remaining superpower. Additional confirmation of this conspiracy includes a March 17 comment from Chavez’s energy minister, Rafael Ramirez, who is also head of Venezuela’s state-run oil monopoly. The PDVSA boss stated that in spite of recent shutdowns due to power outages in the Netherlands Antilles and the US military presence in the Dutch-owned islands, Venezuela has no intention of abandoning its lease on the Isla oil refinery in Curacao.

Meanwhile, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has made his first pilgrimage to Moscow. In February he hosted Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, who signed an agreement with Guatemalan counterpart Haroldo Rodas to combat the illicit drug trade. In 2007 then President Vladimir Putin visited Guatemala, at which time he met Colom’s predecessor, Oscar Berger, and inaugurated Russia’s first embassy in Guatemala City. Colom is Guatemala’s first center-left president since the communist-backed Jacobo Arbenz Guzman was overthrown by the military in 1954 and then spent some time in exile in Communist Cuba, before living out the remainder of his years in Mexico.

Colom, who has yet to lock his country into the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), is already linked to Chavez by way of subsidized Petrocaribe oil. He also follows a parade of center-left and communist leaders from Latin America who have travelled to Moscow over the last 18 months, including Cuba’s Raul Castro, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner, and Guyana’s Bharrat Jagdeo. Chavez himself materializes in Moscow on a nearly yearly basis.

Arriving in Russia on Sunday, Colom met counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, with whom he approved bilateral packages promoting cooperation in the military-technical field, oil and gas exploration, telecommunications, transportation, and tourism. According to the Ukrainian media, Russia is expecting a quid pro quo for all of the attention it is lavishing on this small Central American country: Guatemala must recognize the independence of breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Examining the raft of new Russian-Guatemalan agreements, it appears that this new alliance may very well lead to Guatemala purchasing Russian arms and hosting Russian “experts” to counter the endemic drug violence in Central America. The Soviet strategists are already cautiously cultivating similar linkages with the beleaguered Mexican government.

Commenting on their meeting, Medvedev enthused: “Russia sees Latin America as an emerging global force and plans all-round ties with countries in it.” The Russian president also thanked Colom for his role in promoting visa-free travel for Russians to Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. For his part, Colom gushed: “It would be a mistake if Guatemala and other Latin American countries refrain or abandon relations with a serious partner like Russia.”

The Marxist leadership of El Salvador’s ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) has yet to scurry to Moscow. It also appears anxious not to alarm US policymakers over El Salvador’s new-found relationship with Cuba. On the one hand, the real “power behind the throne” in San Salvador is Vice President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a doctrinaire Leninist who led the FMLN guerrillas into battle 20 years ago and cheered when Osama bin Laden’s disciples dive-bombed three airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Last year, in preparation for opening El Salvador’s first-ever embassy in Havana, Sanchez flew to Havana to confer with his Cold War-era mentors.

Several weeks ago, though, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, who represents the FMLN’s moderate “face,” travelled to Washington, where he had a friendly tete-a-tete with Obama. During the March 9 meeting the two presidents focused much of their discussion on the international drug trade that has left a path of death and destruction between South America and the US-Mexican border. “We want to be supportive, not only in addressing the symptoms that we see in terms of crime, but also the root causes, and I know that’s something the president [Funes] cares deeply about as well,” Obama remarked.

Prior to the Obama-Funes meet-and-greet, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged that Washington has dropped the ball when it comes to the War on Drugs in Central America. Under the Merida Initiative, the US government allocated $1.6 billion to combat the drug trade in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, but most of the funds wound up in Mexico. Throwing more US taxpayer money at red banana republics like El Salvador will probably yield little tangible result until the Obama White House owns up to the fact that the Russian Mafia (FSB/SVR/KGB) is arming the Mexican drug cartels and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which produce 90 percent of the cocaine flowing into the USA.

As a sop to Washington, San Salvador has sent out mixed messages concerning future membership in ALBA, and offered to recognize Porfirio Lobo as the legitimate president of Honduras. Chavez recently appointed Manuel Zelaya as head of Petrocaribe’s Political Council, a move that clearly exposes the deposed Honduran president as a puppet of Venezuela’s red dictator. For his part, Lobo, a wealthy rancher who graduated from Moscow’s Patrice Lumumba University during the Cold War, is offering Zelaya, another wealthy rancher, the opportunity to return to his homeland without fear of prosecution.

Lobo’s decision is not wise because the Honduran Left continues to agitate for his own demise. “Our objectives these days are ambitious. We will have to work seriously and strenuously,” declared Carlos Reyes, union leader and member of the National People’s Resistance Front leadership. On March 16 1,000 leftists converged in La Esperanza for the second meeting for “Honduran Re-Foundation,” with the intent of “putting an end to the current dominating [regime] that plunders, exploits and oppresses the country.” Reyes accused the US ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, of “interfering openly in the country’s internal affairs and carrying out maneuvers to divide the resistance.”

Openly campaigning in Honduras, Zelaya would serve as a lightning rod for both domestic and foreign subversive forces. The latter could include Cuban, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan agents.

