>WW4 File: North Korea bolsters forces near DMZ with 100 multiple-launch rockets and 200 tanks, new SK DM threatens air strikes

>Pictured here: South Korean soldiers carrying boxes of food arrive on Yeonpyeong Island on Saturday, December 4, 2010.

News Updates

– Kim Kwan-jin, South Korea’s Minister of National Defense-Designate, said yesterday that Seoul is prepared to launch air strikes and “punish the attacker thoroughly” should North Korea instigate further military provocations (source)

– A SK government source told the JoongAng Ilbo that the Korean People’s Army had recently augmented their forces along the Demilitarized Zone with 100 more multiple-launch rockets and 200 more tanks

>Mexican Narco-State File: UN climate summit kicks off in Cancun as police arrest heavily armed would-be kidnappers, authorities smother story

>– WikiLeaks: President Calderon to US National Intelligence Director Blair: Links between Iran, Venezuela, Drug Trafficking, and Mexico’s Democratic Revolutionary Party (source)

– More than 100,000 Residents of Ciudad Juarez Flee Drug War, Seek Refuge in USA since 2008

– Narcistas Gun Down Their First Female Police Chief near Ciudad Juarez, Garcia in Post for 50 Days

– Mexico’s Men Cower as Housewives and Rookie Officer Step Forward to Fill Top Cop Roles in Chihuahua’s Embattled Police Departments

Mexico’s besieged authorities are worried that the country’s powerful drug cartels may disrupt the 12-day United Nations summit on climate change that kicked off in Cancun on Monday. The resort city on the Yucatan Peninsula, according to the Canadian media, has been “mostly immune” to the narco-insurgency in the northern and Pacific coast states. However, the recent explosion at a hotel in Playa del Carmen that killed five Canadians, prompting the opening of a homicide case; allegations that a former Cancun mayor with Cuban connections helped to protect two drug cartels; and the unearthing of 12 torture-and-murder victims in graves just outside Cancun this past summer have shaken up the region’s hospitality industry.

More troubling still, at least for the UN summit organizers, is a news story, first published on November 22, in which Mexican police arrested heavily armed men who had detailed plans of the security arrangements for the summit. Accompanying the plans were photographs of the Moon Palace Hotel, one of the conference venues, and lists of police and army checkpoints. The Mexican government later insisted that the reports were false, but this did not stop news agencies from “running” with the story.

Toronto-based terrorism expert Alan Bell commented: “It is especially important in a country where crime is outpacing the government’s ability to react and respond to it. Delegates attending the Cancun summit are potential targets for extremists and narco-terrorists.” Pointing to the type of mass disobedience that occurred at the recent G20 summit in Toronto, Bell wondered how Mexico would handle such a threat.

Meanwhile, this week narcistas gunned down two police chiefs, including Alvaro Gilberto Torres Ramirez, head of the Ciudad Juarez police department, and Hermila Garcia Quinones, head of the Meoqui police department in Chihuahua state. Both Torres, who was killed on Wednesday, and Garcia, who was killed on Monday, were ambushed in their personal vehicles.

Garcia held her position for only 50 days and had received no previous death threats. She is one of many brave women in Chihuahua, including two housewives, who have stepped forward in recent months to assume police posts that many men are too scared to occupy. In October, a 20-year-old male cadet was the only candidate for police chief of Praxedis G. Guerrero, near Ciudad Juarez.

The body count in Mexico’s drug war grew elsewhere too. On a ranch near the town of Palomas, in the same state and across the border from Big Bend National Park in Texas, soldiers unearthed 20 bodies, one of which was identified as a US citizen. The discovery came only hours after Garcia’s assassination. It was not immediately clear when the killings took place.

Since the summer, when police arrested Texas-born Edgar (“La Barbie”) Valdez Villarreal, alleged boss of the Beltran Leyva cartel, now awaiting extradition to the USA, Mexican authorities have scored several such victories. Several weeks ago, authorities nabbed Carlos Montemayor, Valdez’s replacement.

On November 22, police surrounded a house in Morelia, capital of Michoacan state, and arrested Jose Alfredo Landa, alleged boss of La Familia cartel, the country’s main trafficker of methamphetamine. In 2006, La Familia made headlines by rolling severed heads into a discotheque in the city of Uruapan and, in June 2010, by ambushing and killing 12 federal police.

On December 1, federal police captured Eduardo Ramirez Valencia, a regional boss of Los Zetas, which is vying with the Gulf cartel to control the state of Tamaulipas (pictured above). According to regional security chief Luis Cardenas, Ramirez collaborated with Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, alleged leader of the Zetas, by handling smuggling operations between Panama and the Dominican Republic.

Mexico’s drug war has led to the long-feared tragedy and crisis of refugees, some fleeing northward to the USA, others internally displaced. In Ciudad Juarez, more than 5,000 families have abandoned their homes in the last six months, bringing to a total of 230,000 the number of residents who have fled the border city since 2008. The independent Safety and Civic Coexistence Observatory estimates that more than one half of these refugees have sought refuge in the USA. Ciudad Juarez, which is located across the border from El Paso, Texas, suffers an average of eight murders a day and has registered 2,700 murders this year and nearly 8,000 homicides since the beginning of 2008.

The teachers and administrators of Ciudad Juarez’s schools also live in fear of the mafias, especially since a series of graffiti messages appeared on school walls, threatening attacks if teachers do not hand over their Christmas bonuses. Chihuahua state Governor Cesar Duarte traveled to Juarez to speak out against the threats. “We could not ever allow what is being signaled, even with the severity of the security crisis, but an attempt is being made to destroy the integrity and the tranquility of the teachers, the principals, the parents and the children,” he said. “To the criminals we say that whoever dares to extort will face life imprisonment.”

Large northern cities like Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and Reynosa have suffered a total or near-total breakdown in law and order. The Gulf cartel and the Zetas are presently fighting for control of Mexico’s third-largest and wealthiest city, Monterrey. “The deterioration happened nearly overnight,” explains the AP news agency, “laying bare issues that plague the entire country–a lack of credible policing and the Mexican habit of looking the other way at the drug trade as long as it was orderly and peaceful.” Last week, the Mexican government announced that it would increase the army presence in Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, home to Monterrey.

“When warfare erupted between the Gulf cartel and the Zetas,” explains US ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual, “there was no viable law enforcement [in Monterrey] to counter the onslaught. The Zetas control the local police.” Other police forces aligned with the Gulf cartel in the turf war. Nearly one half of the 750 police officers in Monterrey have been fired on suspicion of links to organized crime. “Rather than becoming part of the solution, they [the police] become part of the problem,” Pascual said.

In Monterrey more than 500 people died in drug violence during the first 10 months of 2010, compared to 56 slayings for all of 2009. Daily routines are frequently interrupted by carjackings and narcobloqueos, in which narco-traffickers block roads with stolen vehicles to hold off police and soldiers while the cartels conduct “transactions.”

In March, two students at the prestigious Monterrey Tech University died when they were caught in a gunfight between soldiers and gunmen near the campus. Five months later, the US State Department ordered diplomats to remove their children from the area after a shooting outside the American Foundation School, a private school attended by many US children and the children of Monterrey’s wealthiest families.

With the promise of regular military patrols, the residents of Ciudad Mier, Tamaulipas, have begun to cautiously return to their bullet-scarred homes, and re-open schools and businesses. Nine months of gun battles between the Gulf cartel and the Zetas forced most of the city’s 6,000 inhabitants to flee to Mexico’s first shelter for drug war refugees, in neighboring Miguel Aleman.

Joint US-Mexican efforts to halt cross-border narco-trafficking led to a small victory last Thursday when police from both countries discovered a nearly half-mile long drug tunnel and seized over 20 tons of marijuana. The tunnel had two entrances on the US side, some 800 feet apart in the Otay Mesa industrial complex in southern San Diego, where another major tunnel was found on November 4.

The southern end of the tunnel, which was almost 40 feet underground, emerged in Tijuana, inside a residence outfitted with a garage large enough to handle deliveries by tractor trailer truck. The newly discovered tunnel was equipped with “advanced rail, electrical and ventilation systems,” US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement.

At least eight people were arrested, including three in the USA. “This discovery again shows the cartels’ growing desperation in the face of beefed up border security and the costly extremes these organizations are trying,” remarked the chief US investigator in this case, Miguel Unzueta. US officials explained the tunnel was located after ICE investigators grew suspicious about a tractor trailer parked near an Otay Mesa warehouse. After stopping and searching the truck, they discovered some 27,600 pounds of marijuana on board. A similar set of circumstances led to the finding and closure of the previous drug tunnel.

Since the beginning of 2010, authorities have found a dozen tunnels used for drug and immigrant smuggling near San Diego-Tijuana, the busiest crossing along the US-Mexican border. In past years, the US Border Patrol and security experts have noted that international terrorists could readily use drug/human smuggling tunnels as conduits to secrete weapons of mass destruction into the USA. The lawless states of northern Mexico, some of which have coastal access, like Tamaulipas and Sinaloa, make this a particularly acute threat.

>Neo-Sandinista File: Ortega to implement martial law, emergency powers; army commander denounces Honduran-Colombian-Costa Rican “conspiracy”

>– Ortega Demands Rush Approval of Bills that Revive First Sandinista Regime’s State of Emergency between 1982 and 1988

– Nicaragua and Costa Rica Trade Accusations of Aggression, Environmental Damage in Formal “White Papers”

– President Chinchilla Backtracks on Promise to OAS, Sends National Police Back to Disputed Border, Urges Costa Ricans to Enlist in Armed Forces Reserves

Pictured above: Ortega addresses troops during Soldado de la Patria (Motherland Soldier), an anniversary event for the Nicaraguan Army.

It is clear that Daniel Ortega has no intention of allowing his tyrannical ambitions to be challenged, even if it is at the expense of the security of the people of Nicaragua and the stability of their democracy.
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, US Congresswoman (Republican-Florida), statement made in April 2010

And, so, while the shopping mall regime naively believes Ronald Reagan made Central America safe for democracy 20 years ago, according to the Dutch media, “President Daniel Ortega has asked Nicaraguan lawmakers to pass emergency laws to give him greater power to mobilize troops, amid a surge in tensions over a border row with Costa Rica.” Knowing fully that the 1995 constitution prevents him from running for re-election next year, KGB asset Ortega is using every trick in the communist playbook to re-consolidate his dictatorship.

On Tuesday afternoon, with less than three days left before Nicaragua’s National Assembly breaks for a year-end recess, reports the Tico Times, President Daniel Ortega submitted three bills requiring urgent approval. The three bills, titled “National Defense Law,” “National Security Law,” and “Border Law” seek to expand the government’s military powers in times of “national emergency.” In addition to new defense and security measures, the bills place restrictions on property rights.

In a telephone interview, Jose Pallais, opposition legislator and president of the National Assembly’s Judicial Affairs Commission, asserted: “These bills give the impression that Ortega is preparing for war. Instead of creating the image of a civil country, these initiatives give the image of a warmongering country. This is very dangerous.” The “Border Law” bill specifically designates all land within 15 kilometers of international borders “national territory” in cases requiring “special treatment for the protection of the environment, culture and socioeconomic development.”

“This could be used to appropriate land,” predicted Pallais, who acknowledged that other countries have land-use restrictions along borders, but insisted that 15 kilometers was “disproportionately large.” He concluded that the Border Law bill “could be interpreted as an effort to establish the legal foundation needed to appropriate land around the San Juan River for whatever project the government might be secretly planning in the zone.”

Last week, Ortega admitted that his government intends to build a transoceanic canal, a prospect that led to the US invasion of Nicaragua in 1912 and a subsequent 21-year occupation that was challenged by guerrilla leader Augusto Sandino. The fact that several weeks ago, too, Costa Rican authorities arrested 86 Nicaraguans fleeing army enlistment lends some credence to the above reports.

More ominously, the provisions of the “National Defense Law” bill hearken back to the state of emergency by which the Sandinista National Liberation Front suppressed “counter-revolutionaries” and “Somozistas” between 1982 and 1988. Article 22 of the proposed bill reads:

When the president of the republic and council of ministers decree a state of emergency for reasons of conflict or public calamity and order the mobilization of forces, means and public goods, the institutions and regional and municipal governments, as well as their public employees, will become part of the utility for defense of the supreme interests and strategic national objectives, and by express orders of the president of the republic will be under the control of the National Army for the amount of time that the state of emergency lasts.

Former president Arnoldo Aleman, who cut a sordid political deal with Ortega in 1999 called “El Pacto,” commented: “It appears that Ortega is trying to reestablish the state security and mandatory military service that existed during the leftist Sandinista revolutionary government he led from 1979 to 1990.”

On a technicality, opposition lawmakers were able to postpone the vote on Ortega’s rush legislation until Monday, December 6, but the FSLN commands a slim majority in the National Assembly. Therefore, it is expected that the bills will pass both the first and second readings, which will likely take place on the same day.

Meanwhile, Nicaragua’s top general, Julio Aviles Castillo, a former Sandinista guerrilla, has painted a black portrait in which his country is the victim of an international conspiracy masterminded by the governments of Honduras, Costa Rica, and Colombia. The object of these “expansionist interests” is to seize Nicaraguan territory, especially along the San Juan River. Aviles, in the company of the Nicaraguan president, delivered his comments during the commemoration ceremony of the Soldado de la Patria (Motherland Soldier).

At this time, Aviles put in a plug for Ortega’s 76-page white paper “exposing” Costa Rica’s fabrications in the border row, Truths Hidden by Costa Rica. Among other remarks, he also condemned Honduras’ security minister, Oscar Alvarez, for alleging that Nicaragua is training and arming 3,000 guerrillas to overthrow President Porfirio Lobo Sosa and re-install Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a military-backed parliamentary coup in 2009.

Costa Rica has responded with its own counter-propaganda by releasing La verdad sobre la incursión, ocupación, uso y daños del territorio costarricense por parte de Nicaragua. At an event marking the country’s 62 years without an armed forces, President Laura Chinchilla, contrary to promises made to the Organization of American States, announced that she would be sending the national police back to the disputed border, urged Costa Ricans to join the armed forces reserves, and requested that the Public Security Ministry “accelerate” the training of border police.

>WW4 File: SK, USA to hold more naval exercises in Dec., US Navy requests transfer of 30,000 tons of jet fuel from Japan to SK

> Pictured here: More South Korean soldiers arrive on Yeonpyeong Island after last week’s shelling by North Korean artillery.


News Updates

– South Korean intelligence chief warns “high possibility” North will attack South again (source)

– USA and SK plan more military drills for December after current naval exercise wraps up on Wednesday (source)

– SK to conduct week-long live-fire naval drills at multiple locations around the country (source)

– USA and Japan to hold joint naval maneuvers between December 3 and 10, Tokyo facing renewed territorial disputes with Russia and Red China (source)

– US Navy requests transfer of 30,000 tons of jet fuel from Japan to SK, Pentagon insists request is “routine” (source)

– The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson begins a scheduled seven-month deployment to the western Pacific and Persian Gulf regions (source)

>Latin America File: Russian communist leaders fete Cuban parliamentary president, re-consolidate Cold War-era links; Alarcon wraps up PRC visit

>“Post”-communist Russia continues to re-consolidate political linkages with Cuba and Nicaragua, as well as build relations with leftist regimes that came to power in Latin America “after” the Cold War.

On Monday, Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power, met with Boris Gryzlov, speaker of the Russian State Duma, in Moscow (pictured above). Although a member of the potemkin ruling party United Russia, Gryzlov, like Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, began his career in the Soviet Komsomol. Together Alarcon and Gryzlov reviewed the state of bilateral and interparliamentary relations between the two communist countries.

Before talks with his Russian counterpart, Alarcon will meet with the vice president of the Duma, Ivan Melnikov, who is also vice chairman of the Central Committee of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), legal heir of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Melnikov welcomed the Cuban leader upon his arrival in Russia last Friday.

On Saturday, Alarcon attended a solidarity event at the Cuban embassy, where Cuban and Russian children recited poems and songs in Spanish, dedicated to the Cuban “martyrs” of the 1959 revolution. During this activity, Alarcon acknowledged his appreciation of Russia’s opposition to the 50-year-old US economic blockade and support for the release of five Cuban “antiterrorist fighters” (espionage agents) imprisoned in US federal prisons.

Alarcon’s agenda also includes a meeting in the Duma with the general secretary of the CPRF, Gennady Zyuganov, and with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. On Wednesday, Alarcón will travel to St. Petersburg, where he will meet senior leaders of this city and the Leningrad region.

The fact that Russia’s Communist Party leaders, who technically are in opposition, are feting the Cuba’s parliamentary president on behalf of the Russian state shouts volumes. Indeed, it proves that Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, an “ex”-cadre of the CPSU, are more than comfortable with letting (their masters) Zyuganov and Melnikov carry out Kremlin foreign policy with Russia’s most important ally in the Western Hemisphere.

The People’s Republic of China also enjoys warm relations with fellow communist state Cuba. Prior to showing up in Moscow, Alarcon rubbed elbows with the Butchers of Beijing, perhaps with the intention of seeking inspiration for Havana’s proposed economic reforms.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: PRC boosts Venezuela’s airlift capacity with Shaanxi Y-8 sale, Moscow extends US$4 billion weapons loan to Caracas

>– Chavez and Ortega Take Step toward Forming “Anti-Imperialist Army” by Establishing ALBA Defense School in Bolivia

Pictured here: Leaders of the eight-nation Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas meet in Caracas on April 19, 2010.

Over the weekend, the state-run Bolivarian News Agency announced that Venezuela will buy up to 12 Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft from the People’s Republic of China. “These Y-8s will provide support for the operations of our C-130 Hercules transport planes…that have a range covering South America and to the north of Spain,” explained Major General Jorge Oropeza last Friday.

Oropeza continued: “Negotiations for the purchase of the Y-8s are in the hands of the Defense Ministry and it is hoped that these aircraft will be delivered to Venezuela sometime next year.” Oropeza indicated that the K-8 aircraft and JL11 radar systems that Caracas has also purchased from Beijing will be on display at the main ceremony marking the 90th anniversary of the Venezuelan air force.

The Y-8 aircraft is a medium-sized, medium-range transport aircraft produced by Shaanxi Aircraft Company and based on the Soviet Antonov An-12. It is one of the PRC’s most popular military and civilian transport/cargo aircraft, with many variants produced and exported. The An-12 is no longer made in Ukraine, but the Y-8 continues to be upgraded and produced. The Y-8 is capable of carrying 20 tons of cargo, as well as 96 soldiers or 82 paratroopers, dropping supplies, and functioning as an air ambulance. This means the Venezuelan air force will by 2011 be able to deploy 1,000 paratroopers, in addition to the nearly 400 airborne infantry that its six US-built Lockheed C-130 Hercules planes can currently transport.