Meanwhile, the number of recently murdered journalists in Honduras reached three after gunmen fired AK-47 automatic rifles at Nahun Palacios, director of a TV news channel in the city of Tocoa. The killers fled the scene, leaving another man with Palacios seriously wounded. Last week two gunmen killed journalist David Meza in similar circumstances in La Ceiba, a town near Tocoa. Meza was a reporter for Radio El Patio and correspondent in his hometown for Radio America and TV Channels 7 and 10 in Tegucigalpa. On March 1 Joseph Ochoa of Channel 51 was murdered.

While it is possible that clandestine forces on the Honduran Right are once again plying their bloody trade, it is also possible that the Honduran Left, working with organized crime, is carrying out these provocations to force an over-reaction from Lobo’s government.

Finally, in what may be interpreted as a positive development for South America, in a March 14 election the four center-right parties that have backed Colombian President Alvaro Uribe over the past eight years won a handy majority in the country’s bicameral national legislature. These include the chief Uribist formation, the National Unity Social Party, as well as the Conservative, Cambio Radical, and National Integration parties. A presidential election is slated for May 30, but after two terms as president Uribe cannot run again. Uribe’s anointed successor is former defense minister Juan Manuel Santos, whose policies are viewed as a threat to its own longevity by the Chavezista regime in Venezuela. Throughout his presidency Uribe retained a 60 percent public approval rating. Santos is pictured above.

Santos’ main contenders are independent candidate Sergio Fajardo and Alternative Democratic Pole candidate Gustavo Petro Urrego. Leftist Urrego is currently a Colombian Senator but at an earlier stage in his career was an insurgent in the 19th of April (M-19) guerrilla movement.

>USA File: America moves toward socialized health care: House of Reps passes landmark reform bill, Republicans spurn mandatory coverage

>In Canada, where your resident blogger lives, the provincial governments administer the federal government’s socialized health care program. While the bill passed on Sunday by the US House of Representatives imposes mandatory health coverage on all Americans, no agency created by the US government will administer a centralized program–at least not yet. No doubt that will be the next stage in President Barack Hussein Obama and the Democratic Party’s attempt to transform the USA into a socialist utopia. Obama is expected to sign the legislation on Monday.

Key healthcare reform bill passed in the USA
OnMedica Staff
Monday, 22 March 2010

The US House of Representatives has voted to pass a key healthcare reform bill.

The change, tenaciously pushed forward by Presiddent Barack Obama, was passed by just 219 votes to 212, following hours of debate. It received no Republican backing.

The bill is a landmark move in the US. Under the new legislation health insurance will be extended to nearly all Americans, new taxes will be imposed on wealthier citizens and some restrictive insurance practices – such as refusing to cover pre-existing conditions – will be outlawed.

The reforms will increase insurance coverage through tax credits for the middle class and an expansion of Medicaid for the poor.

When the vote count reached the minimum needed to pass the bill, Democrats cheered and chanted: “Yes, we can!”.

Speaking after the result, Mr Obama said: “We proved that we are still people capable of doing big things.

“This legislation will not fix everything that ails our healthcare system, but it moves us decisively in the right direction.”

However, Republicans, say the measures are unaffordable and represent a government takeover of the health industry.

President Obama is expected to sign the legislation as early as tomorrow, but the Senate will be able to make changes to the measures in a separate bill.

On July 9, 2009, while visiting Moscow, Obama met with Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation. In response to that meeting, Zyuganov enthused: “I said that I had thoroughly studied the U.S. president’s anti-crisis program, that I liked it, as well as that it is socially oriented and primarily aimed at supporting poor people and enhancing the state’s role. I said all this to President Obama.” When everything in society becomes mandatory, such as the mass fluoridation of public water supplies, then the fate of freedom is uncertain.

>EU/USSR2 Files: Putin rebukes Lukashenko for not recognizing Abkhazia, S. Ossetia; Belarusian KGB turns Polish ABW officer, passes docs to Russian FSB

>In a rare display of displeasure with the Belarusian leadership, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is visiting Belarus to chair the Council of Ministers of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, rebuked Alexander Lukashenko for dragging his feet on recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries. Apart from the Russian Federation, only Venezuela, Nicaragua, and diminutive Nauru in the South Pacific Ocean have extended diplomatic recognition to Georgia’s breakaway regions, both of which are occupied by the Russian army.

“Russia expected Belarus to support us in this issue quickly, energetically, and spectacularly. Indeed, this is not happening,” Putin grumbled to reporters at a press conference held in Brest, Belarus. He added: “However, whether to recognize these two regions or not is Minsk’s sovereign right.” Putin suggested that President Lukashenko was overly concerned about European Union sensitivities ahead of normalizing Minsk-Brussels relations. He added: “We have always favored an improvement of Belarus’ ties with Western countries. A positive effect has already been produced.”

With the hope of goading the recalcitrant Belarusians, Putin pledged to provide the country with cheap gas and oil that could save Minsk more than US$4 billion in 2010. Putin also urged Belarus to quickly adopt a joint currency with Russia.

Comrade Alex, however, was nowhere to be found in Belarus. Instead, he is touring Latin America, prompting some political analysts to speculate that Lukashenko fled Minsk before his Moscow master arrived to chew him out. The Belarusian government press service retorted by calling the media speculation “groundless.” Instead of Lukashenko, therefore, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky (pictured above) bore the brunt of Putin’s drubbing.

Lukashenko is presently rubbing elbows with Hugo Chavez, where he once again offered to modernize Comrade Hugo’s air defense system by offloading some radar units and antiaircraft missile batteries. In a quid pro quo, the Venezuela’s red tyrant offered to sell 80,000 barrels of oil per day to Belarus, presumably at a preferential price. Lukashenko is expected to meet his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on March 22 in Rio de Janeiro.

Chavez plans to visit Belarus again in October, at which time he will most likely swing through Moscow for an annual briefing session with his KGB handler Putin. Lukashenko is also making plans to return to Venezuela in 2011. “Venezuela is our home, our land. And Belarus should become a familiar land for Venezuelans,” gushed the Belarusian president while in Caracas.

Although Putin feigns optimism for Belarus’ rapprochement with the EU, this is unlikely in the wake of at least two spy imbroglios that have developed between Belarus and former Warsaw Pact member Poland. As we previously reported, in March 2009 the Polish Internal Security Agency (ABW) arrested an alleged GRU agent, a putative businessman who had been legally resident in Poland for 10 years and boasted a strong command of the Polish language.

The Russian embassy in Warsaw disavowed all knowledge of the Russian national, whose apartment contained electronic signalling equipment. The office of Polish President Lech Kaczyński admitted that this was the first time a Russian spy had been detected in Poland since 1989, the year in which the Polish United Workers’ Party abandoned its public monopoly of power.

A second spy flap centers on the person of Belarusian “Mata Hari” Olga Solomenik, an alleged agent of the Belarusian KGB, which still operates under its old dreaded name. Solomenik joined the pro-government faction of the Union of Belarusian Poles and then traveled to Bialystok, Poland to recruit employees of the ABW. In Bialystok Solomenik “turned” ABW officer “Robert R” into handing over classified documents, which she forwarded to her KGB handlers in Minsk, which in turned were forwarded to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB). In February 2008 “Robert R” was arrested and currently faces espionage charges under Polish law.

“We have evidence that the Belarusian KGB used the pro-Lukashenko Union of Poles in Belarus to gather information in Poland, which was later forwarded to Russia’s secret service,” a former ABW officer was quoted by the Gazeta Wyborcza as saying. The anonymous source continues:

There’s a reason why nobody is talking about this. ABW cares about having good relations with the Belarusian KGB. Officially, we do not have good relations with Belarus, but cooperation with the KGB is necessary for [Poland] to monitor border traffic, as required by the EU. Brussels’ priority is to fight against illegal immigrants and contraband entering from the East.

Belarusian “Mata Hari” Solomenik is still at large. The Union of Belarusian Poles split into two factions in 2005. It is believed that Tadeusz Kruczkowski, the head of the pro-Lukashenko group, is also a Belarusian KGB agent. The fact that the communist regime in Minsk is using the pro-government faction to infiltrate the KGB into Poland may explain why it is cracking down so hard on the anti-government faction.

Elsewhere in the “post”-Soviet space, Moldova’s communists, who openly ruled the former Soviet republic between 2001 and 2009, are conniving to manipulate their plurality in parliament into a workable government. On Thursday they began a boycott of parliament in an ongoing bid to force the resignation of acting President Mihai Ghimpu and his pro-European Union coalition. The inability of the new legislature to elect a new president has aggravated the Moldovan economy, the poorest in Europe. Ghimpu’s ruling coalition plans to hold a referendum to amend election rules and make nominating a new president easier, but the communists denounced this plan as a “usurpation of power.”

The communist-scripted drama in Chisinau seems disingenuous since, according to Soviet defector Vladimir Bukovsky, the EU was from the beginning a Soviet project, while “ex”-communists lead some of the parties in the ruling coalition. It may be, though, that pure power politics is competing with the Soviet strategic deception in Moldova.

>MISSILE DAY ALERT: UN-CSTO military cooperation protocol provides “legal” framework for deploying Soviet “peacekeeping/anti-drug” troops as needed

>In a highly significant development which will no doubt be ignored by the MSM until it is too late, that is, until Soviet “peacekeeping/counter-narcotics” troops are patrolling the streets of your city, the United Nations and Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) have signed a military cooperation protocol. The signatories were UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and CSTO General Secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha, a career Chekist (pictured above).

Citing the need for international cooperation in combating the illicit narcotics trade, especially in Afghanistan, Ban declared on March 18 that “The declaration is an important step for the UN to consolidate cooperation with regional organizations.” Afghanistan is part of the opium-growing “Golden Crescent” in southwest Asia.

The CSTO is a military pact that embraces the “former” Soviet republics of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. It has held observer status at the UN since 2004. The UN signed a similar cooperation protocol with the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2008. Russia’s official national security strategy describes the CSTO as “a key mechanism for countering regional military challenges and threats.”

From the point of view of the Soviet long-range strategy for global domination, the prospect of the CSTO usurping NATO’s role in suppressing the Taliban insurgency is certainly intriguing. The Russian and Chechen mafias (FSB/SVR/KGB) are already running weapons to the former Islamic rulers of Afghanistan, while the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces (GRU) has been accused of transporting Afghan heroin to Western Europe via its own military bases.