The announcement follows a visit earlier this month to Caracas by General Chen Bingde, chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and the shipments earlier this year of 18 K-8 trainer/light attack aircraft and JL11 radar systems. On November 11, Chen led a high-ranking PLA delegation from Beijing on a three-nation tour of South America that not only took him to Venezuela, but also Ecuador and Peru. Ecuador’s socialist President Rafael Correa is closely aligned with Caracas, while Peru’s social democratic President Alan Garcia is closely aligned with the USA.

In General Chen’s entourage was Zhu Jinlin, commander of the PLA Xinjiang Military Area Command (MAC); Hou Jizhen, chief of staff of the PLA Shenyang MAC; Jia Xiaowei, chief of staff of the PLA Guangzhou MAC; Lin Jianchao, director of the General Office of the PLA General Staff Headquarters; Liu Zheng, chief of staff of the Headquarters of the PLA General Logistics Department; and Ci Guowei, deputy director-general of the Foreign Affair Office of the Ministry of National Defense.

This past September, Red China’s defense minister visited Mexico City, where he promoted bilateral military cooperation with President Felipe Calderon’s government, which is struggling to contain a major narco-insurgency, and contributed a PLA honor guard to celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence.

Thus, in light of the Y-8 purchase, if Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez wishes to intervene in any potential conflict in South America, Central America (like Honduras?), or the Caribbean Basin, his military will have the technology to do so. Before instigating two failed coups d’etat in 1992, Chavez was himself a paratrooper.

Incidentally, Venezuela’s fleet of 20 US-built F-16 fighters has fallen into disrepair since Washington imposed a military sales embargo in 2006. Since then, Chavez has augmented his air force with 24 Russian-built Sukhoi Su-30 multi-role strike fighters.

Last week, following a recent annual pilgrimage to Moscow, the Kremlin extended another, US$4 billion loan to Caracas for the purpose of acquiring additional armament from Russia. Venezuela has become Russia’s most important client state and energy partner in the Western Hemisphere. “We were in Russia not long ago and the Russian government has now given us a $4 billion credit to help us with defense equipment,” boasted Chavez said on Saturday at a ceremony to celebrate the Venezuela’s air force’s 90th anniversary. “We are simply doing the task of defending the fatherland from the threat of [the US] empire and its allies.”

In April, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin revealed that Venezuela intends to order up to another US$5 billion in weapons via state-run Rosoboronexport. Venezuela is awaiting delivery of T-72 tanks and air defense systems from Russia. Fearing an imaginary US-led invasion, Chavez has announced that he will deploy both the tanks and air defense systems along the Colombian border, although relations with Bogota have improved somewhat since the departure of President Alvaro Uribe.

On Saturday, per an earlier threat, Chavez promoted General Henry Rangel Silva to the highest rank in the army. Rangel Silva is on the US State Department’s “drug kingpin” list because of accusations he has helped the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia smuggle cocaine. Chavez retorts that such charges are motivated by Washington’s ongoing campaign to discredit his socialist government.

In a related story, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, a bloc of socialist states led by Havana and Caracas, has taken a small but important step toward forming an “anti-imperialist army.” Bolivia’s defense minister Ruben Saavedra was quoted by state radio as saying that ALBA will establish a defense school in Bolivia. The military doctrine and academic content will be developed in concert with member states Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Chavez and Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega first floated the idea of a pan-Latin American military in 2007.

Other states with socialist or social democratic regimes that hold observer status in ALBA are (formerly communist) Grenada, Haiti, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Syria.

>WW4 File: USA, SK, Japan reject Beijing proposal for talks re. N. Korea, civil defense officials prepare 4,000 shelters for Seoul residents

>Pictured here: A Super Hornet jet fighter lined up for a landing on the aircraft carrier USS George Washington yesterday during a joint exercise with South Korea in the waters south of Yeonpyeong Island.

News Updates

– USA, South Korea, Japan reject Beijing’s proposal for emergency talks regarding North Korea, White House refuses to “reward” Pyongyang’s provocative behavior (source)

– South Korean civil defense officials preparing nearly 4,000 emergency shelters, gas masks, air purification machinery for some 20 million residents of Seoul (source)

– North Korea warns of “all-out war any time” if US and SK navies continue exercise in Yellow Sea (source)

>WW4 File: SK military to resume routine drill on Yeonpyeong, exercise provoked NK to shell island last Tuesday

>Pictured here: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak speaks during a televised address on Monday, November 29, 2010.

“The South Korean military,” reports the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, “is expected to resume a routine drill on Yeonpyeong Island soon. The drill was suspended after the island near the maritime border between the 2 Koreas came under artillery attack from North Korea last week.” The same source points out:

The military on Monday ordered residents on the island to evacuate so that the artillery drill can resume. North Korea had been protesting the drill, prompting it to bombard the South Korean island last Tuesday. The resumption of the drill is likely to escalate the tension between the 2 countries.

As Washington sends a stern message to Pyongyang by way of a joint naval drill with Seoul, diplomatic arm-twisting takes place behind close doors:

Meanwhile, the US and South Korean joint naval exercise in the Yellow Sea off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula enter its 3rd day on Tuesday.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington and Aegis-equipped destroyers are rehearsing the interception of enemy vessels and aircraft that intrude into South Korean airspace or territorial waters.

On Monday, South Korean President Lee Myung Bak announced his determination to resolutely deal with further North Korean provocations. But the South has no real power to contain the North’s military threat.

South Korea will send Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan to an international conference in the central Asian country of Kazakhstan from Wednesday in a bid to rally support from countries such as the US and Russia.

The same article concludes: “North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly Chairman Choe Thae Bok is expected to visit China on Tuesday to engage in frank discussions with Chinese leaders.” During this communist tete-a-tete the Korean Workers’ Party will discover whether the Communist Party of China intends to throw North Korea to the capitalist “wolves.”

>WW4 File: SK DM: South Korean, US forces will "immediately" strike North Korean targets should Pyongyang launch another attack

>Pictured here: Members of the Republic of Korea’s National Emergency Management Agency check gas masks as they inspect emergency evacuation facilities in a Seoul subway, on Sunday, November 28, 2010.

On Monday, November 29, 2010, the Korea Times reported: “Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said Monday that fighter jets and warships of South Korean and U.S. forces will immediately strike North Korean targets should the North launch an attack on the South’s soil again.” Strong language from South Korea’s DM. Seoul better follow through or the Pyongyang communists will grow ever bolder.

Since it shelled the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong last Tuesday, killing two marines and two civilians, the Korean People’s Army has deployed surface-to-air missiles on its Yellow Sea coast. “The missiles appear to be targeting our fighter jets that fly near the Northern Limit Line,” a South Korean source told Yonhap news agency.

>WW4 File: Koreas on brink of war: News updates from Yonhap

>Pictured here: File photo of USS George Washington, which is taking part in US-South Korean naval drill in the Yellow Sea.

News updates from Yonhap for morning of November 28, 2010 (MDT):

Chinese government to make `urgent` announcement 11-28 14:46
(2nd LD) Chinese government to make `urgent` announcement 11-28 15:19
(URGENT) Explosion sounds of artillery fire heard on Yeonpyeong Island, official says 11-28 11:43
(URGENT) S. Korea`s military spots signs of N. Korean artillery firing: official 11-28 11:51
N. Korea deploys SA-2 surface-to-air missiles near Yellow Sea border 11-28 10:26

S. Korean artillery mistakenly fired on DMZ 11-28 17:18
(URGNET) Emergency evacuation order issued for civilians on Yeonpyeong Island, official says 11-28 11:26
(URGENT) S. Korea`s military lifts evacuation order on Yeonpyeong Island: official 11-28 12:00
(LEAD) S. Korea evacuates islanders on signs of N. Korean shelling 11-28 11:57
(URGENT) Pres. Lee made clear to Chinese official resumption of six-way talks ˝not timely˝: Cheong Wa Dae 11-28 17:54

(URGENT) China calls for early resumption of six-party nuke talks 11-28 17:50
President to address nation Monday on N.K. attack of border island 11-28 14:00
(2nd LD) Signs of N. Korea`s artillery firing detected: South`s military 11-28 12:48
S. Korea asks journalists to leave Yeonpyeong Island 11-28 15:24
(LEAD) S. Korean artillery mistakenly fired on DMZ 11-28 18:13

North says Korean Peninsula in state of `ultra-emergency` 11-28 19:02
S. Korea clarifies objection to early resumption of six-way talks 11-28 18:15
Top Chinese official makes abrupt visit to S. Korea amid tension over N. Korean attack 11-27 23:22
S. Korea orders civilians on Yeonpyeong Island to evacuate to shelters 11-28 11:39
(LEAD) Chinese government to make `urgent` announcement

>WW4 File: Koreas on brink of war: 1,000 SK military vets rally in Seoul, burn, trample NK flag, demand revenge for attack on Yeonpyeong Island

>News Updates

– Pyongyang recalls 20,000 North Korean workers in Far East Russia to support war preparations (source)

– NK conducts artillery tests as US military commander visits South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island, where NK shells killed four people last Tuesday (source)

– SK military was aware of NK’s redeployment of 122-mm Multiple Launch Rocket System to coastal artillery base prior to the shelling of Yeonpyeong, SK artillery responded in wrong direction (source)

– As marines laid to rest, 1,000 South Korean military veterans, former special forces, rally in Seoul, burn and trample NK flag and portrait of Kim Jong-Il (source)

– SK and USA to launch large-scale naval exercises in Yellow Sea on Sunday, continue through Wednesday; USS George Washington aircraft carrier, with more than 6,000 sailors and 75 fighter jets aboard, to join drill (source)

Just in time for Christmas: Korean War 2.

>Latin America File: Honduras’ security minister alleges Nicaragua training, arming 3,000 guerrillas; Sandinistas to overthrow Lobo, re-install Zelaya

>Has the Cold War returned in earnest to Central America? Do Central American communists have unfinished business with the region’s bourgeoisie and other US “lackeys”? With the re-election to the Nicaraguan presidency of Daniel Ortega in 2006, this may be the case, especially if our main story below is confirmed by other sources.

Ever since the military-backed parliamentary coup that toppled Honduras’ socialist president Manuel Zelaya in June 2009, there have been indications that the Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis is determined to restore Hugo Chavez’s slavish follower. Within 24 hours of Zelaya’s ouster, Venezuela’s communist dictator threatened to hurl his fairly substantial armed forces against Honduras if the interim government harmed his diplomats in Tegucigalpa.

Within days, Nicaragua’s past/present communist dictator Daniel Ortega was hosting a Red Axis strategy session attended by Zelaya, Chavez, and Cuba’s communist dictator Raul Castro in Managua. For several months thereafter, Zelaya used Managua as a base of operations to try to illegally re-enter his homeland. In July, Honduras’ de facto president Roberto Micheletti asserted that Nicaragua had deployed troops to their common border, a charge that both Ortega and the Sandinista-controlled Nicaraguan army denied.

In September, Ortega issued an emergency decree permitting a small contingent of Venezuelan troops, warplanes, and warships to enter Nicaraguan territory for a joint exercise to be carried out in May and June 2010. The maneuvers were to take place as part of Chavez and Ortega’s drive to create an “anti-imperialist army” opposed to “US hegemony” in the Western Hemisphere. Strangely, this Nicaraguan-Venezuelan military drill did not materialize or, if it did, the MSM forgot to report it because Google searches bring up no results.

Appointed head of Petrocaribe’s Political Council by Chavez in March, Zelaya is currently living in exile in the Dominican Republic. However, he also frequently appears in Managua and did so again last month. At this time, Ortega publicly threw his support behind the coalition of Honduran leftist groups composing the National Popular Resistance Front, the vehicle agitating for Zelaya’s restoration.

In what could be a related story, last month at least 50 Nicaraguan soldiers occupied Costa Rica’s Isla Calero, at the mouth of the San Juan River, which otherwise belongs to Nicaragua. Ortega has bolstered troop strength in the border region to protect a dredging operation that will widen the river for a new interoceanic canal, discreetly financed by Russia, Venezuela, and Iran. Outraged by this invasion, San Jose has taken its grievances to the Organization of American States (OAS) and the International Court of Justice.

Incidentally, Moscow has cautiously “waded” into the Nicaragua-Costa Rica river border dispute. On Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that “Russia has received with concern reports about the tensions between the Republics of Nicaragua and Costa Rica.” The statement continued: “We are convinced that Managua and San José will be able to resolve their territorial differences by way of mutual respect and bilateral dialogue between the countries and peoples historically the uniting bonds of friendship.”

Now Honduras’ democratically elected government is accusing Nicaragua’s neo-Sandinista regime, which opposes the former’s re-admission to the OAS, of training and arming guerrillas in northern Honduras. The scandal broke on Wednesday when Honduran Security Minister Oscar Alvarez informed media outlets he was in possession of military and police intelligence suggesting that leftist rebels are being trained and armed in Bajo Aguán, in the rural, north-central department of Colón. Alvarez said some 3,000 insurgents are being supplied with guns shipped across the border from Nicaragua.

President Porfirio Lobo Sosa, according to the security chief, considers the situation a “danger to national security.” Even though putatively a rightist, Lobo was educated at the Soviet Union’s Patrice Lumumba University, which during the Cold War indoctrinated Third World students in Marxism-Leninism and “national liberation.” Since 1992 PLU has been known as the People’s Friendship University of Russia.

The Nica Times continues: “Alvarez claims the alleged guerrillas aim to destabilize the Lobo government, which the left-wing governments of Latin America–including Nicaragua–consider to be the illegitimate product of last year’s coup.” Alvarez told the daily La Tribuna that army and police intelligence have detected trafficking of “weapons such as AK-47s, M16s and possibly other more potent weapons that are going to be used by groups that want to destabilize the democracy of our country.”

The Honduran army also has information that Hondurans are being recruited and trained outside the country. “The information we have is that they have been mobilizing all the way to Nicaragua, which is a concern,” Alvarez explained to La Tribuna. The security minister reflected that in the 1980s Honduran leftists were recruited by the first Sandinista regime, then allied with the Soviet Union, and trained in Cuba to destabilize the Honduran government.

Leonel Sauceda, security ministry spokesman, confirmed the Honduran media reports. In a telephone interview with The Nica Times on Thursday he insisted that “Without a doubt the guerrillas are being trained and supplied with weapons of war. Police are investigating the matter.”

Not surprisingly, the Nicaraguan army is “categorically denying unsubstantiated reports” that its soldiers are “training and supplying” Honduran guerrillas in a plot to overthrow President Lobo. Nicaraguan army spokesman Colonel Juan Ramón Morales told The Nica Times on Thursday that “military intelligence has ‘no knowledge of any support’ for alleged Honduran guerrillas reportedly being recruited and trained in a rural area in northern Honduras.”

According to Morales, the Nicaraguan army maintains “close contact” with its Honduran counterpart, “even during moments of political tension during last year’s coup,” and “has not received any official communication from Honduran authorities on the subject.” He called the Honduran security minister’s allegations “curious.”

Analyzing all of this information, we must pose at least one question: Is the occupation of Costa Rica’s Isla Calero by Nicaraguan troops a feint to distract attention from Sandinista-backed guerrillas in Honduras, or is it another issue in its own right? Two weeks ago, Costa Rican authorities intercepted and then released six military trucks bound for Nicaragua at the Caribbean port of Limon. Were these vehicles heading for the Nicaraguan army or, perhaps, Honduras’ anti-government guerrillas? Time, as they say, may tell. Our blog, of course, exists to expose this and other aspects of the 21st century communist conspiracy.

>EU File: Poland’s ruling Civic Platform accuses Law & Justice party of “treason” as delegates arrive in DC, demand US-led probe into Kaczynski death

>– Polish President Komorowski Invites Aging General Jaruzelski, “Ex”-Communist Politicians, Secret Police Informer Walesa to Attend National Security Council Meeting

– National Security Council Discusses December Visit by Russian President Medvedev

– Communist General Jaruzelski Imposed Martial Law 1981-1983, Assumed Post of President in 1989 during Transition from Single-Party Rule

On November 17, World Net Daily articulated the anxieties of many observers of “post”-communist Eastern European politics, namely, “Why has Poland’s ruling Civic Platform meekly submitted to Moscow’s hasty explanations concerning the demise of President Lech Kaczynski’s airplane over western Russia this past April?”

Kaczynski was staunchly anti-communist and pro-Washington in his orientation. Aboard the Polish Air Force jet, which crashed in foggy conditions near Smolensk, home to a Russian military base, were a number of high-ranking Polish leaders, including the country’s top generals from all branches. Russia’s leadership continues to harbor grievances against its former Soviet-era satellite, going so far as to carry out in tandem with Belarus a mock nuclear attack against Poland in September 2009.

On November 17, armed with a petition signed by 300,000 Polish citizens, former foreign minister Anna Fotyga and parliamentary committee chairman Antoni Macierewicz, who represents the Law and Justice Party, arrived in Washington. There they sought official US support for the creation of an international commission to investigate the April 10 crash.

Harvey Kushner, a counter-terrorism expert who did consulting work for some of the officials who died with the Polish president, told WND he met Fotyga and Macierewicz the day they arrived in the USA. Kushner stated:

There are so many unanswered questions that for the Russians to take foul play off the table so quickly into the investigation is quite suspicious. There’s nothing in history like this. Where you have an airliner that goes down with such important people, and within a matter of hours the Russians announce that it was pilot error or someone was in the cockpit. This is sheer nonsense.

Accompanying the petition was a letter written by Law and Justice party chief Jaroslaw Kaczynski, twin brother of the late president. In an interview with Poland’s TVN24, Macierewicz explained that Poles are “concerned over the investigation, [its] lack of clarity and growing difficulties” and “the absence of any information and the elimination of evidence.”

Kushner noted that both Moscow and Prime Minister Donald Tusk stridently oppose Jaroslaw’s appeal to the Americans. Kaczynski has accused the Polish and Russian governments of “completely abandoning” the investigation and has called on Tusk and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski (pictured above) to resign. Polish government spokesman Pavel Gras threatened: “It is absolutely scandalous, on the verge of treason.” Kushner, who believes the Polish government’s response is scandalous, queries: “What do they have to hide?” Indeed.

Russian reports immediately after the crash, for example, contend that the Polish pilot, confronted with fog, ignored four commands from Russian air-traffic control to divert the flight to Moscow or Minsk. Some speculated that Kaczynski, distrustful of the Russians, may have ordered the plane to land anyway.