In response to the UN-CSTO agreement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov intoned: “Drug trafficking has emerged as a threat to both regional and international peace and security.” The Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, elaborated: “The declaration has both practical and political significance for the CSTO, completing the creation of a political and legal framework between the two organizations.” The Russian media was quick to praise the new UN-CSTO alliance. “Russia,” relates state-run Novosti, “has repeatedly called for the CSTO’s peacekeeping potential to be used more widely.” For its part, Russian business daily Kommersant opined that “UN-CSTO cooperation might cover such areas as conflict prevention and resolution, terrorism, international crime and arms trafficking.”

Since the Kremlin now considers drug trafficking as a “threat to both regional and international peace and security,” will we also witness the deployment of UN-CSTO troops in the war-wracked US-Mexican border region? Last November business leaders in Ciudad Juarez demanded that the UN dispatch its “peacekeepers” to suppress the drug cartels.

In addition to taking to task the “former” communist regimes in Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria for hosting or offering to host US anti-missile batteries, Moscow finds other excuses to portray the USA/NATO as aggressor. This week the Kremlin condemned a minor NATO air force drill over the Baltic states. The exercise, which is the fifth over the three former Soviet republics, involved just seven combat aircraft, including two French fighters and three Polish and two Lithuanian planes.

In a statement, NATO’s Germany-based Air Command explained that the one-day drill over Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia demonstrated the alliance’s “commitment to their collective security.” The Baltic trio joined NATO and the European Union in 2004. With a combined population of just 6.8 million people and a regular military of 23,000, the Baltic republics are wary of their former communist overlord’s renewed assertiveness. The pending sale of four French-built/designed Mistral amphibious attack ships to the Russian Navy has especially spooked the Balts.

Lithuania’s Defence Minister Rasa Jukneviciene dismissed Russia’s annoyance by reminding the Russians that last September they and their Belarusian allies carried out the provocative Zapad-2009 drill. This exercise, the largest in the region in 25 years, took place in Belarus and Kaliningrad, and involved more than 12,000 troops, over 200 tanks, 470 other armoured vehicles, and 100 aircraft.

Last week during a visit to Poland, another former Communist Bloc state that joined NATO in 1999, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen complained that during Zapad 2009 Moscow sent the “wrong kind of signal by conducting military exercises that rehearse the invasion of a smaller NATO member.” The last, of course, was a reference to Poland itself. Rasmussen, like much of NATO’s leadership, though, has taken leave of his senses. Although he wrung his hands over Zapad 2009, he supports France’s Mistral sale to Russia. Something’s wrong with this picture.

>Latin America File: Mexico’s drug war spreads to Monterrey as gunmen commandeer trucks, buses, blockade highways to hamper counter-insurgency ops

>– Three US Citizens in Ciudad Juarez, Including Consular Worker, Gunned Down on March 14; State of Chihuahua Officials Suspect Los Aztecas Drug Gang

– US Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Defense Gates Head for Mexico City on Tuesday

Pictured above: Police stand next to a trailer truck that was stolen and then used as a barricade by gunmen in San Nicolas, a city on the outskirts of Monterrey, Mexico, on March 19, 2010.

Mexico’s drug war has several epicenters. Ciudad Juarez is the most well known, at least in the northern part of the country. However, the country’s narco-insurgency is spreading to Monterrey, another northern city.

On Friday, reports Reuters, quoting Mayor Fernando Larrazabal, armed men blocked highways with trucks and buses in Monterrey in an apparent attempt to hinder Mexican Army operations near the US border. Gunmen pulled truck and bus drivers out of their vehicles and then used the vehicles to blockade four-lane highways, slashing tires to make it harder to tow them away. Similar roadblocks were set up on Thursday.

“The blockades that we are seeing … could be actions by people linked to organized crime to block avenues and delay federal, state or municipal forces in some operations,” Larrazabal told the Milenio TV network.

On Thursday groups of mainly young men brandishing pistols and sticks began blocking roads, parking trailers and SUVs across highways, smashing windows and torching some vehicles. Police stated that no one was hurt in the incidents. Only two arrests were made because the gunmen fled after setting up the roadblocks.

“The guys arrested look like gang members,” observed Luis Carlos Trevino, police chief of Nuevo Leon state, of which Monterrey is the capital. Trevino related that over a 24-hour period there had been 31 road blockades in and around Monterrey, a manufacturing city inland from the border but close to Texas.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates are slated to arrive in Mexico City on Tuesday to discuss the escalating drug violence with President Felipe Calderon. On March 14 three US citizens, including one US consular employee, were gunned down only minutes apart at two locations in Ciudad Juarez. State of Chihuahua officials suspect Los Azetecas drug gang carried out the assassinations.

We have reported that the Russian Mafia, consisting of “ex”-KGB types, is arming Mexico’s drug cartels, accelerating the country’s descent into the status of “failed state,” and that the Kremlin is disengenuously offering to help the Mexican government to suppress the insurgency. If the Soviet strategists are interested in positioning Communist Bloc troops in the US-Mexican border region, under the guise of a United Nations peacekeeping operation, then Mexico’s drug war offers a superb opportunity. Murdering US consular workers and their family members only contributes to the image of Calderon as a weak, ineffective leader, possibly providing an opening for the Mexican Left to assert itself.