Kushner denounced the Russian investigation as “sloppy at best,” enumerating a number of investigative “transgressions”: 1) forensic evidence has not been properly examined, 2) the Russian company that normally refurbished the plane is leading the technical investigation, “casting a cloud over the entire probe,” 3) the crash site was not “locked down” until only a couple of weeks ago, and 4) Russian soldiers who were supposed to secure the scene stole credit cards from the victims, sliced up parts of the plane and smashed windows, and left the wreckage exposed to the elements for six months.

Kushner alleges that the Russians still possess the Tu-154’s “black boxes,” but according to the MSM Moscow handed over the flight data recorders in late May. Furthermore, he continued, families of the victims want to exhume the bodies, but the Polish government has rejected their requests. “The investigation,” he argues, “was carried out under the Chicago Convention, which is for civilian aircraft, even though there were NATO commanders on the plane.”

In June, US Congressman Peter King (Republican-New York) submitted a resolution calling for an international commission to investigate the crash, but he failed to obtain any support from his peers. According to Kushner, most US legislators are not enthusiastic about pressing for a third-party investigation since Warsaw itself is nonchalant about the whole affair. He issued a stern warning at the end of his WND interview:

Congress should pay attention to it, not for the tragedy that befell Poland, the decapitation of their leaders almost 70 years after the Katyn massacre, but because it’s in the vital national security interest of the United States to support an ally in a region of the world that is crucial for U.S. geopolitically.

The fact that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promptly installed himself as chief investigator should have tipped off the West that the truth behind President Kaczynski’s fiery demise would remain buried in the forest of Katyn.

The lack of unity among Poland’s politicians with respect to Warsaw-Moscow relations and Poland’s communist past was evident on Wednesday when the National Security Council met upon President Komorowski’s invitation. The purpose of the summons was to discuss the forthcoming trip to Poland of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in December. Following Lech Kaczynski’s death, parliamentary speaker Komorowski became acting president of Poland and, then, in July won the country’s presidential election.

Komorowski was forced to defend his decision to invite former communist leader General Wojciech Jaruzelski to the pow-wow. “I can’t change history,” Komorowski huffed, after meeting with the National Security Council, which included the usual roster of past and current presidents and prime ministers, past and current foreign and defense ministers, and parliamentary faction leaders. General Jaruzelski, who imposed martial law on Poland between 1981 and 1983, was head of state for about a year and a half following the first “free” elections in June 1989. “I have to be consistent,” Komorowski added.

Not surprisingly, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who did not attend the meeting, criticized Komorowski for inviting Jaruzelski. Former president Lech Walesa also frowned upon the general’s presence, but attended the meeting anyway. Jaruzelski’s invitation was also criticized by members of Komorowski’s own Civic Platform, such as Senator Jan Rulewski, who told the Polska Times daily: “The general is not an expert on present day Polish-Russian relations. His knowledge and skills go back to the Soviet Union, and not the new Russia.”

In addition to secret police informer Walesa and Jaruzelski, the following past heads of state and government were present at the national security meeting: “ex”-communists like Aleksander Kwasniewski and Jozef Oleksy, and communist-controlled politicians like Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, and Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz.

Neither Komorowski nor Tusk, despite their “fishy” friendliness with Moscow and Jaruzelski, are overtly connected to the formerly ruling communist Polish United Workers’ Party. However, like many “center-right” Polish politicians, they began their careers in parties that trace their origin to the Solidarity trade union, like Civic Platform. In the early 1980s, according to KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn in New Lies for Old (1984), Solidarity contained more than 2 million active communist party cadres, which raises the issue of communist party control over Poland’s Cold War-era “dissident” movement.

In December Komorowski will also travel to the White House to meet US President Barack Hussein Obama.

>Mexican Narco-State File: Narcistas kill Colima’s ex-gov, troops clash with gunmen in Nayarit, Ciudad Mier’s 6,000 citizens flee Zetas’ “Mad Max” tank

>Mexico’s drug war has moved into some of the country’s Pacific coast states. Regional politicians, including mayors and governors, are also increasingly being targeted by out-of-control cartels. Fourteen mayors and mayors-elect have been murdered across the country this year. A candidate for governor in the lawless northeast state of Tamaulipas was killed in June as he campaigned for election.

On November 22 gunmen attacked the former governor of Colima, Silverio Cavazos Ceballos, on the steps of his house in the state capital. Cavazos was hospitalized with fatal injuries, while his wife was also wounded. A member of the once long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, Cavazos was governor between 2005 and 2009. President Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s second National Action Party president, condemned the attack as a “cowardly murder.” Prosecutors are investigating the motive for the attack on Cavazos.

The previous day, Mexican troops clashed with five narcistas in Tepic, capital of Nayarit, another Pacific coast state. All of the gunmen perished. Found at the site of the gun battle, which occurred at a private residence, were six AK-47 assault rifles and military-issue ammunition and grenades. State police seized three vehicles.

In a separate incident, Nayarit authorities found three men decapitated inside two vehicles abandoned on Federal Highway 200. Last week, Nayarit Governor Ney Gonzalez complained that the drug war had come “uninvited” to his state. Grisly beheadings and dismemberments are SOP for Mexico’s mafias. More than 30,000 narco-traffickers, police, soldiers, civilians, and tourists have died in drug-related violence since Calderon deployed troops to crack down on organized crime in December 2006.

Meanwhile, the Mexican Red Cross is distributing at least 15 tons of aid to the 6,000 residents of Ciudad Mier who fled the colonial border town due to internecine warfare between the Gulf cartel and its former enforcement arm, Los Zetas. Most residents beat a hasty retreat to Texas or other Mexican cities, leaving only 400 people to cower behind bullet-scarred and rocket-blasted walls. At least 250 people from Ciudad Mier are living in a shelter established in the neighboring municipality of Miguel Aleman, where they are receiving food and lodging. Starting this week, they will also receive 500 pesos (US$40) to take care of personal needs.

Ciudad Mier, once a tourist destination known as “Magic Town,” is not the only Tamaulipas municipality that becomes a ghost town every evening. Residents of Reynosa, Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, and Tampico, expecting little or no help from the federal government, take measures to ensure their own safety and avoid venturing outside unless it is an emergency.

The Mexican army nervously patrols Ciudad Mier, mindful of the cartels’ firepower and ingenuity. In the municipal impound lot are the burned-out remains of five crudely armored, “Road Warrior”-style pickup trucks and SUVs. Each truck sports half-inch steel plate welded over most of the windows, leaving only narrow firing slits. Incidentally, the promotional poster for the first Mad Max movie (1979) reads: “When the gangs take over the highway.”

Outside of town squats another burned-out vehicle of war (pictured above) that definitely evokes images from the Mad Max movie trilogy. Fearful locals refer to the veritable tank as “The Monster.” The 10-wheel gravel truck has a five-yard freight box protected with 1 1/4-inch steel plates to cover firing positions for 10 gunmen. Thick steel plates also cover the engine, the windshield, and the doors. Hinged covers indicate the presence of gun ports. Massive steel rams are welded onto the “prow” of the gravel truck.

“What is terrifying about ‘The Monster,’” comments National Public Radio, “was not that the Zetas drug gang built it and used it in the almost medieval war for Ciudad Mier, but that the Cartel del Golfo—which roared back into Mier with a vengeance on Feb. 23, 2010, to retake the turf—brought it down.”

Tamaulipas Governor Eugenio Hernandez admitted to reporters earlier this month that “some cities had become ungovernable and authorities were overwhelmed.” This has particularly been the case since November 5, when Los Zetas launched a new offensive against the Gulf cartel after Mexican marines gunned down cartel boss Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen. Local and state police officers, Hernandez lamented, do not have the firepower to take on the cartels, requiring a larger federal presence in Ciudad Mier, Miguel Aleman, Guerrero, Camargo, and Diaz Ordaz.

In a related story that offers some hope in the midst of Mexico’s bloodshed, the government announced that, with the assistance of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, federal police had captured the new boss of the Beltran Leyva cartel, Carlos Montemayor. The crime chief was arrested in Mexico City on Tuesday. Montemayor admitted that his henchmen were responsible for kidnapping and killing 20 Mexican tourists in Acapulco, mistaking them for members of the rival Familia cartel.

The Beltran Leyva cartel’s previous boss, Texas-born Edgar Valdez (“La Barbie”) Villareal, is cooling his heels in a federal prison in the state of Mexico. He is awaiting extradition to the USA, where he faces charges of kidnapping, illegal firearms possession, and cocaine trafficking. Mexican authorities arrested Valdez in August. Control of the Beltran Leyva cartel has been up for grabs since Mexican marines gunned down its founder, Arturo Beltran Leyva, in December 2009.

>WW4 File: 200 N. Korean shells pound South’s Yeonpyeong Island, 2 marines killed, other soldiers, civilians injured; S. Korean artillery responds

>– News Reports Widely Characterize Heavy Exchange of Artillery Fire as Worst Skirmish since Korean War

– Yeonpyeong Island Home to South Korean Naval Base, More than 1,000 Personnel

On Tuesday morning, North Korea, citing the “provocative” maneuvers of South Korea’s annual nationwide military drill Hoguk, pounded the South’s Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea with 200 shells. Two marines were killed and a number of other soldiers and civilians. More than 70 houses were destroyed by the North Korean artillery barrage (pictured above). Yeonpyeong is home to a military base with 1,000 marines and sailors.

The Republic of Korea dispatched F-16 fighter jets to the area and South Korean artillery responded with 70 to 80 salvoes. The South Korean government evacuated the entire civilian population, numbering 1,780, to an air raid shelter on the mainland. Meanwhile, South Korea President Lee Myung-bak and his cabinet convened an emergency meeting in a bunker under the presidential compound in Seoul.

Both North and South Korea have vowed further reprisals if the other should carry out further military actions, using phrases like “merciless retaliatory strikes” and “enormous retaliation,” respectively. A political analyst from the People’s Republic of China, North Korea’s only major ally, suggested that Kim Jong-il’s heir apparent, Kim Jong-un, instigated the attack to consolidate his authority over the Korean People’s Army. Kim Jong-il has visited Red China twice this year. Russia’s Foreign Ministry urged the two Koreas to avoid “colossal danger.”

Israel’s Debkafile reports that the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet, which includes the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, has been placed on alert should the military situation on the Korean Peninsula escalate. The fleet is based at Yokosuka. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, according to the MSM, has ordered his government “to be prepared for any developments on the Korean peninsula.”

According to Debkafile, Kan specifically called US President Barack Hussein Obama with the demand to organize a US-South Korean-Japanese military reprisal against Communist North Korea. Following the skirmish, US Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reaffirmed the White House’s commitment to the US-South Korean alliance.

Over the weekend, US academic Siegfried Hecker, who recently toured North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear complex, stated that he saw more than a thousand operational uranium-enrichment centrifuges at the facility.

>Latin America File: Cuba’s delayed “perestroika” admission of Stalinist model’s failure, possible lead-up to federation with Venezuela

>– Cuba’s Communist Bloc Allies Pour Billions of Dollars into Modernizing, Expanding Island Infrastructure

On November 8, Cuba’s communist dictator Raul Castro, in what amounts to a much-belated Gorbachev-style perestroika (restructuring), announced that the regime will likely dismiss 500,000 public employees, expand private economic activity, and enact massive cuts in state subsidies. Over the next two or three years, another 800,000 state workers will be ousted. Eventually up to two Cubans in five will no longer work for the state.

The ruling Communist Party of Cuba (CPC) will allow more foreign investment and possibly open the real estate market. The Castro regime has also released 50 political prisoners, even as it demands the release of its jailed espionage agents in the USA, otherwise known as the “Cuban Five.”

“Only socialism is capable of … preserving the gains of the revolution,” cautions a 32-page document published as a guide for discussion leading up to a party congress in April, the first since 1997. Not wanting to raise the hopes of diehard anti-communists everywhere and Miami’s Cuban exile community, the CPC document insists: “Planning will be paramount, not the market.” The food ration card, which provides 10 days of food per month, will be “eliminated in an orderly fashion” in a drive to slash subsidies, the party organ elaborated. “China is worth studying,” added Granma nonchalantly.

A week after Raul’s announcement, former comrade in arms Fidel blessed little brother’s proposed reforms in a speech delivered at Havana University. “Fidel recognizes that he is happy, because the country is moving despite all the challenges,” asserted one report published in Granma, which is named after the yacht that ferried the insurgent Castro Bros. from Mexico to Cuba in 1956. Another state-run news agency shouted: “Fidel Castro endorses his brother Raúl’s economic reform.”

However, the Miami Herald points out that much of Comrade Fidel’s university speech was a verbatim reiteration of another given five years ago. “I confess that I was surprised by the currency of the ideas in the 2005 speech, Castro declared. Taking a page from the Nikita Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization playbook, the retired Cuban dictator reread parts of the speech in which he acknowledged that the regime “had made mistakes in its communist path” “Subsidies or grants, only for essential and vital things,” he declared to the audience several days ago. “The only thing not allowed is the irresponsible . . . squandering of resources.”

“For the first time since the 1960s Cubans will be able to employ other Cubans, even though the constitution bans such ‘exploitation,’” mocks The Economist. The same news site, too, reminds us that “The economists advising Mr Castro are barred from talking of ‘reform,’” while “No Cuban official has matched Deng Xiaoping’s embrace of “market socialism.’” The Economist identifies another critical issue facing the Castro Bros., who are 84 and 79 years old, namely passing the torch of communist revolution to a younger generation. This important matter could be high on the agenda at the April congress.

“In the meantime,” wishes this respected journal, “his new boldness represents an opportunity for those who hope that Cuba will eventually join the rest of Latin America in accepting democracy and the market economy, for once the market’s green shoots appear they tend to flourish.”

Sounds nice, but don’t hold your breath. The political left is not only in the ascendancy throughout the Western Hemisphere, but organized and united in its goal of implementing “21st century socialism.” That Cuba’s terminally ill economy needs a “jumpstart” is recognized even by other Communist Bloc countries like Russia, which has promised to exploit Cuba’s oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and upgrade its Soviet-era military; Red China, which is to lead a US$6 billion modernization of the Cienfuegos refinery; Brazil, which has promised to build new port facilities at Mariel, near Havana; and Venezuela, which has promised to connect the two countries with a fiber optic communication cable under the Caribbean Sea.

However, even as the Castro regime sacks hundreds of thousands of faceless functionaries, Cuba’s sister regime in Venezuela is doing just the opposite, seizing private companies, foreign and domestic, nationalizing them by the score, and chasing regime opponents from the country. Could it be that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his communist mentors in Havana actually intend to meet somewhere in the “middle,” that is, with the intent of creating “Cubazuela” or “Venecuba”? Yup. This idea of a two-state federation was first broached by Comrade Fidel five years ago.

“We are moving towards the economic union between Cuba and Venezuela” triumphed President Castro at the close of a July 2010 summit between the two leftist states. Comrade Raul droned on: “It is this a new type of relationship that will allow a better management of joint projects and is at the same time, an important step towards the goal of achieving real economic complementarities, based on the optimal use of the infrastructure, knowledge and existing resources in both countries and, above all, the political will of our peoples.”

“We have found 139 projects with potential for establishment in the medium term, of which a significant number can implement immediately,” elaborated Castro, referring to cooperation in the food, health, energy, mining, and other industries. At the closing session the minutes were signed by Venezuelan Vice President Rafael Ramirez, who is also boss of state-run PDVSA, and Vice President of Cuba’s Council of Ministers Ricardo Ramírez Cabrisas.

Castro’s November 8 proclamation of the next Communist Party congress was highly significant because it was made in the presence of Chavez himself. According to Reuters, South America’s red tyrant showed up in Havana to “celebrate their decade-long socialist alliance in a ceremony that formally extends an economic cooperation pact and should insure a regular flow of oil to Havana for another 10 years.” There Comrades Raul and Hugo ratified an extension of the Integral Cooperation Accord the two countries adopted in October 2000. In a quid pro quo, PDVSA oil revenues have bolstered Cuba’s stagnant command economy, while 65,000 Cuban agents guide Venezuela’s military, intelligence, and security apparatus.

With faithful lackey Chavez at his side, Castro chortled: “The continuance of the accord assures not only that political and economic cooperation will continue, but that there will be a strategic union between the countries.” Reuters comments: “Their alliance is bound by a shared belief in socialist principles and animosity toward the United States, which both the Castros and Chavez routinely refer to as ‘the empire.’” Cuba can therefore count on Venezuelan petrodollars to finance Havana’s version of perestroika.

>Latin America File: Ortega admits troop deployment related to interoceanic canal; Costa Rica detains 86 Nicaraguans fleeing army enlistment

>– Costa Rica Issues Arrest Warrant for Dredging Boss Pastora, Files Suit at The Hague Demanding Nicaragua Cease Canal Construction

– Sandinista Legislator Urges Establishment of Military Post on Costa Rican Island

Events continue to unfold in the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border dispute that confirm our earliest contentions, namely that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is determined to build a “Nicaragua Canal” with help from other Communist Bloc states, and he is unifying Nicaraguan public opinion ahead of his illegal bid for re-election in 2011. Jaime Daremblum, senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Latin American Studies, a project of the Hudson Institute, makes the same observations:

The attempted land grab confirms, yet again, that Ortega (and his party) never really changed. Though he won election fairly as the Sandinista candidate in 2006, he’s still the same corrupt, authoritarian thug who ruled Nicaragua with an iron fist during the 1980s, a time when he was receiving significant aid from the Soviet Union. Back then, Ortega looked to Moscow for both economic assistance and ideological guidance. Today, he looks to Caracas. Indeed, with each passing month Nicaragua becomes more and more like Venezuela. ……

The Obama administration must take a firm stand against Nicaragua’s belligerence. The occupation of Calero Island represents, quite simply, a cross-border invasion. (Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla is not exaggerating when she uses that word.) If the U.S. and its democratic partners in Latin America don’t firmly and effectively pressure Nicaragua to leave the island and quit its warmongering, other pro-Chávez governments may feel emboldened to pursue similar adventurism.

While the stakes in the San Juan River dispute may appear small, they’re actually quite large. Ortega is testing the willpower of his democratic neighbors. Their response will have serious consequences for the entire region.

About one week ago, Costa Rican officials detained 86 Nicaraguans in the area of San Isidro de Pocosol, near the conflict zone. Although most of the illegal immigrants professed to be looking for work in Costa Rica, a number of them admitted that the group was in fact fleeing army enlistment ahead of a potential shooting war between Managua and San Jose. Some of the Nicaraguans–perhaps recalling similar fears more than two decades ago–worried that they might have to repel a US invasion.

“I’ve heard rumors that it is happening but I can’t confirm it is true,” said Alexis Núñez, assistant director of Costa Rica’s national police in the border town of Los Chiles. The Tico Times also quoted Nunez as saying: “I know that was what the Nicaraguan military did in the 1980s, but I have yet to hear of any confirmation of that thus far.”

The neo-Sandinista regime has deployed at least 50 soldiers to Isla Calero, at the mouth of the San Juan, supposedly to interdict narco-traffickers. In defiance of a resolution passed by the Organization of American States (OAS), Ortega, with Hugo Chavez’s imprimatur, refuses to recall the troops. Angered by their opposition to his schemes, “Comandante” accused Latin America’s center-left and center-right leaders of complicity with the region’s drug lords. Notably, he exempted his far-left allies in the hemisphere, such as Chavez, Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa, all of whom have evicted the US Drug Enforcement Administration from their countries.

Although Ortega has secured the support of the country’s other major parties in this obvious provocation against Costa Rica, on November 16 mass organizations affiliated with the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front marched in defense of the president and Nicaraguan sovereignty over the San Juan (pictured above, note obligatory “Che” mugshot on Cuban flag).

“The San Juan River is 100 percent Nica,” shouted pro-government demonstrators. “It’s clear that Nicaragua is the owner of the San Juan River, of its waters. There’s not the slightest doubt,” exclaimed Foreign Minister Samuel Santos Lopez to the demonstrators.

On November 17, in a move obviously designed to frustrate Ortega’s plans, the Costa Rican Prosecutor’s Office issued a warrant for the arrest of Edén Pastora, the Sandinista revolutionary hero in charge of dredging the San Juan. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the warrant was issued in response to Pastora’s alleged acts of environmental damage that violate Costa Rica’s forestry law.

In recent weeks, the ministry of security in San Jose has produced several photos and videos of such damage near the mouth of the San Juan and Laguna de los Portillos. The alleged damage includes cutting down of trees, disruption of wetlands, and dumping of river sediment into Costa Rican territory. The Prosecutor’s Office has not yet explained how it will pursue the arrest of Pastora.

Last Thursday, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla affirmed that her country respects the OAS resolution directing both countries to withdraw security forces from the conflict zone. She insists that San Jose no longer has a police presence there, nor are the national police performing aerial reconnaissance of Isla Calero. A Nicaraguan army official cast contempt on the ultimatum by retorting: “It’s not disputed territory; it’s Nicaraguan territory.”

On November 19, Nicaragua’s former foreign minister and now legislator, Francisco Aguirre Sacasa, responded to news of Costa Rica filing suit against Nicaragua with the International Court of Justice by warning that if the two countries cannot come to “some permanent agreement” on the ownership of the island, Nicaragua should install a permanent military post in the area. San Jose’s legal suit demands that Nicaragua cease “the construction of a canal on Costa Rican soil.”

This past Sunday, Ortega, flanked by his wife Rosario Murillo, admitted for the first time in a televised address that Nicaragua intends to build an interoceanic canal. “No one can prohibit us. No one,” challenged Ortega, adding: “Nicaragua reserves the right to build a canal along the San Juan River connected to Lake Nicaragua. It is a right.” He made no mention of the Nicaraguan troops on Isla Calero. “The river,” he continued, “according to the 1858 Jerez-Cañas treaty and confirmed by a ruling of the International Court of Justice at The Hague on July 2009, belongs to Nicaragua.”

While most of the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border is well defined along the San Juan’s south bank, at Isla Calero the south bank belongs to Costa Rica. Taking advantage of a Google Maps error, the neo-Sandinista regime decided that the “historic” path of the river is the real border, thus making the island its own, rather than following today’s flow, which would and does make the island Costa Rica’s. Referring to the 19th-century treaty, Ortega insisted that the Nicaraguan army has a “right” to enter Costa Rican territory, while Costa Rica has a right to be compensated.

In his TV speech, Ortega acknowledged that the dredging of the river and the building of the canal will cause some environmental damage, but then justified his army’s invasion of Costa Rica by suggesting that a hypothetical shipping disaster along an “undredged” San Juan could cause still more damage. He boasted that Nicaragua’s canal will be “better” than Panama’s since it will be a “modern” canal. The Panama Canal was built nearly a century ago, but will be widened by 2014 to double its capacity.

In a related development that is no doubt motivating “Comandante,” San Juan will also be the site for Nicaragua’s largest-ever electricity-generating plant. The 250 MW Brito hydroelectric dam will be completed in 2015 at a cost of US$600 million. Managua has hired a Brazilian company to conduct a feasibility study for the proposed dam. Clearly, Ortega intends to leave a lasting imprint on Nicaragua.

Army-less Costa Rica has no means to forcibly eject Nicaragua’s military presence on Isla Calero, but is holding out for an OAS-sponsored meeting of regional foreign minister to be held on December 7. Ortega has vowed his country will be a no-show. As for the ICJ case, this could take at least four years. Thus, San Jose continues its diplomatic activity at the OAS, while Chinchilla has vowed to take her country’s case all the way to the United Nations Security Council.

Thus far, the Russian Federation has been quiet about the Nicaragua-Costa Rica spat. Should the situation deteriorate, Moscow’s response, as usual, will be telling. In all likelihood, the Kremlin will side with its long time ally, the Sandinistas.

In a related story, the neo-Sandinista regime continues to portray itself as a serious partner in the eradication of the illicit drug trade, notwithstanding its collusion with Pablo Escobar in the 1980s. Over the weekend the Nicaraguan army and police intercepted a speedboat off the country’s Caribbean coast. The vessel, manned by five smugglers from Honduras, Panama, and Colombia, contained a ton and a half of cocaine. “During the arrest,” reports Voice of Russia, “the drug dealers put up a fierce resistance. As a result of the shootout one of the smugglers was killed.”

>Mexican Narco-State File: Venezuela, Iran to launch attacks against America from N. states; Ciudad Juarez, Reynosa under total mafia control

>– Texas Governor Rick Perry Urges President Obama to Send US Troops to Mexico

– Mexican Authorities Open Homicide Case in Investigation of Playa del Carmen Resort Blast

– Mexico’s Narcistas Follow in Path of Their Suppliers in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Recruit Child Assassins

– Businessman Flees Reynosa, Makes New Life in Texas, Predicts Mexico Will Fall to Drug Cartels after 2012 Election as Next President Cuts Deal to End War

Reynosa is the largest city in Tamaulipas, a harrowing state bordering Texas that is all but lost to federal government rule.
– Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, November 6, 2010

On Tuesday, gunmen abducted Francisco Ruiz Palacios, billings manager for the international oil services firm Weatherford, in front of the company’s offices in Tihuatlan, Veracruz. The next day, his bullet-riddled body was found outside the city. Ruiz’s employer has a drilling contract with Mexico’s state oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex). Veracruz state Attorney General Salvador Mikel says investigators have no suspects and have not determined a motive. A Weatherford spokeswoman in Houston, Texas, Christine Mathers, only acknowledged that “We deeply regret the loss of our employee.”

This is not the first time that Mexico’s powerful drug cartels have kidnapped and murdered oil company employees in Mexico.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mexican troops killed 11 suspected Los Zetas members in a shootout near the Texas border. After the gun battle, authorities captured two suspected Zetas and seized 25 pounds of marijuana, automatic weapons, a grenade launcher, and ammunition. CNN affiliate KGBT reported that the clash took place in Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, Tamaulipas, which is located beside Falcon Lake, the site where US citizen David Hartley was reportedly shot and killed in September.

On Thursday, Texas Governor Rick Perry urged Washington to send US troops to Mexico to help President Felipe Calderon’s government defeat the narcistas, as we call the cartel gunmen. In August, Perry delivered a handwritten letter to President Barack Hussein Obama, in which he demanded the federal government do more to secure the border. Perry complained that the additional National Guard troops the White House authorized earlier this year are insufficient. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano retorted that Perry has the authority to deploy as many guardsmen as “he sees fit,” as long as Texas foots the bill. Pictured above: Republican presidential aspirant Perry?

Although there is still no indication of terrorism in the explosion that killed seven people, including five Canadian tourists, at the Grand Riviera Princess resort in Playa del Carmen this past Sunday, Mexican authorities have opened a homicide case. They have also retreated from an early theory that posited the buildup of swamp gas in the hotel, leading to the huge blast that raised an entire floor.

The geopolitical ramifications of Mexico’s drug war are worth consideration. Last week, the China Confidential blog alleged that Venezuela and Iran are colluding with the Mexican mafia and neo-fascists to establish bases in northern Mexico from which to launch ballistic missile strikes, biowarfare, and “Mumbai-style swarming assaults” against the USA. The blogger cited exclusive but undisclosed intelligence sources. The fact that Mexican border cities like Ciudad Juarez and Reynosa are no longer under de facto federal government rule, offers easy cover for America’s enemies to smuggle weapons of mass destruction into the lawless border region.

This theme of “northern Mexico as staging ground for attacking the USA” has figured in off-mainstream literature for at least 10 years, to wit Scott Gulbransen’s 2003 book Silent Invasion, detailing the alleged presence of Russian, Red Chinese, North Korean, and Cuban reconnaissance units south of the US border.

It is well known, though, that Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez and Iran’s Islamo-Nazi dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have formed an alliance committed to destroying the USA and the “Zionist entity,” meaning Israel. By exploiting his alliance with Colombia’s communist rebels, Chavez has also transformed his country into a veritable narco-state. Both the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN, formerly DISIP) and the Venezuelan military are up to their armpits in red cocaine.

Lurking behind proxies Chavez and Ahmadinejad, of course, is Russia’s KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin, who in 2005 called the collapse of the Soviet Union the “greatest catastrophe of the 20th century.” Russian technology has turned Iran into a nuclear power and is on the verge of doing the same for Venezuela.

Tracy Wilkinson’s frightening November 6 article in the Los Angeles Times, “Caught behind Enemy Lines: Mexico under Siege,” reveals the extent to which the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas are terrorizing Reynosa, a city of 700,000 citizens across the border from McAllen, Texas, and the state of Tamaulipas in general. One Reynosa official estimates that 10 percent of the city’s residents are now refugees, many in the USA. “Reynosa is the largest city in Tamaulipas,” she reports, “a harrowing state bordering Texas that is all but lost to federal government rule.” In past posts we have described Reynosa as a city under the near-total control of Mexico’s mafia. It appears we understated the case.

After a week “behind enemy lines” in this city, Wilkinson submitted a lengthy report that we can only briefly quote. She introduces her subject as follows: “Traffickers brazenly patrol its streets, setting up roadblocks, harassing citizens, gunning down enemies and even censoring the news. Those who can flee have. Others find ways to cope.” The city-dwellers she interviewed “were terrified to speak of their experiences and agreed to do so only under the strictest anonymity. Most did not want to be seen in public with a foreign reporter and would meet only in secret. One insisted on meeting across the nearby border in the United States.”

“Narcos” patrol the airport parking lot in Reynosa. Taxi drivers are on the cartel payroll, “ordered to spy on visitors and monitor the movements of the military and state investigators. Their license plates brazenly shed, they cruise streets dotted with paper-flower shrines marking the dead.” Ironically, in the midst of the chaos and carnage, “The Burger Kings and California-style shopping malls give the city a sense—a false sense—of normalcy. Cars circulate down wide streets. Evangelical churches and donut shops and beauty parlors are open for business.”

The Gulf cartel has long dominated “economic activity” in Tamaulipas, but things got nasty in February 2010 when Los Zetas, the cartel’s paramilitary wing, broke away from its employer. States Wilkinson: “Battles raged in the spring and early summer, with uncounted scores of people killed. The Gulf cartel fought the Zetas, and the Mexican army fought them both. Bombs and grenades exploded at nightclubs, television stations and city offices. The man who was likely to be the state’s next governor was assassinated in broad daylight, along with most of his entourage.”

The Mexican army appears listless and uncoordinated in its “offensive” against the cartels. “Combat still erupts regularly,” Wilkinson says, “But Reynosa is as much a prison camp as a war zone. Army patrols periodically pass through — listening to the bad guys listening to them on radio frequencies — and on the outskirts man roadblocks and hand out leaflets pleading for citizens’ cooperation.”

The mafia has infiltrated “everything”: federal border customs, city hall, police department, taco vendors, and bootlegged compact disc kiosks. The Gulf cartel has carved up the city, while Zetas, sporting “Z” cattle brands on their foreheads, “lurk” for about 60 miles in any direction. Highways between major Tamaulipas cities are “extremely dangerous,” patrolled by one gang or the other. Reynosa residents use terms like “refugees” and “displaced” to describe their plight. Even the mayor is “displaced,” that is, hiding out in Texas.

“There is a great sense of uneasiness in the city,” worried Armando Javier Zertuche, a psychologist who also serves as Reynosa’s secretary of economic development. “It used to be that if someone got kidnapped or killed, you knew they had something to do with [drug trafficking]. Now, with this war, everyone is at risk. It has fallen on top of regular citizens.”

Wilkinson then relates some grueling stories from Reynosa’s “regular citizens”:

A commuter who works in Reynosa, but lives in another city, sometimes uses US roads to bypass cartel roadblocks, which she and her husband have encountered on at least three occasions. “My life has changed totally,” she tells Wilkinson, speaking in a hotel room with a TV on to mask the conversation. “To drive on the highways is to tempt death. This is out of the government’s hands. Mexico has been sacrificed and sold to the narcos. It is the narcos who have the power. The narcos rule our lives. They order. We must obey.”

A dentist who works in Reynosa confides to Wilkinson that “she rushes to finish all her tasks in the daytime, to avoid going out at night. Friends have been kidnapped, and everyone has a story of being caught in a gun battle. Her family frequently receives telephoned threats.” The dentist aspires to open her own office, instead of working for the state, where she cares for clients who cannot afford private health insurance. However, she does not want to pay piso–extortion money–to the narco-traffickers. “The saddest part is that our authorities have washed their hands of this,” the dentist relates, “If you have a problem, you have nowhere to go. We are abandoned and alone. You even have to be careful of your friends and workmates. You don’t know who they might be related to.”

A Reynosa journalist tells Wilkinson: “I spend all day tweeting.” Like most journalists in Tamaulipas, explains Wilkinson, this Mexican journalist is on the payroll of both his TV station and the mafia-controlled city government. She continues: “Social media networks such as Twitter have taken the place of newspapers and radio reports, with everyone from city officials to regular people tweeting alerts about a gun battle here, a blockade there.” Wilkinson rightly notes: “It is a kind of ad hoc warning system, but it is not journalism.”

Four local journalists, one of whom apparently ran a news website on behalf of the Gulf cartel, disappeared from Reynosa in March. Only one was heard from again. Mexico’s major television network Televisa has given security training to all of its employees in Tamaulipas. On-air broadcasters are told to carry several changes of clothing to elude detection and to drive “nondescript” cars.

A Reynosa mother interviewed by Wilkinson carefully guards her 13-year-old son since “recruiters for the drug traffickers cruise the neighborhoods in their SUVs, armed to the teeth, ‘fishing’ for youngsters. A 12-year-old in her son’s class was recently kidnapped. He eventually reappeared, a few cities over, but is so traumatized that he remains under psychiatric care. Outdoor recesses have frequently been canceled; school itself is often called off or interrupted when battles break out. And in their free time, kids collect spent shells as souvenirs.”

Following in the footsteps of their suppliers in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which recruits child soldiers, Mexico’s mafias recruit boys as young as 12 years old to carry out assassinations. On November 14, the New York Post reported: “Don’t be fooled by his 12-year-old’s fresh face: He’s a professional hit man working for a Mexican drug ring — and the blindfolded man propped up next to him like a rag doll in Web photos and videos is one of his victims. The tween assassin, nicknamed “El Ponchis” (“The Cloak”), gets $3,000 for each hit. He’s now the focus of a Mexican army manhunt.”

A Reynosa businessman, who is “a senior executive in his company” with “a good job with good pay and status” recently fled with his wife and children to Hidalgo, Texas. A shootout at a baseball game he was attending was enough to solidify his decision to bid farewell to his homeland. Leaving his family in the relative safety of their new, spartanly furnished US residence, the Mexican businessman commutes back to Reynosa to put in a day’s work.

“Reynosa is a minefield,” he tells Wilkinson, “You can be threatened by a soldier or by a criminal, or just stumble upon a gunfight. Anyone who can, escapes.” In Texas, other Mexican refugees, many well-educated professionals, are trying to make a new life for themselves. “One block over,” the businessman continues, “there’s another family from Reynosa. And a couple blocks farther, there are four more. You run into people you know at stoplights.”

Ominously, he predicts that after the Mexican presidential election in 2012, the next government will cut a deal with the “narcos” and “this war we did not ask for” will be over. In other words, according to Wilkinson, “It will be back to the norm: the narcos, peacefully, in charge.”

BTW, “Mexican Narco-State File” is a new blogging category at our site.

>Red Terror File: Kremlin official threatens to send “Mercader” (assassin) after Russian defector, “Colonel Shcherbakov” betrayed spy ring in USA

>– Minsk Telegraf Reveals Russian Defector’s Real Name and Career

– President Medvedev Confirms Defection as Espionage Historian Cautions “Colonel Shcherbakov” Could Be False Defector

– Trotsky’s Assassin Commemorated in the KGB Museum of Security Service at the Federal Security Service HQ in Moscow

Pictured above: On November 13, while visiting Sofia, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin cuddles a puppy given as a gift from Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov. Would puppy-loving Bad Vlad send a hit squad to terminate the Russian double agent who exposed an SVR ring in the USA? Da, comrade. Go ask former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko. Oh, I almost forgot. He’s dead.

According to Reuters, citing Russian daily Kommersant, “Colonel Shcherbakov,” head of Russia’s deep-cover spy ring in the USA was responsible for betraying his own network to FBI counter-intelligence and subsequently defecting. “The betrayal,” observes Reuters, “would make Shcherbakov one of the most senior turncoats since the fall of the Soviet Union and could have consequences for Russia’s proud Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and its chief, former Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.”

Gennady Gudkov, deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma’s security committee, confirms the accuracy of the original Kommersant story. “It is a major blow to the image of the Russian intelligence services,” he confided to Reuters. By contrast, SVR spokesman Sergei Ivanov refused to comment on the story. Former US intelligence officer Mark Stout opined: “Recruiting a Russian officer who was actually in charge of so-called ‘illegal operations’ in the U.S. is about as big a counter-espionage success as U.S. intelligence can hope to get.”