>Buncha Commies Corner: 43 Massachusetts towns dumping Red Chinese sodium fluoride in water supplies, 1 community suspends use of chemical

>For many decades the “radical right” was the target of mockery by communists and their fellow travellers for alleging that the reds were planning to poison the West’s water supplies with fluoride prior to a revolutionary takeover. In recent years, many scientists, dentists, and medical professionals have actually reversed their support for the fluoridation of public water sources, which is widely practiced, supposedly to prevent tooth decay. Hence, the following news item suggests that the idea of a “red conspiracy” behind the “fluoride scare” is not so kooky after all.

Pictured above: General Jack Ripper, a character from Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove, frets about commie plots to fluoridate US water supplies and eliminate the population’s will to resist communism.

Chinese Fluoride In Mass. Water Raises Concern
Team 5 Investigates After Amesbury Pulls Sodium Fluoride From Water Supply
POSTED: 6:12 pm EST March 11, 2010 UPDATED: 10:00 am EDT March 16, 2010

AMESBURY, Mass. — Fluoride is added to the water most of us drink because the government believes it’s a safe and inexpensive way to prevent tooth decay.

However, Team 5 Investigates found the Amesbury Water Department pulled fluoride from its system amid concerns about its supply from China.

Department of Public Works Director Rob Desmarais said after he mixes the white powder with water, 40 percent of it will not dissolve.

“I don’t know what it is,” Desmarais said. “It’s not soluble, and it doesn’t appear to be sodium fluoride. So we are not quite sure what it is.”

Desmarais said the residue clogs his machines and makes it difficult to get a consistent level of fluoride in the town’s water.

Since April the fluoride pumps in Amesbury have been turned off and they will stay that way until Desmarais can find out what’s in the fluoride that’s imported from China.

Both state and federal health officials told Team 5 Investigates that Chinese fluoride is safe.

The Department of Public Health said it believes that more than 650,000 customers in 44 Massachusetts communities are getting the flouride in question and only Amesbury has temporarily stopped using it.

However, they were unable to say with certainty which of the other 43 communities are actually using the sodium fluoride from China in its water.

The fluoride from China is not used in communities getting water from the MWRA.

The New York company that supplies the fluoride said it is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation which assures the quality of the product. But the NSF said the company has never been on its certification list.

Approximately 1,000 water systems in the United States use the additive to adjust the fluoride in their water supply, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Testing continues to determine the precise composition of the residue.

“They should test it to make sure…it is safe for us to drink,” said Paul Stewart who lives in Newburyport. He said he has a right to know exactly what’s in his water.

“On the same day that I read the story about fluoride coming from China, I also read about stories about melamine that was being contaminated in milk products coming from China,” Stewart said. “And then we had another story about more lead in kids toys from China.”

Since 2007, most of the sodium fluoride has been imported from China because it’s the least expensive on the market.

“I don’t think that when it comes to something that I ingest every day that the lowest bidder is good enough,” Stewart said.

In 2005 The Epoch Times published a secret speech by Chi Haotian, Red China’s Minster of Defense and vice-chairman of the country’s Central Military Commission. Chi’s rant exposed Beijing’s intention of using biological warfare against America and casts a sinister shadow on the story of communist fluoride in Massachusetts drinking water.

>Latin America File: Chavez takes delivery of light attack jets from PRC, appoints deposed Honduran president Zelaya to head Petrocaribe council

>– Belarus’ Communist Dictator Lukashenko Begins Two-Day Visit to Venezuela

– Colombia’s Intelligence Agency Unearths Secret Nexus between FARC and Shining Path

– Portuguese Police Arrest Suspected ETA Guerrilla as He Endeavored to Board Flight from Lisbon to Caracas

On March 13 Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez took delivery of the first four of 18 K-8W military planes from the People’s Republic of China. Although utilized as trainers, the Hongdu JL-8 light attack jets are armed with machine guns, air-to-ground missiles, bombs, and rockets. The PRC designed the K-8W/JL-8 in collaboration with Pakistan. The first prototype flew in 1990. Gloating over this procurement from Red China, which augments still more weapons purchases from Russia, Chavez declared:

March 13 is a historic day for the Bolivarian anti-imperialist air force. This armament increases our military capacity for defending the sovereignty of this sacred land and of this revolution. Venezuela will be a force for good, for justice, for equality, for freedom, a socialist power, and for that we have to be well equipped. The war-fighting equipment will guard the country’s riches of water, oil, energy, gas, geographic location and its role as the cradle of the first great revolution of the 21st century.

Venezuela’s “anti-imperialist” air force already contains US-built F-16s, obtained prior to Chavez’s ascent to power in 1998, and 24 Sukhoi Su-30 fighters and 50 helicopters, obtained from Russia since then. While posing no threat to the USA, these aerial acquisitions by Caracas will presumably add to Venezuela’s ability to defend itself from a Colombian counter-attack. Chavez vows to purchase a total of 40 K-8Ws.