Kommersant reveals that Shcherbakov fled Russia days before US authorities announced the spy ring arrests on June 28, 2010. Ominously, the paper also quoted a Kremlin official as saying a Russian hit squad was probably already planning to kill him. “We know who he is and where he is,” the anonymous official was quoted as saying. “Do not doubt that a Mercader has been sent after him already.”

Ramon Mercader was a Spanish communist and Soviet agent who tracked down and murdered dissident Bolshevik Leon Trotsky with an ice axe in Mexico in 1940. He was awarded the Order of Lenin for faithfully carrying out this assassination, which was ordered by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. The 2008 DVD documentary The Soviet Story, directed by Latvian Edvin Snore, relates this and other horrific crimes of the Soviet regime, crimes that the Russian government refuses to unreservedly condemn. Incidentally, Mercader is buried under the name of Ramon Ivanovich Lopez in Moscow’s Kuntsevo Cemetery and has a place of honour in the KGB Museum of Security Service at the headquarters of the Federal Security Service.

Last June, US authorities said the Russian spy ring had been operating for at least 10 years, its members adopting false identities for the purpose of infiltrating Washington’s policy-making circles. Nine of the 10 spies are Russian born while several, intriguingly, are outspoken pro-Castro/pro-Shining Path communists. All of them pleaded guilty in US federal court and were deported to Russia in a swap that transpired in Vienna less than two weeks later.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, himself a former KGB spy stationed in Dresden, East Germany, greeted the repatriated spies as heroes, even singing “patriotic Soviet songs” with them. Acknowledging the presence of an informer behind the exposure of the spy ring, Putin hinted that the traitor would “come to a bad end”: “The special services (SVR/FSB/KGB) live by their own laws and everyone knows what these laws are.”

Kommersant quoted an unidentified source as saying Fradkov could be sacked and the SVR folded into the powerful Federal Security Service (FSB), the main domestic successor agency of the Soviet KGB. “The damage inflicted by Shcherbakov is so enormous that a special commission should be created to analyze the reasons which allowed this complete failure to happen,” grumbled Gudkov, although he suggested that it was too early to decide whether the SVR should be merged into the FSB.

Last Friday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also confirmed that the dissolution of the Russian spy ring was the result of the defection of a senior intelligence official. During an NBC TV interview this past Saturday, US intelligence analyst David Wise surmised that Shcherbakov is most likely under FBI protection. However, US intelligence agencies have neither confirmed nor denied Russian news reports about Shcherbakov.

According to the Minsk Telegraf, Shcherbakov is really Alexander Poteev, who was born in the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic and previously served in the Soviet State Security Committee (KGB). Alexander is the son of Nikolai Poteev, Hero of the Soviet Union. This was revealed by former Soviet KGB agent Fedor Yakovlev:

I’ve known him since January 1979. We studied together in the same group at ATO (advanced training of officers), better known as the “school of saboteurs,” preparing the staff for the special forces of the KGB. Also we were sent to Afghanistan in 1979 as members of “Zenit” KGB Spetsnaz group. In 1981 I again came across with him in Afghanistan in Kabul within “Cascade-2” group of KGB Special Forces. He was awarded for his participation in the hostilities within “Cascade-1” group.

After Afghanistan, he worked for KGB, then in the Foreign Intelligence Service.

A spokesman for the Belarusian KGB responded to Yakovlev’s allegations by denying that Poteev ever worked for Minsk’s security apparatus, still known by its Soviet-era name.

With a nod toward false Soviet defectors of a bygone era, espionage historian Phillip Knightley cautioned that the Kommersant story “should be viewed in the context of the smoke and mirror world of Moscow’s spy agencies.” He told Reuters: “How do we know it is not a plant to draw Western attention away from the real betrayer? Or just to sow confusion in Western spy services?” Indeed. If only more Western analysts were as perceptive as Knightley. Following the 1961 defection of KGB major Anatoliy Golitsyn, whose predictions concerning the Soviet deception strategy have proved remarkably accurate, the issue of false Soviet defectors tore apart the CIA.

>Latin America File: Mexico’s drug war rages as huge blast kills 7 at Cancun hotel; Venezuela backs Nicaragua as Ortega threatens to leave OAS

>– Sandinista Leader Lambastes OAS Resolution Demanding Troop Withdrawal, Accuses Other Latin American Leaders of Complicity with Narco-Trafficking

– Red China’s Top General Arrives in Caracas, Pushes Bilateral Military Cooperation with Communist Venezuela

– Chavez Promotes General on US Blacklist for FARC Links, Rangel Silva Vows Venezuelan Military Will not Accept Opposition Victory in 2012

– Imprisoned Drug Lord Valencia-Arbelaez Hired Russian Crew to Fly Drug Plane from Moldova to Guinea, Putin Accused USA of “Overstepping Bounds” in Putting Russians on Trial

There is a conspiracy to spread vast quantities of cocaine throughout the world by way of cargo airplanes.
– US federal prosecutors in New York, statement from 2009 case

Over the weekend, Mexico’s drug war claimed 16 new victims in the northern states, once again exposing the ineffective response of President Felipe Calderon’s government to the destabilizing narco-insurgency that has gripped his country for four years.

On Friday, cartel gunmen killed eleven people in an apparent mass execution in the state of Tamaulipas. One of those killed was the chief of public works in San Fernando, Marco Samuel Herrera Rangel. In a separate incident, in Jimenez, a small town that is about 100 kilometers from the state capital of Ciudad Victoria, five men were found dead near a gas station at what appears to be the scene of a shootout. Three bullet-riddled bodies were discovered in a car, while another two bodies were located about 200 meters from the vehicle.

This past Sunday, gunmen stormed into the Desperados bar in war-wracked Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, and shot up 13 patrons, killing five. All of these slayings came a week after Mexican marines cornered and executed Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, boss of the Gulf cartel. According to various press reports, as of October 31, 7,500 people have died this year in Mexico’s drug war.

On the same day, a massive explosion rocked the Grand Riviera Princess Hotel in Playa del Carmen, near Cancun, killing five Canadian tourists and two Mexican employees (pictured above). In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Carson Arthur described the effects of the powerful explosion: “All of the air was sucked out of every open door, every room and then pushed back at a huge rate. The velocity of the air coming back was incredible, so people were thrown around all over the place in the rooms and hallways. There were several people in the debris. There was [sic] a lot of people wounded from flying glass.”

In another interview, with the Canadian Press, tourist James Gaade estimated that approximately one half of the hotel’s guests were fellow Canadians. “I looked and you could see that the roof [of the restaurant] had collapsed,” Gaade said, adding: “There was a large crater in the area, debris. Everyone said their hotel room shook. The glass at neighbouring restaurants all cracked and blew out. The tiki hut that was in the area, that was on fire.”

Mexican authorities speculate that natural gas accumulation in the building was responsible for the explosion. Thus, there is no reason at this time to implicate Mexico’s drug lords or dormant communist guerrillas. However, if this blast was deliberate, then it would represent a major escalation of violence against Calderon’s “bourgeois regime.”

Further south, the makings of a new Cold War are festering in Central America as Nicaragua’s past/present communist dictator Daniel Ortega threatens to withdraw his country from the Organization of American States. On Friday night, the OAS endorsed a resolution that requires Managua to remove 50 soldiers from a small island claimed by Costa Rica at the mouth of the San Juan River. The vote was nearly unanimous. Only Nicaragua and Venezuela dissented. The president of Venezuela, fellow communist Hugo Chavez, is a close ally of Ortega.

Even though the first Sandinista regime provided safe haven for Pablo Escobar, boss of the Medellin cartel, in the 1980s, Ortega accused other OAS states of defending the interests of the region’s drug lords. In a nationally televised address on Saturday night, Ortega railed against the OAS for conducting a “rigged” vote to approve the resolution. He insists Nicaragua will maintain troops in the area because Isla Calero “belongs” to Nicaragua and the soldiers are there to interdict drug traffickers.

The Nicaraguan president went on to specifically accuse Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, and Panama of endangering the region’s political stability: “This proposal that the OAS approved last night says that we should leave this land free for drug trafficking. And we don’t accept that. Drug traffickers are directing Costa Rica’s foreign policy.” Notably, in his “indictment” Ortega failed to include his red buddies Chavez, Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa—three South American presidents who have evicted the US Drug Enforcement Administration from their countries.

Last year, the International Court of Justice granted ownership rights over the San Juan to Nicaragua, but gave Costa Rica limited navigation rights along a 140-kilometer stretch of the river. This weekend, a belligerent Ortega demanded navigation rights on Costa Rica’s Colorado River, which receives about 90 percent of its water flow from the San Juan. “Comandante” wrapped up his tantrum by announcing that his government may withdraw from the OAS. “I ask myself, does it make any sense to still be in the OAS?” whined Ortega. In any event, he said Nicaragua will not send delegates to a special meeting of foreign ministers convoked this week by Costa Rica.

During his rant-fest, Ortega described Mexico as “a country infested with drug trafficking.” In response, the Mexican Foreign Ministry fired off a diplomatic note to Managua, protesting that the Nicaraguan president’s remarks “do not have base.” The Mexican government supported the OAS resolution demanding the withdrawal of Nicaraguan troops from Isla Calero.

In comments to Costa Rica’s Nica Times last week, Nicaragua’s honorary foreign minister, Miguel D’Escoto Brockman—who is also past president of the United Nations General Assembly—spat: “The OAS has no reason to exist anymore.” A long-time Sandinista, liberationist Catholic priest, and recipient of the Soviet Union’s Lenin Peace Prize, D’Escoto branded the OAS “an instrument controlled by you know who” (meaning the USA).

In a related story, on Friday unknown assailants in a vehicle tossed a gasoline bomb at the Nicaraguan embassy in San Jose, but the device did not catch fire and no injuries or damage were reported. Since the border dispute between Nicaragua and Costa Rica appears to be part of a wider plot by Russia, Venezuela, and Iran to advance the construction of a “Nicaragua Canal,” this incident could just as easily have been perpetrated by Managua’s agents provocateur.

If Nicaragua does leave the OAS, this would be ironic because the Sandinistas refuse to support the re-admission of Honduras into this international organization. Most of Latin America’s leftist governments reject the legitimacy of Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, demanding, instead, the reinstatement of slavish Chavez lackey Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted last year in a military-backed coup instigated by his own Liberal Party.

Meanwhile, the People’s Republic of China is closing ranks in the field of officer exchanges and other aspects of military cooperation with both leftist and rightist regimes in Latin America and the Caribbean Basin. Earlier this year, Red China’s defense minister visited Mexico City with the intention of promoting bilateral military cooperation. This September, Chinese and Russian honor guards participated in celebrations marking Mexico’s bicentennial of independence. For many years, of course, Red China has also shipped weapons to its comrades in arms in Cuba.

This Sunday, Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), led a delegation of senior brass on a three-day goodwill visit to Communist Venezuela. “The Chinese military is keen on having good exchange with its Venezuelan counterpart,” a member of the PLA delegation commented as they were welcomed by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and Defense Minister Carlos Mata Figueroa. In a brief talk with Chen, Maduro gushed: “Venezuela has always admired China’s splendid history and culture. The PLA of China is a great army with both strong spirits and state-of-the-art science and technology.”

During his stay, Chen is scheduled to meet with President Chavez and military leaders who have been responsible for communizing Venezuela’s armed forces. He will also visit the country’s ministry of defense headquarters and a military academy. Before arriving in Venezuela, Chen paid a three-day visit to Ecuador, where President Correa is closely aligned with Chavez. Chen will later travel to Peru, which has a center-left government, but one which is pro-Washington. It may be that Beijing will try to woo Peruvian President Alan Garcia away from his alliance with the USA.

Among the Venezuelan generals who support Chavez’s “Bolivarian Revolution” are top aide Henry Rangel Silva. Comrade Hugo has praised General Rangel as a “revolutionary soldier” and singled him out for promotion to the post of chief of the defense staff. On the November 14 airing of Alo Presidente, Chavez crowed: “I will have the honor and pleasure of promoting … Gen. Rangel Silva while the anti-patriotic opposition lashes out at patriotic generals like him. What they attempt to do is create divisions within the armed forces.”

General Rangel endorses the Venezuelan armed forces’ new salute—“Socialist homeland or death! We will be victorious!”—and vowed in a recent interview that the army will not respect an opposition victory in the 2012 presidential election. Rangel’s threatened intervention in the Venezuelan political system prompted OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, who lately has been trying to mediate the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border dispute, to rebuke the general. Insulza, a Chilean socialist, called Rangel’s remarks “unacceptable.” Chavez shot back at Insulza: “His unfortunate statements are nothing more than disrespect for our sovereignty.”

Rangel has been blacklisted by the US Office of Foreign Asset Control. In September 2008, the US Treasury Department alleged that the general provided material support to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Teodoro Petkoff, editor of the opposition newspaper Tal Cual, alleges Chavez plans to instruct the military to ignore a potential opposition victory. Petkoff predicts that Chavez will in fact lose the next election and warned that “violent upheaval” could occur if the military rejects voters’ wishes. “It’s a brainwashing venture, making officials get accustomed to think their job is not to recognize the election results,” Petkoff asserted during a Sunday program broadcast on the pro-opposition Globovision TV channel. “When the president of the republic is defeated, the armed forces will have to decide if it’s convenient to prop up the head of state amid an ocean of blood.”

Venezuela’s opposition coalition has agreed to field a single candidate in 2012, but has not yet decided when or how to choose Chavez’s replacement. The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela won the parliamentary election in September, but returned to the National Assembly with a reduced majority. The Communist Party of Venezuela, which had a presence in that body until the 2010 election, openly backs Chavez’s slavishly pro-Cuban regime.

Chavez’s Venezuela: Base for Transatlantic Red Cocaine Flights

Cases currently working their way through the US federal court system have inadvertently shed light on the sordid nexus between Latin America’s Red Axis regimes and its drug cartels. As we previously blogged, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime first sounded the alarm about transatlantic drug planes in November 2009, when a burned-out Boeing 727 was found in the deserts of Mali. According to US federal investigators, drug smugglers flew the jet from Venezuela, unloaded it, and then torched the aircraft. In some cases, executive jets have been used, including a Gulfstream II that landed in Guinea-Bissau in 2008 and another Gulfstream seized in 2007 as it tried to depart Venezuela for Sierra Leone.

Last year, a flurry of arrests exposed the drug lords’ air routes. “The quantity of cocaine distributed and the means employed to distribute it were extraordinary,” US prosecutors wrote in one case. They warned of a conspiracy to “spread vast quantities of cocaine throughout the world by way of cargo airplanes.” The global economic recession has contributed to the cocaine epidemic by idling hundreds of cargo jets, which can be bought cheaply. Internet ads such as Planemart.com offer DC-8s for as low as US$275,000.

Under the Chavezista regime, Venezuela has become the most important distribution hub for South America’s red cocaine, that is, cocaine originating from countries controlled by leftist regimes. According to US indictments, at least three cartels have struck deals to fly drugs to West Africa, in particular, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone. One trafficker claimed he already had six aircraft flying. Another said he was managing five airplanes.

Since there is no radar coverage over the ocean, big planes can cross the Atlantic virtually undetectable. From Mali’s corner of the Sahara Desert, operatives of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb allegedly pack the cocaine overland to the Mediterranean Sea and then to its ultimate destination, the European Union. Incidentally, cocaine consumption in the USA has stabilized in recent years, but soared in the EU.

“In some ways the plot is a throwback to the 1970s and ’80s, when drug pilots flew freely between Colombia and staging areas near the US border, in northern Mexico,” comments Scott Decker, a criminology professor at Arizona State University. He adds: “Back then, drug lords such as Amado Carrillo, nicknamed ‘The Lord of the Skies,’ sent jets with almost 15 tonnes of cocaine from Colombia to northern Mexico.” Today’s drug lords, Decker continues, are once again using South America’s Caribbean coast as a launch pad: “Going that way, especially from South America, really gets you outside the majority of the security envelope for air traffic.”

Vanda Felbab-Brown, a fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, concurs:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s decision to sever ties with most U.S. law enforcement agencies in 2005 has made it easier to bring cocaine to staging sites on the Venezuelan coast, The DEA is not present there, the Venezuelan military is making money off it, and much of the territory is just not controlled by the government.

Drug lords who have operated out of Venezuela include former Chavez campaign financier Walid Makled-Garcia, profiled in a recent post, and Jesus Eduardo Valencia-Arbalaez, who pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking in a US federal court this past July and was sentenced to 17-1/2 years in prison.

The Valencia-Arbelaez Organization used detailed spreadsheets to calculate flight costs and distributed codebooks to conceal their plans. Strategy sessions took place in Denmark, Spain, (formerly communist) Romania, and a Best Western hotel in Manhattan. Fuel and pilots were paid for through wire transfers, cash-filled suitcases and, in one case, a bag stuffed with US$356,000 in euros left at a hotel bar. On at least one occasion, Valencia-Arbelaez hired a Russian crew to transport a newly acquired plane from (formerly communist) Moldova to Romania, and then to Guinea.

Most of Valencia-Arbelaez’s cocaine was destined for Europe, but a fraction of each shipment was diverted to New York. “I sold airplanes to these people so I knew what was going on,” testified Manuel Silva-Jaramillo, a US aeronautical engineer, to a federal judge. “I knew that they were bringing the drugs to the United States.” The cartel had access to a private airfield in Guinea, was considering buying its own airport, and had dispatched a team to explore the feasibility of direct flights from (communist-controlled) Bolivia to West Africa.

In Liberia, the Valencia-Arbelaez Organization tried to bribe Fumbah Sirleaf, chief of the Liberian security agency and son of the country’s president, into overlooking drug flights originating from Venezuela and Panama. However, Sirleaf was secretly coordinating with the DEA and presumably knew that the ring had already sent aircraft into Liberia, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau.

The Valencia-Arbelaez case aroused the ire of the Russian government because one of the defendants, Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, maintains he was tortured by Liberian police before being handed over to the DEA. He and the other five defendants denied the charges against them. The Russian Foreign Ministry accused the US government of “kidnapping” Yaroshenko and failing to inform Moscow. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called his arrest an example of the USA “overstepping its bounds.” The DEA denies Yaroshenko was abused.

>Latin America File: Ortega rejects Chinchilla’s ultimatum to remove troops from Isla Calero, San Jose intercepts military trucks bound for Sandinistas

>– Strategic Implications of Fabricated Nicaragua-Costa Rica Border Spat:

1) Tests Costa Rica’s Resolve ahead of Russian-Venezuelan-Iranian Plan to Build “Nicaragua Canal,” Steal Business from Panama Canal

2) Provides Possible Cover for Russians and Venezuelans to Insert Military Assets into Central America, Outflank New US Bases in Panama

3) Creates False National Unity among Nicaraguans ahead of Ortega’s Illegal Bid for Presidency in 2011

– Google Glitch Bolsters Sandinistas’ Territorial Claims, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Demands Retention of Error

Pictured above: Nicaraguan soldiers near Costa Rican border on November 4, 2010. Map of contested area below.

This is not a border problem, it is the invasion of one nation to another.
– Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, statement made on November 10, 2010

As Nicaragua and Costa Rica once again wrestle over legal ownership of the San Juan River, a status that was technically settled in Managua’s favor last year, the Communist Bloc players behind the neo-Sandinista regime are hoving into view. The San Juan empties into the Caribbean Sea and forms the eastern part of the countries’ common border.

The dispute erupted late last month when Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega ordered former Sandinista revolutionary hero Eden Pastora, who now sports polo shirts instead of battle dress, to supervise the dredging of the San Juan, ostensibly to improve navigation. Shortly after the operation began, Nicaraguan troops accosted a Costa Rican rancher on his own property, scooped a chunk of the man’s real estate into the river, scared off some farmhands, and killed several cows. A Nicaraguan flag was raised on the seized land. Around the same time, on October 21, Nicaraguan troops appeared on Isla Calero, a 151-square-kilometer coastal island near the San Juan’s mouth, and erected a makeshift base.

Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla rushed 70 heavily armed national police to the northeast sector of the country to help the coast guard patrol the river region. Nicaragua insists Costa Rica has no legal claim to the island, because it is clearly designated as Nicaraguan territory by both 19th-century border treaties and Google Maps (which is a story in itself, as we relate below).

The Organization of American States, responding to an appeal from San Jose, intervened last weekend by dispatching OAS secretary general, José Miguel Insulza, to hold separate meetings with Ortega and Chinchilla. During a three-day visit to Central America, Insulza made two flyovers of the San Juan and Isla Calero. Although Insulza claimed not to have seen Nicaraguan troops during a flyover of the area on Monday, their widely reported presence on the island is the basis of the current spat between Managua and San Jose. After his fact-finding mission, Insulza made this and other recommendations: “To create a favorable climate for dialogue between the two nations, the presence of armed forces in an area where they could generate tension should be avoided.”

In response to Insulza’s recommendations, Enrique Castillo, Costa Rica’s ambassador to the OAS, issued an ultimatum to Nicaragua on Tuesday afternoon, demanding that all Nicaraguan troops retreat from the area within 48 hours. “Beginning right now, we are demanding that Nicaragua remove all military personnel from Isla Calero within 48 hours,” declared Castillo, adding: “We consider their presence on Isla Calero to be a direct violation of national sovereignty and Costa Rican territory.”

Two days before, Chinchilla had warned that her country will go all the way to the United Nations, if necessary, to seek redress: “We have been very clear: If the inter-American system fails us, if it proves weak, we will consult higher authorities. We are willing to take it, if the case calls for it, to the Security Council of the United Nations. Whatever solution that comes from this process will be a peaceful one. Costa Rica is asking only for a fair exit to the conflict.”

Unimpressed by the threats emanating from the otherwise peaceful Costa Ricans, Nicaragua’s vice president, Jaime Morales Carazo, a former Contra rebel, rejected San Jose’s demands that Managua remove around 50 soldiers from Isla Calero. “We cannot invade our own territory,” he chided.

On Wednesday, 84 lawmakers from Nicaragua’s otherwise deadlocked National Assembly held a special session in the river port town of San Carlos. The legislators—representing the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front, the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, and assorted Sandinista dissidents—produced a unanimous six-point resolution to defend Nicaragua’s sovereign right to the San Juan, to support President Ortega’s actions to defend and dredge the river, and to allocate more funds to the Nicaraguan Army to patrol the border.

On Thursday, a 15-member delegation from the National Assembly and top army brass boarded three military helicopters to fly to the disputed river territory (pictured here). Instead of overseeing the withdrawal of troops, the lawmakers and military command arrived at Isla Calero in a show of support for both the troops and national unity. Pastora was quick to join Sandinista and opposition legislators in supporting Ortega: “This congressional session on the river delivers a serious and profound message that all men and women in Nicaragua are united behind the president in defending our sovereignty and dignity. I think Costa Rica is going to have to think twice. Costa Rica is defeated.”

General Julio Aviles, a former Sandinista guerrilla, vowed that the military would defend the San Juan against Costa Rica’s “expansionist pretensions.” He accused army-less Costa Rica of “generating conflict and hostilities” and trying to intimidate Nicaragua as part of a “systematic campaign.” The general huffed: “But these threats don’t intimidate us.” In a somewhat confusing turn of events, Aviles insisted there are no troops occupying Isla Calero. Rather, Nicaraguan soldiers are occupying the smaller, neighboring Isla Portillo (Harbor Head).

“Nicaragua is making a mockery of everyone here today,” Castillo protested after the ultimatum expired on Thursday. San Jose then offered a 24-hour extension but, by Friday morning, it was apparent that more Nicaraguan soldiers had arrived on Isla Calero.

The neo-Sandinista regime is not placated by the OAS intervention. Denis Moncada, Managua’s OAS representative, alleged in the Nicaraguan media that “Costa Rica is conniving with Colombia and Honduras” to link the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border dispute with another tiff between Nicaragua and Colombia over maritime rights in the western Caribbean Sea. “With its activities at The Hague, and its requests at the OAS, Costa Rica is trying to create documents to add to the [International Court of Justice’s] file,” Moncada told Nicaragua’s Channel 4 television.

Both capitals are accusing the other of “provocations,” but it is evident that the neo-Sandinista regime is moving more military and construction equipment into the disputed river region.

This week, San Jose’s Minister of Public Security, Jose Maria Tijerino, announced that the Costa Rican National Police seized six military trucks that were shipped from Germany and bound for Nicaragua. The vehicles landed at the port of Limón as Nicaragua does not have suitable ports on its Caribbean coast. Later, after meeting with President Chinchilla’s Security Council, Tijerino revealed that the trucks would be permitted to proceed to their destination. “This serves as an example we are [a] state of rights and are not at war with Nicaragua,” explained Tijerino.

Although the military trucks seized by the Costa Ricans apparently originated in Germany, geopolitical analysts should prepare for the possibility that Russia will at some point begin shipping military hardware to its old Central American client state. Since KGB asset Ortega returned to power four years ago, Moscow has pledged to upgrade Nicaragua’s Soviet-vintage armed forces. Indeed, earlier this month, Nicaragua’s ambassador to the Russian Federation, Luis Alberto Molina Quadra, attended a session of the Russian-Nicaraguan Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation. The commission held its first “post”-Cold War meeting in Managua last June.

This past Monday, Pastora announced on national radio that Managua will dispatch two more dredges to the San Juan. He did not offer a date for resumption of the dredging, but noted that the project will span two years and, when the work is complete, large ships will be able to navigate the San Juan. The National Port Company will provide one of the new dredges, while a third is being built in the town of El Viejo. Interestingly, as we have pointed out before, the first dredge to appear on site and to provoke the current commotion between Nicaragua and Costa Rica was designed by a Russian engineer.

In an ironic turn of events, Costa Rica’s government is blaming Google Maps for inadvertently bolstering Nicaragua’s claim to Isla Calero, as well as to territory fully south of the river. Pastora justified his actions by informing Costa Rica’s La Nacion newspaper that the Nicaraguan army is relying on Google Maps to remain on its side of the border. “See the satellite photo on Google, and here you see the frontier,” Pastora claimed, adding: “In the last 3,000 meters, both sides are Nicaraguan. From there to El Castillo the border itself is the right bank, clearly.”

Google has confessed its transgression. Charlie Hale wrote on the Google Maps blog: “The map is wrong, and wrong by roughly 2.7 kilometers. It is our goal to provide the most accurate, up-to-date maps possible. Maps are created using a variety of data sources, and there are inevitably going to be errors in that data. We work hard to correct any errors as soon as we discover them.” Undaunted, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos urged Google representative Jeffrey Hardy to retain the error: “I officially request that the border marking not be modified.”

On November 11, Haaretz was the first major news source to draw a connection between the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border incident and a Nicaraguan-Venezuelan-Iranian plan to build a new canal across Central America. This possibility was lurking in the back of our mind over the last few weeks since we have previously reported on Ortega’s attempt to also solicit Russia’s support in the project, which would rival the Panama Canal in strategic importance. In this light, the Nicaraguan government’s dredging of the San Juan River makes perfect sense. The San Juan links the Caribbean to Lake Nicaragua, from which only a relatively short canal is needed to reach the Pacific Ocean through Rivas Department.

“Sources in Latin America have told Haaretz,” relates Israeli journalist Shlomo Papirblat, “that the border incident and the military pressure on Costa Rica, a country without an army, are the first step in a plan formulated by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, with funding and assistance from Iran, to create a substitute for the strategically and economically important Panama Canal.”

Papirblat rightly observes that “Panama is a country with a distinctly pro-American orientation,” especially since the election in 2009 of US-educated businessman Ricardo Martinelli. Late last year, President Martinelli concluded an agreement with Washington to return the US military to Panama. The canal’s economic importance to Panama City cannot be understated either, Papirblatt continues:

The transit fees paid by the ships and other canal-related activities account for 75 percent of the annual revenues of Panama’s economy. The Panamanian economy and Panamanian stability would be in real danger of collapse if another canal took away its monopoly on shipping between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

In 2009 the International Court of Justice at The Hague granted ownership of the San Juan to Nicaragua, but gave navigation rights to Costa Rica. “However,” notes Papirblat, “the results of this ruling are not enough to allow for the implementation of the plan formulated by Venezuela and Nicaragua. In order to build a new canal linking the two oceans, they would also need to control the southern bank of the river and the point where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean.”

This past July, the Nicaraguan foreign ministry informed Costa Rica of Nicaragua’s plans to deepen the San Juan in order to improve shipping on the waterway. Nothing was mentioned about building a trans-isthmian canal. Initially, therefore, Costa Rica did not oppose the plans but San Jose should have been tipped off to Managua’s real intentions when Ortega placed the project under the supervision of Pastora, whose nom de guerre was once “Comandante Zero.” On November 8, Pastora inadvertantly (it would seem) exposed more of Managua’s designs when he mentioned that, after dredging, the San Juan would be able to accommodate large ships.

“Sources in Latin America,” reveals Papirblat, “consider these events, and the power demonstrated by Nicaragua, as a trial balloon by the creators of the ‘New Canal Plan’ – Venezuela, Iran and Nicaragua.” He then appends some disturbing data, “Western intelligence agencies are closely following the path of heavy machinery equipment to Nicaragua as well as the activities of Iranians in the Nicaraguan capital Managua.” The six Nicaragua-bound military trucks that Costa Rican police seized this week may have been part of that “path of heavy machinery equipment.”

According to Novosti, “The proposed canal, whose construction is estimated by experts at $18 billion, would be able to accommodate ships larger than those that can pass through the Panama Canal, even after its enlargement.” Russia’s involvement in the project extends back to at least December 2008, when Ortega broached the subject during his first “post”-Cold War trek to Moscow.

Iran’s involvement extends back to March 2007, when Iranians, some in suits, others in combat dress, were spotted near Nicaragua’s Monkey Point, the potential site for a deep-water port (that could receive Russian warships). Earlier that year, only days after Ortega’s re-inauguration, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad paid a friendly visit to Ortega as part of wider Latin American tour that included a house call to Chavez.

“The imperialists don’t like us to help you progress and develop. They don’t like us to get rid of poverty and unite people,” chimed Ahmadinejad, standing amid Managua’s shantytowns, “But the whole world knows that Nicaragua and Iran are together.” Ortega and Ahmadinejad also announced that they were restoring full diplomatic relations and re-opening embassies in their capitals.

Venezuela’s involvement also extends back to 2007, when Chavez announced a plan to build a US$350 million highway across Nicaragua. As these news reports surfaced, the USA did not express any concern about potential Russian, Venezuelan, or Iranian activities in Central America. According to Papirblat, a US State Department official told Haaretz’s Washington correspondent that the US government is “not aware of any plans to build a new canal in Latin America.”

On a side note, there are indications that Russia and Venezuela may move military assets into Nicaragua under the cover of joint exercises with the Sandinistas. While visiting Managua in February, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced combined maneuvers with the Nicaraguans, but set no date. More than a year ago, joint military exercises that entailed the deployment of Venezuelan warplanes and warships in Nicaragua were also announced for May and June of 2010. Nothing came of this little-reported news item, even though Ortega signed an emergency decree to ratify the arrival of Venezuelan troops in his country. The Venezuelan air force, of course, boasts the latest in Russian fighter jet technology.

As a final point, the border spat between Nicaragua and Costa Rica diverts public attention away from Ortega’s illegal bid for the presidency next year and solidifies support for “Comandante” across party lines. Communist Bloc countries like Russia and Venezuela, as well as their allies, like Iran, have every vested reason to make sure Ortega stays in power.

>USA File: Obama instructs NORTHCOM to quietly cooperate with Calderon, defeat drug cartels; US sends military advisors, intel specialists to Mexico

>Our partnership with Mexico is my number one priority.
— Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr., Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command/US Northern Command

Pictured here: Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon and his wife Margarita Zavala arrive in Seoul, to attend the G20 summit, on November 10, 2010. Calderon faces a major narco-insurgency in his homeland, one that has already spilled over the US border.

On Monday, gunmen kidnapped and killed Gregorio Barradas Miravete, mayor-elect of Juan Rodriguez Clara, in Mexico’s Gulf coast state of Veracruz. Barradas was a member of President Felipe Calderon’s center-right National Action Party. Barradas and two companions were forced into a Hummer truck in the south of Veracruz and then driven to the neighboring state of Oaxaca. “The truck was found with the three bodies inside,” authorities said. Barradas is the 13th Mexican mayor to be murdered in 2010, thus far.

It is not clear if Barradas’ killers were narcistas, that is, the heavily armed thugs in the employ of Mexico’s powerful drug cartels. Narcistas regularly pack automatic weapons and RPGs, acquired on the black market from the USA and even from the Russian Mafia, which is a front for the Kremlin’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR/KGB). Incidentally, we are not sure if anyone else is using the term “narcista” in connection with the Mexican drug war but, if not, then we’ll take credit for coining the word.

Meanwhile, the White House has quietly directed the military’s Northern Command (NORTHCOM) to “up” its cooperation with the Mexican Army, which for more than a century has trained to defend the country against the USA. This past March, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led a high-powered delegation, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, to Mexico City, where the Americans promised little in the way of adding muscle to Calderon’s declaration of war against the drug lords. Last September, however, Clinton changed her tune and rightly described Mexico’s drug war as an “insurgency” similar to that of Colombia’s in the 1990s. Particularly horrific massacres of civilians, including teens and children, have taken place in recent weeks.

“U.S. military officials,” explains Washington Post journalist Mary Beth Sheridan, “have been hesitant to discuss publicly their growing ties with Mexico, for fear of triggering a backlash among a Mexican public wary of interference.” Current and former US officials admit that the Pentagon has in fact instructed hundreds of Mexican military officers since 2008 in subjects such as operations planning, intelligence collection, and human rights issues. This assistance may very well have led to the demise of the Gulf cartel’s boss last Friday. Mexican marines killed Antonio (“Tony Tormenta”) Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen in a shootout that followed a six-month intelligence gathering operation.

“We’ve been directed by the president [Barack Hussein Obama], at a very high level, to really think hard about how we can up our game, do more to support the partnership with the Mexican government,” said one senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity. The source added: “President Calderon wants us in. We have to be respectful, obviously, and make clear we take responsibility for part of the problem and are supporting, not telling Mexico what to do.”

“We have tried to share many of the lessons we’ve learned in chasing terrorist organizations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” acknowledged General Victor Renuart, who recently retired as chief of NORTHCOM. “The changes in the relationship between the Mexican military and the U.S. military are, I believe, historic,” Renuart enthused. Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr., Renuart’s successor, has called the partnership with Mexico his “number one priority.”

Bitterly recalling past US invasions, such as during the Mexican-American War and General John J. Pershing’s intervention against Pancho Villa, Mexico City will not permit US military trainers or advisors to deploy on its soil full time. Still, US officers regularly travel to Mexico to deliver short courses to Mexican counterparts, who then train their own personnel. Among those Americans traveling to Mexico to give seminars are staff members from the Joint Special Operations University, which trains US Special Operations forces. US law enforcement agencies have also increased their cooperation with Mexican counterparts, even “embedding” intelligence specialists in a Mexican command center.

Reciprocally, more Mexican officers are being trained at US military bases, including the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC) at Fort Benning, Georgia. For the first time, too, a Mexican officer is serving as assistant commandant at the WHISC. Formerly known as the School of the Americas, the institute is a bête noire of leftists and peaceniks. Mexico has also stationed a permanent liaison officer at NORTHCOM, which is based in Colorado.

“There clearly is a role for the U.S. military, but it is as a supporting player,” said Roberta Jacobson, who coordinates the US State Department’s Merida Initiative assistance. The Pentagon’s counternarcotics funding for Mexico has nearly tripled in as many years, from US$12.2 million in 2008 to more than US$34 million in 2010. This sum is a small fraction of the total anti-drug money directed to Mexico under Merida. The Pentagon will also cover part of the bill for the 1,200 National Guard troops that President Obama recently deployed to the border with Mexico. Those forces, however, remain under the operational control of state governors.

Is it not intriguing that since the Cold War communism is no longer perceived as the world’s preeminent threat but, rather, Islamic terrorism and the international narcotics trade? The Soviets thought of that too. Will the new Republican majority in the US House of Representatives thwart the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s long-range plan for global domination and Obama’s capitulationism? Do you want the truthful answer?

>Event Convergence Alert: Mystery Monday missile launch off coast of Los Angeles puzzles viewers ahead of G20 summit in South Korea

>– Pentagon Denies Involvement with Sea-Borne Launch of “Massive” Missile near Los Angeles

– Kremlin Media Concocts Story of “Unauthorized Trident-2 Launch”

This past Monday night, someone launched an intercontinental ballistic missile off the coast of California. The “massive” missile’s smokey trail was visible to residents of Los Angeles, including a CBS helicopter news team. Doug Richardson, editor of Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, examined the CBS video for the Times of London. “It’s a solid propellant missile,” he told the Times. “You can tell from the efflux [smoke].”

Robert Ellsworth, former US ambassador to NATO and a former deputy secretary of defense, viewed video of the apparent missile and commented: “It’s spectacular… It takes people’s breath away. It is a big missile.”