Venezuela’s strategic partnership with the Not-So-Former Soviet Union is evident in the state visits that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will make to Caracas this year. Unreconstructed communist Lukashenko begins a two-day trip to Venezuela today, while KGB-communist dictator Putin will visit the South American country later this month. These days Lukashenko, “Europe’s last dictator,” is busy persecuting ethnic Poles. For his part, Chavez makes yearly pilgrimages to Moscow and has also visited Minsk, the Belarusian capital. Pictured above: Chavez and Lukashenko at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, on March 15.

The political fallout from last year’s constitutional coup in Honduras continues to blow about Latin America. On March 9 Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro announced that President Hugo Chavez’s compliant lackey, deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, has been appointed to the post of head of Petrocaribe’s Political Council. Petrocaribe is a Caracas-led energy consortium that funnels cheap Venezuelan oil to client states throughout the Caribbean Basin. According to Maduro, the Political Council is designed for “the defense of the independence and democracy in the PetroCaribe continent.”

Maduro announced Zelaya’s appointment at a session of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela in Caracas. Zelaya, who was present with Maduro during the formal announcement, is living in exile in the Dominican Republic. After Zelaya was deposed in June 2009, Venezuela halted the delivery of oil to Honduras, and then suspended the country’s membership in Petrocaribe when the interim government failed to re-instate him. Honduras has since withdrawn from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, another Caracas-led initiative for exporting communism throughout Latin America. Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are two of the largest recipients of subsidized Venezuelan oil, while Cuba receives around 100,000 barrels per day under a more complex arrangement with Caracas.

The animosity of Nicaragua’s neo-Sandinista regime toward Honduras’ post-coup government is evident in its refusal to admit former interim president Roberto Micheletti into the country to meet with representatives of the opposition Constitutionalist Liberal Party. Micheletti organized the November 2009 presidential poll that led to the election of National Party candidate Porfirio Lobo. This past January, moreover, when former Sandinista guerrilla Julio Aviles became the Nicaraguan National Army’s top commander, taking over from fellow Sandinista Omar Halleslevens, the Nicaraguan military departed from historic protocol by declining to invite a military delegation from Honduras.

Several weeks ago, Chavez also inaugurated another element of his world revolutionary program, Radio del Sur (Radio of the South). Boasting a network or more than 100 radio stations in the Americas, Radio del Sur will broadcast in communist/socialist-controlled countries in Latin America like Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Uruguay; communist/socialist-controlled countries in Africa like Algeria, Angola, and Libya; former communist state Benin; communist/socialist-controlled countries in Asia like China and Vietnam; and Soviet ally Iran.

Sixty percent of the programming, explains the Cuban media, will be produced in Caracas, while the rest will be shows prepared by associated radio stations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Doubtless, Radio del Sur will “forget” to air pro-freedom, anti-communist views. The televised platform for Latin America’s Red Axis is Telesur, the board of directors of which contains renegade former Sandinistas like Ernesto Cardenal and Hollywood actor Danny Glover.

Radio del Sur will also broadcast red propaganda to listeners in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and the USA. According to Chavez, the US and Colombian governments most threaten his Bolivarian Revolution. On March 9, for example, the Venezuelan Congress’ Foreign Policy Commission ratified Foreign Minister Maduro’s statement that the country will not “repair ties” with Colombia while President Alvaro Uribe is in power.

Undaunted by the Chavezista regime’s belligerent behaviour, the Colombian government has not hesitated to expose Chavez’s subversive influence in various insurgent groups throughout the region. The Venezuelan government’s logistical and weapons support for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been copiously documented here. Chavez’s political alliance with FARC and Spain’s Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna via the Bolivarian Continental Movement has also been documented here. Incidentally, on March 12 Portuguese authorities arrested a suspected ETA operative who was carrying a Mexican passport as he endeavoured to board a flight from Lisbon to Caracas.

The Colombian intelligence agency has also unearthed a relationship between FARC and Shining Path. According to the DAS the Colombian rebels are instructing their Peruvian counterparts in the fine art of exploiting the South American cocaine trade to finance their insurgency, which soldiers on in much-diminished capacity since the capture of leader Abimael Guzman in 1992. According to Bogota’s El Tiempo, emails found on the hard drive of slain FARC commander “Raul Reyes” reveal the FARC’s intention to “strengthen” the training, political work, and armed fight of the Peruvian Maoists, who slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians in the 1980s. In April 2009 Peru’s pro-Washington government announced that it will build six anti-terrorist bases to add to those that already exist in Putumayo, on the border with Colombia.

>USSR2 File: Yanukovich yokes with communists in slavish, pro-Moscow government; appoints Russian-born PM with little facility in Ukrainian language

>On March 11 Ukraine’s new president Viktor Yanukovich strengthened his grip on power by signing a new law that circumvents the constitution, allowing him to form a governing coalition on the basis of individual legislators, rather than party factions. By picking up individual parliamentary deputies, Yanukovich’s Party of Regions created an alliance that includes the Communist Party of Ukraine, Lytvyn Bloc, and defectors from the camp of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense Bloc, which backed ex-president Viktor Yushchenko.

In 2005 the Party of Regions signed a collaboration protocol with United Russia, the crypto-Stalinist entity that fronts for the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

Peter Vanhecke, CEO for Renaissance Capital, which has clients in Ukraine, Belarus and Central and Eastern Europe, reflected on the pros and cons of Yanukovich’s new pro-Russian government:

Politically, there are some questions about the method used to establish this coalition, but I think that the market and European observers are willing to turn a blind eye for the sake of stability. Sentiment for Ukraine was extremely negative in 2009. Any sign of stability turns the market positive for investors, as they rediscover Ukraine’s upside potential. The assumption is that with a new president and loyal government, there will be more stability in Ukraine, and in relations with its big neighbours, Russia and Europe.

Yanukovich, a “former” cadre of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, also appointed slavish ally and Soviet-era technocrat Mykola Azarov as prime minister. The 62-year-old Russian-born Azarov was chief of Ukraine’s tax agency between 1996 and 2002, during which time the country’s president was “ex”-CPSU cadre Leonid Kuchma, Yanukovich’s mentor. Azarov was briefly acting prime minister during the presidential election crisis surrounding the “Orange Revolution” of 2004-2005, and finance minister during Yanukovich’s premiership between 2006 and 2007. Azarov succeeded his own mentor as head of the Party of Regions on March 3. Azarov holds an earned doctorate in geology and mineralogy from Moscow State University. In 1984, at the age of 37, he moved to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Azarov has a poor command of the Ukrainian language, a deficiency that Yanukovich’s detractors have exploited.

Opposition groups branded Yanukovich’s machinations a “constitutional coup” and declared that they would challenge his government in Ukraine’s constitutional court. However, Kiev’s small stock market rallied in recent days at the prospect of political stability, gaining about 8 per cent. On Wednesday Azarov pledged to stabilize Ukraine’s economy and renew cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, which scuttled a US$16.4 billion bail-out package last year.

Incidentally, it does not appear that any cadres of the Communist Party of Ukraine hold portfolios in Azarov’s cabinet. This could change in the future as the Soviet strategists become bolder.

Only 10 days after his inauguration, Yanukovich dutifully presented himself in Moscow on March 5, where he met Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev (pictured above). There the Ukrainian president no doubt assured his masters that Kiev will not be joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as advocated by Yushchenko. “I see my objective in making a sharp turn in relations between Russia and Ukraine, in the right direction,” rumbled Yanukovich, who campaigned on a Russia-friendly platform. Although he denies that Ukraine will also join the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, Yanukovich is in fact falling over himself to bring Ukraine back into the Soviet orbit. Kiev will roll out the red carpet (pun intended) for Medvedev’s state visit to Kiev before mid-year.

Barely three days after the run-off vote that finally secured Yanukovich’s victory, forfeited in 2004 by the Ukrainian Supreme Court, the Moscow Leninists could barely contain their glee. Komsomolskaya Pravda, a Russian government daily, quoted General Alexander Zelin, commander of the Russian Air Force, as saying that Russia intends to conduct military exercises not only with Ukraine, but also with Belarus, Armenia, Uzbekistan, and other former Soviet Bloc states. Komsomolskaya Pravda admitted that since the “pro-Russian” Yanukovich clinched the presidential elections in Ukraine, “joint military exercises are likely to happen more often.” The tabloid gushed: “The vast air space will fit both [nations] again.”

On Saturday Yanukovich promised that Ukraine will join the Unified Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, but only on the conditions set by the World Trade Organization, which Ukraine joined in 2008. “We have fallen far behind in this process [the creation of the economic space],” Yanukovich explained in an interview with Russia’s Vesti TV channel. In December 2009 Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan agreed to create a single economic space by January 1, 2012. The customs union of the three “former” Soviet republics began on January 1, 2010. Like the Union State of Russia and Belarus, the Unified Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan is another building block for the planned restoration of the Soviet Union.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Medvedev visits Paris, Sarkozy sells out NATO, gives formal consent to Russian Navy’s Mistral acquisition

> – Russian Defense Ministry Denies Mass Media Reports that Ground Forces Seeking to Purchase 1,000 Italian-Built APCs

– Former Soviet Cosmonaut, Communist Duma Deputy Urges Kremlin to Steal Western Military Secrets

– EU Foreign Minister Drops Opposition to Euro-Army HQ in Brussels, Baroness Ashton Activist in Campaign for Nuclear Disarmanent (CND) in 1980s

– CND Founder, Former Labour Party Leader Michael Foot on KGB Payroll, Exposed as Agent “Boot” by KGB Defector Oleg Gordievsky; Foot Died March 3

The French Ministry of Surrender is busy these days waving the white flag. On March 3 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev wrapped up a two-day official visit to France with a state dinner in the Elysee Palace hosted by President Nicolas Sarkozy. One of the main events on the “menu” was the opening of a “Holy Russia” exhibition in the Louvre Museum, an event that officially inaugurated the Russia-France Cross Cultural Year.