Frustratingly, for those who want to find the culprit, the US Navy and Air Force not only deny responsibility but also deny that the projectile was a missile. CNN reports: “Officials at the Pentagon also did not know any details about the launch and said that it could not have been planned military action. Vandenberg Air Force says it sent a rocket skyward Friday night, but there have been no launches since then.”

A regular visitor to our blog, who has a past career in the US military, concurs: the Pentagon always announces missile tests, primarily to avoid potential disasters with commercial sea and air traffic.

US President Barack Hussein Obama is attending the G20 summit in South Korea. Thus, there has been speculation that Washington was sending a not-so-subtle message to the People’s Republic of China about its ballistic “throw weight.” Along the same theme, the White House could also have been warning North Korea to avoid doing anything “stupid” during the G20 meet-and-greet.

Additional speculation centers on a hoax consisting of Photoshopped contrails from an aircraft or possibly an amateur missile. (Whoa, dude, that’s quite an amateur missile!)

For its part, the Kremlin media concocted the story of an “unauthorized ICBM launch” to explain this “UFO”: “An unauthorized ICBM Trident-2 launch is likely to have occurred off California’s coast in the United States. The opinion has been ventured by the vice-president of the Russian Council of Military Experts Alexander Vladimirov.” Comrade Vladimirov: Are you sure? An unauthorized ICBM launch from a US submarine? Heads will surely roll in the Pentagon.

On the other hand, if the missile did not originate from the US military, then there are only a few likely alternatives. Russia, of course, has significant SLBM capability, while Red China has a limited SLBM capability. North Korea or Iran could potentially launch a Shahab or Taepodong-2 missile from a ship disguised as a civilian vessel. One thing is clear: This missile delivered a big message from someone to someone.

>Latin America File: Bogota extradites FARC middleman to Caracas, Makled poured $ into Chavez coffer, won concession at Venezuelan port to ship cocaine

>– Mexican Marines Ambush, Kill Gulf Cartel Boss Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen in Matamoros

– University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College Cancel Classes “Because of Gunfire Taking Place across the Rio Grande”

– Cartel Gunmen Shoot Up 20 Civilians, Police in War-Wracked Ciudad Juarez over Weekend

– US Consulate in Hermosillo Imposes Travel Restrictions on Employees in Sinaloa and Sonora States; Armored Vehicles Required, Night Travel and Some Regions Banned

Pictured above: Mexican soldiers stand next to a vehicle during a gunfight with cartel members in Matamoros, on November 5, 2010.

According to Venezuela’s communist dictator, Hugo Chavez, Colombia will extradite a Venezuelan businessman who is accused of being a major drug kingpin in league with the narco-trafficking Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Chavez, who is visiting Havana to sign more cooperation agreements with Cuba, announced the extradition on Cuban television.

Last Tuesday, during a face-to-face meeting, Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos promised Chavez that Walid “The Turk” Makled would be shipped back to Venezuela, not the USA, where he is also wanted on drug charges. Colombian authorities arrested Makled in August in a joint operation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration. “The Turk” is accused of transporting tons of cocaine each month to the USA and the European Union.

After their meeting, Santos and Chavez pledged to improve relations between their countries, which degenerated last year over a Colombian plan to allow US counter-narcotics troops more access to its bases. They did not disclose any specific accords on Makled, who admitted in an interview that in 2007 he poured US$2 million into Chavez’s constitutional referendum campaign and, in return, obtained a concession at Venezuela’s Puerto Cabello, his alleged shipping point for drugs.

On Cuban TV, Chavez railed that the US government planned to make Makled “vomit” accusations against him and then use the false charges to justify placing Venezuela on Washington’s list of countries that support drug trafficking. “I am sure that the Colombian government is not going to take part in that game,” he rumbled.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the narco-shipping routes maintained by Latin America’s Red Axis, Mexican narcistas shot up 20 more civilians and police in war-wracked Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas.

Among the body count were seven men who were believed to have been attending a family party when they were gunned down on Saturday night, related Arturo Sandoval, spokesman for the attorney general’s office in Chihuahua state. Five were found dead in a car, while the other two were shot at the entrance of the home. Eleven other people, Sandoval said, were killed on Saturday in Ciudad Juarez, including two whose bodies were dismembered, which is a typical gesture from Mexico’s brutal drug cartels.

On Sunday, two city police officers, a man and a woman, were ambushed and shot dead inside their patrol car. More than 6,500 people in this city alone have been killed since January 2008.

The US consulate in Hermosillo has responded to the anarchy and bloodshed in northern Mexico by declaring new travel restrictions for its employees in the states of Sinaloa and Sonora. All official travel is banned along Benito Juarez Highway between Estacion Don and Guamuchil, Sinaloa, “due to extreme threats of violence.” Consular employees must travel in armored vehicles in the rest of Sinaloa. The consulate made an exception for the coastal resort city of Mazatlan, but offered no explanation. In Sonora, the consulate is requiring it employees to travel in armored vehicles south of Ciudad Obregon and banned travel south of Navojoa and in the mountainous eastern part of the state.

US personnel, furthermore, must travel in armored vehicles in the area around Nogales, a sister town across the border from Nogales, Arizona, “due to widespread violence” and “the threat of known drug trafficking activity throughout northern Sonora.” The consulate statement added: “US employees traveling from Nogales, Arizona, to Hermosillo, can only use their own vehicles on the Mexican toll road Highway 15 during daylight hours.” Lately, the US State Department has taken “drastic measures” to protect US government employees from the narco-insurgency in Mexico, including temporarily closing some consulates.

In southwest Mexico, police in the city of Oaxaca, which witnessed considerable political unrest in 2006, found a human head in a gift-wrapped box. On Saturday night, someone dropped off the grisly body part at a cliff frequented for its view of the city’s colonial center. A threatening message left with the head was signed “Z,” an apparent reference to the Los Zetas narco-mercenaries, the former enforcement arm of the Gulf cartel. The abhorrent discovery follows by one week the daylight execution of two young men who had been involved in violent university protests in one of Oaxaca’s public plazas. Although there have been some beheadings in recent years, cartel-style violence is unusual in Oaxaca.

Los Zetas, which consists of ex-special forces soldiers from Mexico and Guatemala, have waxed in power over the past 10 years. Experts warn their clout could grow following the death last Friday of Gulf cartel boss Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, also known as “Tony Tormenta” or “Tony the Storm.” Cardenas was killed in a shootout with Mexican marines in Matamoros, which is east of Reynosa, a city purportedly under the near-total control of criminal mafias. Friday’s operation came after more than six months of intelligence gathering by the Mexican navy, which has joined the army in battling the cartels. The four other suspected cartel members killed with Cardenas were “part of the circle of protection closest to Tony Tormenta.”

On Saturday, narcistas and security forces continued to exchange fire near the US-Mexico border, the Mexican state media reported. Authorities in Reynosa, which is across the border from McAllen, Texas, warned people to avoid road travel due to shootouts. North of the border, the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College canceled classes “because of gunfire taking place across the Rio Grande.”

Recently, Mexican authorities have scored several important wins against the cartels. In September, officials arrested Sergio Villarreal, an alleged top leader of the Beltran Leyva cartel, which maintained a representative in Colombia to liaise with FARC. Villareal’s capture came soon after the August arrest of US-born Edgar Valdez, believed to be one of Mexico’s most ruthless drug traffickers.

>USSR2 File: Belarusian communist party boss, Minsk Telegraf refer to Russia, Belarus as “communist countries”—19 years after collapse of Soviet Union

>– President Lukashenko and Russian Communist Party Boss Mend Strained Russian-Belarusian Relations, Reaffirm Close Links between “Former” Soviet Republics

– 4,000 Communists Assemble in Moscow to Celebrate 93rd Anniversary of Bolshevik Revolution, Enjoy Security Provided by Almost as Many Police and Interior Troops

– Zyuganov Joins Russian Foreign Ministry in Pleading for Life of Saddam Hussein’s Former Deputy Premier, Iraqi Government Passes Death Sentence on Tariq Aziz

Every now and again the Eastern European media yields nuggets of truth that expose the fraudulent character of the “collapse” of communism nearly 20 years ago. On October 28, 2010, Belarus’ Telgraf website contained several gems related to President Alexander Lukashenko’s reception of Gennady Zyuganov in Minsk. Zyuganov (pictured above) is the long-time chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation, legal heir of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Lukashenko, who is facing re-election next month, enthused:

I would like to express my gratitude to the President of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov for his support and constructive position in the Belarusian-Russian question.

Thank you for having at least one person in Russia who has responded to everything that is happening, and suggested an urgent discussion of issues to make everything clear.

Of course, you’re a competent person. I am watching your work very closely, as well as the work of the Russian Communist Party. I think that having known each other for fifteen years or even more, you’ll never be able to throw a stone in my garden.

We were never shy to talk about socialism, communism, our past, World War, the expansion of NATO, our defense, though it was forbidden.

We have always maintained good relationships with you. I’ve always tried to inform you and the party as much as possible about the current events, which has recently begun to cause some resentment and allergies in your government. But, nevertheless, I really appreciate that you’ve applied to the problem that has always excited the party and will continue to excite. Since it’s probably one of the cornerstones of the policy of the Russian Communist Party.

Our assessment and our actions in Belarus are absolutely transparent and there are no discrepancies. Nevertheless, there are so many moments that I would like to discuss with you, to consult on some issues.

For his part, Chairman Zyuganov passed greetings from Russia’s “leftist and national-patriotic forces” to the Belarusian dictator. According to Tatiana Golubeva, First Secretary of the pro-Lukashenko Communist Party of Belarus, Zyuganov planned to meet with representatives of her party on October 28. Comrade Golubeva disclosed that the Russian and Belarusian communist parties will discuss “issues of cooperation between the two Communist countries [!?], the state and development prospects of the international communist movement, and Russian-Belarusian relations.”

It is possible, of course, that Golubeva meant to say “issues of cooperation between the two Communist parties,” because she does refer to “Russian-Belarusian relations” later in her quote. However, “country/motherland” (rodina) and “party” (partyia) are two very distinct words, even in the Belarusian language. Significantly, the Telegraf made no attempt to correct or criticize Golubeva’s reference to Russia and Belarus as “communist countries” in 2010. Apart from a few anti-communist bloggers, such as yours truly, this incriminating faux pas will no doubt go unnoticed in the Western MSM.

Although Belarus complained about unfair treatment related to its admission to the new Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, in truth there is no substantial disagreement between the “ex”-communists who reign in Moscow and Minsk. Indeed, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recently endorsed a new military-technical treaty between the two countries, one that is designed to protect the Union State of Russia and Belarus from common threats of aggression and war (meaning NATO). Incidentally, in another sign of structural reorganization within the Communist Bloc, Vietnam has proposed a free trade agreement with the Russian-Belarusian-Kazakh customs union.

In a related story, on November 7 thousands of Communists assembled in downtown Moscow to commemorate the Bolshevik Revolution, while at another rally in the Russian capital 1,300 former Soviet paratroopers demanded the ouster of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who has initiated widespread reforms in the Russian military’s command structure. Zyuganov told Ekho Moskvy radio that 30,000 participants showed up at his rally at Tverskaya Ploshchad, but a city police spokesman told the independent Moscow Times that only 4,000 attended.

Russia no longer officially celebrates the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917 but, rather, Unity Day, which on November 4 marks the liberation of Russia from Polish invaders in 1612. However, this past Sunday, Moscow’s new mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, a slavish devotee of Putin, attended a parade in Red Square, in which Russian soldiers reenacted the Soviet counter-thrust against the “fascist” (Nazi German) invaders in November 1941.

In light of the 45-year Soviet occupation of Poland, the Russian military’s mock nuclear attack against Poland in 2009, and the suspicious demise this past March of President Lech Kaczynski and his top generals aboard a Polish Air Force jet in Russian airspace, Putin’s anti-Polish “Unity Day” is another sick communist joke.

Meanwhile, even though Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime in Iraq is long gone, the backing it once enjoyed from the Soviet Union and “post”-communist Russia came into view again when the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russia’s potemkin ruling party United Russia, and Communist politicians rallied to the defense of Tariq Aziz. Last Tuesday, Iraq’s supreme criminal court convicted Hussein’s former deputy prime minister and foreign minister of murder and crimes against humanity. The court sentenced Aziz to death, along with former interior minister Saadoun Shaker and Abid Hmoud, one-time aide to Hussein.

Interfax registered the opposition of several Russian politicians to Aziz’s death sentence. “What has happened in Iraq is the elimination of a witness and a settling of accounts between different religions, not a victory for justice,” protested Mikhail Margelov, head of the foreign affairs committee in the Russian parliament’s upper house, the Federation Council. “Nothing can justify this sentence,” Margelov added. “We will . . . call on the international community and parliamentarians in Europe and the United States to prevent this assassination,” ranted Zyuganov, “Aziz is a very sick old man.” Russia strongly opposed the 2003 US-led invasion of its former client state Iraq.

The verdict also provoked quick reaction from the European Union and Amnesty International, while the Vatican urged clemency for Aziz, who is a professed Christian. Last year, Aziz was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his part in the 1992 murder of dozens of merchants and to a further seven years for his role in the forced displacement of Kurds from northern Iraq.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: North Korea’s top general confers with Cuban counterpart; South Korea: Armed forces on “highest alert” for G20 summit

>Pictured here: On November 3, 2010 South Korean police officers inspect the Han River, prior to the upcoming G20 Summit in Seoul. South Korea’s police chief has raised the prospect that North Korea may attempt to disrupt the November 11-12 gathering of world leaders. Some 50,000 police will be deployed throughout the event.

The single-party communist dictatorships that terrorize Cuba and North Korea are closing ranks in the area of military cooperation. Last Friday, Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho, a senior military leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), arrived in Havana for an official visit. Ri, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army, and his entourage are scheduled to meet with senior officers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba and visit military schools and units. Last April in Pyongyang, Ri held talks with a military delegation from Cuba, both praising the development of bilateral ties.

This is the first trip to Cuba by Ri, who was promoted to the post of vice marshal as part of a September leadership reshuffle that will probably pave the way for a hereditary power transfer in the reclusive state. Ri was also named, along with Kim Jong-il’s youngest son and heir apparent, Kim Jong-un, to the country’s powerful Central Military Commission.

Cuba’s retired dictator Fidel Castro has been a vocal supporter of North Korea, which was created in 1945 under the aegis of Soviet occupational troops. After an international investigation into the March 2010 sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan found a North Korean torpedo attack responsible, Castro branded the findings a “strange fabrication.”

In a related story, the chief of the Republic of Korea’s National Intelligence Service contends that North Korea has a force of 1,000 computer hackers who can be deployed to engage in cyber warfare. Addressing lawmakers in a parliamentary audit last Thursday the country’s spymaster called North Korea’s cyber skills “remarkable.” The red regime in Pyongyang also maintains hacking networks in the People’s Republic of China. Over the past year North Korea was believed to have instigated several cyber attacks on key government offices in Seoul.

Earlier this week, South Korea’s National Police Agency claimed to have found evidence that North Korean hackers were collecting information on sewage and traffic systems around the upcoming G20 summit site. However, the South Korean government has assured foreign dignitaries that security at the summit will be unprecedented, with the armed forces going on their “highest alert.” G20 leaders will converge in Seoul on November 11 and 12 to discuss the global financial system and the world economy. South Korea is the first non-G8 nation to host a G-20 Leaders’ Summit.

Invading South Korea during the G20 summit would be an ideal opportunity for the Communist North to potentially wipe out a number of Western leaders, but this would no doubt precipitate the Fourth World War. In June 2009, the 27-year-old Kim Jong-un reportedly travelled to Beijing where he secretly presented himself for the approval of the Communist Chinese leadership.

>Latin America File: Ortega predicts bloodshed if Costa Rica does not cease “provocations”; ex-guerrilla wins run-off vote for Brazilian presidency

>– Rousseff Surrounds Herself with Marxist Advisers: Personal Ally and Lula’s Finance Minister Antonio Palocci FARC’s Unofficial Brazilian Contact

– No “Dreadlock Holiday” in Mexico: More Bullet-Riddled Bodies Turn Up in Acapulco as Hotel Occupancy Plummets

Pictured here: Arturo Valenzuela, US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, speaks with Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega before a meeting in Managua, on October 28, 2010.

Daniel Ortega is fighting old battles in Central America. Harsh words from Managua reveal that Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator has not changed his warmongering ways, first exposed in the 1980s when the Sandinista Popular Army used Soviet arms and helicopter gunships to eradicate a US-backed counter-insurgency. This past Tuesday, President Ortega predicted bloodshed if Costa Rica does not cease its alleged provocations across the disputed San Juan River, which separates the two countries along their common eastern frontier.

Since October 24, each country has accused the other of illegal incursions by armed troops, in the case of Nicaragua its regular military and in the case of Costa Rica its national police. Costa Rica has no standing army, a fact that Sandinista propaganda conveniently overlooks. Both governments have fired off angry diplomatic protests, including, in the case of San Jose, to the Organization of American States.

Now Ortega is ratcheting up the rhetoric by denouncing peaceful Costa Rica’s “expansionist” intention to “steal” the San Juan. Appealing to the July 2009 resolution from the International Court of Justice at The Hague, which awarded ownership of the river to Nicaragua and navigation rights to Costa Rica, Ortega ranted:

Costa Rica is bellicosely threatening Nicaragua with elite troops dressed like “Rambo.” Who has any doubt that it’s part of the geopolitical vision of Costa Rica to claim ownership of the San Juan River?

In the 1600s and 1700s, the river covered an enormous amount of territory at its delta. And as the zone has dried, the river has moved and [Costa Rica] has continued to advance and take possession of terrain that doesn’t belong to it. The way things are going, if the San Juan River continues to move north and join with the Río Grande of Matagalpa [in the northern zone], that’s how far [Costa Rica] would claim its territory extended.

Nicaragua has the right to dredge the San Juan River to recover the flow of waters that existed in 1858, even if that affects the flow of water of other current recipients, such as the Colorado River.

Costa Rica cannot impede such an operation in Nicaraguan territory.

“We don’t want the blood of brothers to spill,” Ortega concluded ominously.

Following last Sunday’s run-off vote for the Brazilian presidency, South America’s largest country remains firmly in the camp of the Latin American Red Axis. Former urban guerrilla Dilma Rousseff won the election against her opponent Jose Serra, past governor of Sao Paulo state. Rousseff is a cadre of the ruling center-left Workers’ Party (PT) and outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s anointed successor. The daughter of a Bulgarian communist who found exile in Brazil between the two world wars, Rousseff enjoys the glowing endorsement of Venezuela’s red tyrant, Hugo Chavez. The PT governs in coalition with several other parties, including the Communist Party of Brazil.