Together Medvedev and Sarkozy praised the burgeoning Moscow-Paris Axis, which includes France’s participation in the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline project under the Baltic Sea, and bilateral cooperation in space, energy, high technology, and medicine. Next month the Russian Federal Space Agency is scheduled to launch its first rockets from French Guiana. We have already speculated that the Soviets could theoretically lob ICBMs at the Continental USA from this platform in South America.

Meanwhile, Medvedev continued to push his concept of “European security,” a Soviet plot to completely undermine the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by combining its mandate and forces with those of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which embraces a number of Not-So-Former Soviet republics. Medvedev also held talks with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and the heads of the two houses of the French parliament.

Since NATO’s inception after the Second World War, France has asserted an independent role in that organization. Nothing has substantially changed in the 21st century. Even as Sarkozy cautiously brings his country back under NATO’s military command, he concurrently supports the creation of an integrated European army devoid of any US influence. The Soviet strategists have taken advantage of France’s prideful streak to drive a deep wedge into the North Atlantic Alliance. Following the Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008 Sarkozy placed his imprimatur on the deeply flawed truce that led to Russia’s occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, even as Moscow and Belgrade growled over Kosovo’s NATO-backed secession from Serbia. In truth, French pride has become treasonous, endangering the rest of NATO.

Central to bilateral relations between Moscow and Paris is the French government’s formal consent to sell a Mistral amphibious assault ship to Russia, as well as coordinate the production of three more such vessels under license in Russian shipyards. Negotiations began last summer and if the deal is clinched this month then the contract may exceed 1.2 billion euros. The 200-meter-long Mistral can transport 900 naval infantry troops, or 40 tanks, 15 heavy or 35 light helicopters, landing barges, and speed boats. The ship can not only support amphibious operations, but also independently engage in warfare. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have articulated their fears that Russia will use the French-built helicopter carriers to re-invade their countries.

Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy director of the Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, admits that Russia’s looming acquisition and construction of four Mistrals will greatly enhance the Russian Navy’s war-fighting capacity: “Perhaps, it’s really worth beginning by purchasing large aircraft carriers such as Mistral and then pump out funds for escort ships our Navy badly needs today.”

Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council and former chief of the Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB), acknowledged that the Kremlin is looking into both options: build at home or buy abroad. This week he told reporters: “We can really build a similar ship in our country but this will take time, and we can really buy it abroad, but this requires money. It is too premature to say which view will prevail.”

In a recent meeting with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Sarkozy, a putative rightist, dismissed White House concerns about the danger of selling the Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia. “We can’t expect Russia to behave as a partner if we don’t treat it as a partner,” protested Sarkozy lamely.

For his part, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is nonchalant toward NATO member France’s cozy alliance with “former” enemy Russia and, indeed, chastises Russia’s immediate neighbours, all of which are “former” Soviet republics, for looking askance at the Mistral deal.

Although the patriotism of many Russians is wounded by the acquisition of foreign military equipment in the face of a flagging defense industry, the Soviet strategists clearly view Russian military strength in an opportunistic light. In an interview published by Paris Match, ahead of his visit to the French capital, Medvedev stated: “Even though Russia is one of the world’s major suppliers of all kinds of military hardware, from the Kalashnikov assault rifle to the S-300 missile defense batteries, it wants to learn from other countries’ experience to keep its defense industry in a competitive environment.” Paris Match quoted Russia’s top general Nikolai Makarov as affirming that his country will move ahead with the Mistral purchase.

In response to angry queries from State Duma deputies affiliated with the open communist party, Sergei Ivanov, one of several deputy prime ministers, recently acknowledged that Russia is seeking to purchase military hardware abroad. State-run Voice of Russia admitted that “The purchases are needed to upgrade Russia’s defense industry, which is lagging behind the West, particularly in ship-building. In crisis-hit 2009 the government channelled more than 100 billion rubles to defense enterprises. Communists fear that purchasing military hardware abroad may produce a negative impact on the country’s defense capacity.” An official spokesentity for the Defense Ministry Alexei Kuznetsov, however, has denied mass media reports that the Russian Ground Forces intend to buy 1,000 Italian-built Iveco armored personnel carriers.

As noted above, representatives of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) are feigning disapproval of the Kremlin’s intent to purchase the French helicopter carriers. On March 10 former Soviet cosmonaut and CPRF deputy Svetlana Savitskaya complained:

A few days ago Russia almost signed an agreement with France to purchase the Mistral. Following the conflict in South Ossetia in August 2008, Russia bought reconnaissance drones from Israel, and today it is ready to purchase the Mistral from France. It looks like that some members of the [Russian] government are lobbying for this deal. A slow process of purchases of military hardware abroad has started, which will negatively impact Russia’s defense potential.

Her patriotism and “internationalism” offended, Savitskaya ironically urged Russia’s putative rulers to utilize the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces (GRU) to pinch Western military secrets: “Have we forgotten how to make military hardware? And if we do not know certain secrets that other countries know, what is our military-technological intelligence service for? Cabinet Ministers! Give it this task!”

The demise of NATO following a feigned implosion of the Soviet Bloc was clearly predicted in KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn’s first book New Lies for Old (1984). Truly, it can be concluded that the North Atlantic Alliance does not perceive the neo-Soviet threat and cannot be trusted to adequately defend Europe and North America from future Russian aggression.

>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.