Following her victory, Brazil’s next leader conferred by telephone with Chavez, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and US President Barack Hussein Obama. Rousseff also met with personal allies like former finance minister Antonio Palocci to discuss her transition to power, Rousseff’s foreign policy adviser Marco Aurelio Garcia told reporters in Brasilia on Monday.

The country’s first female president vowed her main goal is to eradicate poverty in Brazil while controlling spending. “We’ll care for our economy with complete responsibility,” the 62-year-old Rousseff told supporters in Brasilia. “The Brazilian people don’t accept governments that spend at unsustainable levels and for that reason we will make every effort to improve public spending.”

Brazil’s president-elect will benefit from a majority in Congress. The PT scooped up five additional Senate seats in last month’s preliminary elections, bringing to 14 the number of lawmakers the party has in the 81-seat chamber. Parties backing the government will control another 35. In Congress’ lower house Rousseff’s coalition obtained 311 of 513 seats.

Rousseff joins a shortlist of female presidents in Latin America, including Argentina’s Kirchner and Costa Rica’s Laura Chinchilla. Chile’s Michelle Bachelet stepped down earlier this year to make way for center-right opponent Sebastian Pinera. However, Rousseff joins a somewhat longer list of over-the-hill ex-guerrillas who occupy presidential and vice-presidential posts in the Western Hemisphere.

Investors will eyeball Rousseff’s cabinet picks for clues to how serious she is about controlling spending, explained Marcela Meirelles, an emerging-market analyst with TCW Group Inc. Returning campaign adviser Palocci to his former post as finance minister, she predicted, would trigger a “huge rally,” especially in fixed-income assets.

This would be an intriguing development because in 2005 Brazil’s Media without Mask website exposed Palocci, Lula’s 2002 campaign manager, as the unofficial Brazilian contact for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. For his part, Garcia, mentioned above, is a “hard-line Marxist” and past executive secretary of the subversive Sao Paulo Forum. Marxist Rousseff has surrounded herself with ideological kin who have thus far successfully disguised their true color.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s drug war rages in the tourist haven of Acapulco, where more than 30 people have been murdered over the past 10 days. On Tuesday, police found the bullet-riddled bodies of four young men on a road in the Pacific resort city. Last week, a Canadian businessman vacationing in Acapulco disappeared and is feared dead. A month ago, 20 Mexican tourists were allegedly abducted from the city. The Reforma daily reports that hotel occupancy in Acapulco has dropped to around 60 percent, compared to previous years, suggesting the narco-insurgency has in fact deterred tourists.

Across Mexico over the last few days more than 22 people have succumbed to drug violence. In eastern Veracruz state, six male bodies were thrown from a moving vehicle, acknowledged state attorney general Salvador Mikel Rivera, citing witnesses. Four others died in a shootout between the army and gunmen in northern Durango state, the attorney general’s office related. Six other violent deaths were reported overnight in Mexico’s “murder capital,” Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. Mexican and US authorities are probing the killings of four US citizens, two with criminal records, who were shot in Ciudad Juarez over the weekend.

In the same city, Mexican police have arrested a suspect in the March 13 killing of a US consular employee and her husband. Miguel Angel Nevarez Escajeda, alias “El Lentes” (Glasses), was detained last weekend on the basis of an anonymous tip. In early July, another suspect, Jesus Ernesto Chavez Castillo, the purported boss of a gang of gunmen enforcing for the Juarez cartel, was arrested in connection with those slayings.

Incidentally, in view of the latest bloodshed in Acapulco, communist guerrillas such as the Popular Revolutionary Army couldn’t do a better job in attacking Mexico’s “bourgeois” structures.

>Final Phase Backgrounder: The Soviet Story film exposes Stalin’s "class genocide" against Soviet citizens, cynical pact with fellow socialist Hitler

>The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.
— Vladimir Putin, former KGB agent, current prime minister and past president of Russian Federation; statement made in April 2005

Pictured above: Pro-Kremlin youth burn an effigy of Soviet Story director Snore outside the Latvian embassy in Moscow.

Yesterday I watched The Soviet Story DVD which, surprisingly, I found at our public library. Directed by Edvins Snore and first released in 2008, this film documents the murder of millions of Soviet citizens under Stalin, as well as the Soviet dictator’s sordid, cynical pact with fellow Jew-hating socialist Hitler.

Among the experts interviewed are Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, GRU defector Viktor Suvorov, and contributers to Harvard University Press’ Black Book of Communism, first published in the late 1990s. The similarities between Nazism and communism are emphasized, demolishing the common perception of their mutual hostility.

This shocking documentary contains old footage and many pictures of mounds of corpses piled up by the Gestapo/SS and NKVD and, therefore, is not recommended for young children or the faint of heart. However, The Soviet Story ably supports many of the contentions made at this and related blogs. As the film’s promotional website relates, the Kremlin media has launched its own propaganda war against Snore.

>Latin America File: Chavez sends thugs to attack, kidnap business leaders, nationalizes more industries; Uribe warns against nuclear Venezuela

>– Israel Frets Russia Will Make Good on 2007 Contract, Evade UN Sanctions by Delivering S-300 Anti-Missile System to Iran Via Venezuela

Pictured here: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez consoles Argentine counterpart Cristina Kirchner at the wake of her husband, the late President Nestor Kirchner, in Buenos Aires, on October 28, 2010.

The descent of Venezuela into the hellhole of Bolivarian communism continued last week with the kidnapping and attempted murder of Venezuelan business leaders who are outspoken critics of President Hugo Chavez’s nationalization drive.

On Thursday, October 28 gunmen in Caracas opened fire on a car carrying leaders of Venezuela’s national business federation Fedecamaras, wounding one of them before hijacking the vehicle. Noel Alvarez, president of Fedecamaras, and Albis Munoz, a former president of the same organization, were in the hijacked vehicle. Alvarez relates his ordeal: “When we braked, they began shooting at us without saying a word. The former president [of the federation] Albis Munoz was hit by three bullets. They made us get out of the car and began to hit us. They drove us around Caracas for two hours, and then they released us.”

The gunmen dumped Munoz at a hospital, where she was later pronounced to be in stable condition. Alvarez and Fedecamaras treasurer Ernesto Villasmil were deposited at a motorway off-ramp.

Chavez’s interior minister, Tareck El Aissami, assured reporters that police had their best detectives on the case, and pledged the investigation would be “transparent and objective.” “All the evidence, including the recovered vehicle and interviews with those affected, everything points to the motive of robbery, although we do not rule out other hypotheses,” soothed El Aissami, leaving open the possibility of a political motivation, which is certainly the conclusion at this blog.

While it is true that Venezuela has witnessed a crime wave of late and that Caracas has one of the highest murder rates in the world, it is also true that Alvarez is a prominent opponent of Chavez’s Cuban-style communism. “But I do want to say that this forms part of the climate of insecurity that we have in Venezuela, and the government has the responsibility to try to establish greater security,” Alvarez admonished after his release. In June, President Chavez called Fedecamaras “one of the biggest obstacles to progress” in Venezuela and the business federation’s leaders “enemies of the nation.”

Over the weekend, Chavez plunged further into his latest expropriation binge by nationalizing Venezuela’s largest privately owned steel producer Siderurgica del Turbio SA. The company exports steel products to countries throughout Latin America, as well as to Africa, Asia, and Europe. Chavez has ordered the National Guard to “safeguard” the company’s seven plants. Telephone calls to the company’s headquarters in Caracas went unanswered late Sunday, shortly after the president announced the expropriation.

In early October, Chavez announced the nationalization of Industrias Venoco, the country’s largest independent automotive lubricants company. The Venezuelan dictator, whose communist regime has nationalized more than 300 companies in just the last two years, explained that the expropriation includes Venoco subsidiaries Nacional de Grasas Lubricantes and Aditivos de Orinoco. Chávez accuses Venoco of overcharging for lubricants and other oil derivative products.

Intriguingly, Venoco is almost entirely owned by Franklin Duran, who in 2008 was found guilty in a Miami federal court of being an unregistered agent of the Venezuelan government. Duran’s conviction stemmed from the so-called Suitcase-gate scandal, in which US government prosecutors proved that Duran transported US$800,000 from Chavez to Argentina, to aid the presidential campaign of then-candidate Cristina Kirchner. Center-leftist Kirchner, who is now president, denied any involvement in the case, while Duran is completing a four year prison sentence.

Incidentally, Cristina’s husband, Nestor, Argentina’s previous president, died of a heart attack on October 27, prompting a eulogy from Chavez. According to Venezuela’s top commie thug, Nestor, who was secretary general of the Lenin-inspired Union of South American Nations when he died, “left a legacy of dignity.”

Venezuela’s strategic alliance and nuclear partnership with Russia has also provoked concern among US allies in the region, including former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe. Last Tuesday, speaking after receiving an award from Spain’s International Observatory of Victims of Terrorism, Uribe declared: “Venezuela’s arms race is very dangerous both for the security of its own citizens and Venezuela’s neighbors. The Venezuelan government has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but has not signed its additional protocols.” Last month, Caracas and Moscow announced a deal under which Russia will help the South American country to build its first nuclear power station. Chavez, a long-time nemesis of Uribe, claims that his country only seeks to “diversify energy sources.”

Uribe was presented with the award by John Frank Pinchao Blanco, a police officer who was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces in Colombia in 1998 and held captive until his escape in 2007. The former president dedicated his award to the Colombian police and armed forces. Uribe also commented that the proposed legalization of marijuana in California is a threat to regional security.

Meanwhile, Israel, which is on Chavez’s “Bad List,” along with the USA, is worried that Iran will eventually obtain, via Venezuela, the S-300 anti-missile systems that Russia, backing out of a 2007 contract, has now promised it will not hand over to Tehran. “This is a real possibility, considering the close ties between Venezuela and Iran,” an Israeli official familiar with the deal told The Jerusalem Post.

Venezuela and Iran are close allies. Indeed, Chavez has visited counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad eight times, most recently last month, when he inked a number of agreements aimed at increasing their strategic partnership. The S-300 is one of the most advanced multi-target anti-aircraft-missile systems in the world, with a purported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12. It has a range of about 200 kilometers and can take out targets at altitudes of 90,000 feet.

>Latin America File: Sandinistas escalate border row with San Jose, plant flag on Costa Rican soil, Chinchilla reinforces police deployments

>– Sandinistas Flout Constitutional Order, De Facto Elections Chief, Ortega Crony Announces Elections for November 2011

Nicaragua has escalated its border row with Costa Rica, which focuses on a dredging operation carried out by the government of President Daniel Ortega in the San Juan River. Under international law, the river belongs to Nicaragua, but Costa Rica enjoys navigation rights. A week ago this past Friday, San Jose alleged that Sandinista revolutionary hero Eden Pastora, who heads up the operation, illegally entered Costa Rican territory, accosted a rancher, asserted Nicaraguan sovereignty over the ranch, and then dredged a chunk of the man’s land into the river.

Yesterday, Costa Rican Security Minister José María Tijerino revealed that members of the Nicaraguan army had been spotted on Isla Calero, a piece of land on the Costa Rican side of the San Juan. Tijerino added that pictures and video reveal a Nicaraguan flag has been placed on the property. The flag is located on the same property, known as Finca Aragón, where trees were cut down and sediment deposited by the Russian-built Nicaraguan dredge.

“A flyover this morning above Isla Calero revealed the presence of Nicaraguan troops in national territory, Costa Rican territory,” Tijerino explained, adding:

There is a Nicaraguan flag and tents belonging to the Nicaraguan army. … Because of this, the National Police will reinforce its presence in the zone to protect national territory. Costa Rica, which doesn’t have an army, is looking for a solution to this conflict through diplomatic channels. We are looking for a solution that, if possible, will not further aggravate the situation.

Last week, the Costa Rican government lodged a formal protest with the Nicaraguan ambassador and dispatched up to 90 heavily armed police officers to the patrol the border (pictured above). Smarting from the accusations, Nicaragua’s acting foreign minister, Manuel Coronel Kautz, fired off a diplomatic note to San Jose, protesting apparent incursions by Costa Rican “troops” on Nicaraguan soil. Kautz bristled:

Our government rejects the incursion in past days of Nicaraguan territory by two armed officers of the OIJ [Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Organization], who were arrested during border monitoring activities and returned to Costa Rican authorities.

Nicaragua, respectful of the principle of International Law, will continue with the cleanup work in the river and will protect the borders and sovereignty of Nicaragua.

Notwithstanding Managua’s rhetoric, Costa Rica does not have “troops” per se since it disbanded its army after the Second World War, a fact that President Laura Chinchilla tersely pointed out afterwards. However, around 60 officers of the national police, some armed with M-60 machine guns, are stationed at the community center and elementary school in Barra del Colorado, a small town in the northeast corner of the country. Costa Rican Coast Guard boats are patrolling the mouth of the San Juan River, which flows into the Caribbean Sea.

Nicaragua’s Sandinista army commander, General Julio Aviles, maintains that his soldiers are on the northern side of the border as part of an anti-drug operation. Costa Rica has appealed to the Organization of American States.

While the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border row, like Managua’s tiff with Bogota over maritime rights in the Caribbean Sea, may seem like a “tempest in a tea cup,” these developments are worth monitoring. Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator is closely allied with Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela, as well as other Communist Bloc states like North Korea, Syria, Libya, and Iran. There is every sound reason for believing that Ortega may purposely enflame tensions in Central America to legitimize Venezuela’s massive, Made-in-Russia arms procurements, as well as Russia’s pledge to modernize Cuba and Nicaragua’s Soviet-vintage militaries.

Meanwhile, on October 28 the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front continued to flout Nicaragua’s constitutional order when craven party hack Roberto Rivas, de facto president of the Supreme Electoral Council, convoked general elections for November 6, 2011. Though Rivas’s term in this capacity expired four months ago, gridlock in the National Assembly has prevented the election of new magistrates. Rivas clings to his post by citing Ortega’s decree last January extending the terms of 25 top judges and magistrates. Nicaragua’s political parties have one week to submit their paperwork to participate in the electoral process and until March 18 to present their candidates.

Tellingly, Rivas made the announcement only to Sandinista-controlled media outlets during an event closed to independent media. Rivas, a close confidant of KGB asset Ortega, did not clarify the conditions under which international observers will be allowed to observe the electoral process. In fact, in recent statements to the local press, Rivas warned that foreign observers who criticize Nicaragua’s electoral process, “Will be put on the first plane back to their own country.”

“It’s paradoxical that the same people who are responsible for the [municipal electoral] fraud of Nov. 9, 2008 are convoking a new electoral process,” remarked Carlos Tünnerman, spokesman for the civic group Movement for Nicaragua, to The Nica Times. “The people of Nicaragua have to be aware of that.” Tünnerman cautioned that the convocation of elections could be a “trap” laid by Ortega to disqualify parties that refuse to participate in an election that many consider fraudulent from the get-go. “Of course we are going to participate in the electoral process,” protested Roberto Ferrey, president of the Nicaraguan Resistance Party, which represents the interests of the former US-backed Contra rebels.

In September, the White House for the first time ever named Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras as major transit hubs for drug trafficking. Army-less Costa Rica lacks the resources to combat the traffic. Several months ago, the US Treasury also identified two Costa Rican businesses as money laundering fronts for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which supplies 90 percent of the cocaine sold on US streets. The companies Agropecuaria San Cayetano de Costa Rica Ltda and Arrocera El Gaucho Ltda are owned by a “FARC financial associate,” Jose Cayetano Melo, revealed the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control in a June press release.

In 2008, Costa Rica’s Security Minister Fernando Berrocal resigned after insinuating possible links between FARC and some Costa Rican politicians. From the 1960s through the 1980s, admitted diplomat Melvin Saenz in an article posted on the website of Chinchilla’s National Liberation Party, “Costa Rica was a rest stop and medical rehabilitation location for Colombian rebel groups, including the FARC. They would interact with people in this country, not just the [left-wing] Popular Vanguard and Socialist Party but the [moderate] National Liberation too.”

“However, the tone has changed,” comments Alex Leff at the Global Post, “Today it’s faux pas to discuss FARC friends in most [Costa Rican] circles.” FARC is accused of infiltrating other countries in Central America, especially the dense jungles of southern Panama, where the guerrillas have exchange gunfire with Panamanian police patrols.

Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel is also suspected of being active in both Costa Rica and Panama, which may be one reason why anti-drug units unearthed a rare cache of illegal weapons in the home of a Guatemalan-born sociology professor. In May, Panamanian police arrested Professor Vinicio Jimenez, who teaches at the Chiriqui Regional University, following the raid on his residence. Police seized 47 assault rifles, 24 machine pistols, 487,000 rounds of ammunition, and almost 4,000 grenades. Pacific Coast province Chiriqui borders southern Costa Rica. Guatemala is home to violent drug gangs like Mara Salvatrucha.

>Latin America File: Mexico’s narcistas kill 3, wound 16 in coordinated attacks against four police HQs in Monterrey area, State Police Center targeted

>Mexico’s drug cartels are apparently determined to seize power from the legitimate government and transform the USA’s southern neighbor into an international base for lawlessness and criminality. On Saturday, narcistas armed with grenades and guns launched coordinated attacks against four police headquarters in the area of Monterrey and surrounding towns. At least 16 people were wounded and three killed. Pictured above: Mexican soldiers.

During the first attack, a bystander and two suspected gunmen were killed in the crossfire. Another 12 police and four civilians were left injured. The State Police Center, in the city of Monterrey, was a target, while the other attacks were against police HQs in Montemorelos, Allende, and Guadalupe. Monterrey, located about 140 miles from the US border, is Mexico’s most affluent city, producing eight percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Regional officials admit that an upsurge in drug violence is undermining economic growth in Monterrey. More than 650 drug killings have taken place this year in and around Monterrey, more than in the past four years combined. This weekend’s offensive against Monterrey’s police forces follows a week of massacres perpetrated by narcistas in various spots around the country. More than 29,000 people have died in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon launched his campaign to crush the drug cartels in late 2006.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia, PRC, C. Asian states wrap up SCO’s Peace Mission 2010 war game with Medvedev-Hu conclave in NE China

>On September 25 the militaries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) wrapped up two weeks of deployment and live-fire drills in Kazakhstan, the seventh such combined exercise since the SCO was founded in 2001 and the fourth under the deceptive label “Peace Mission.” The SCO consists of the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the former republics of Soviet Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Although a full member of the SCO, Uzbekistan did not participate in Peace Mission 2010.

The latest SCO war game involved 5,000 troops and 1,600 tanks and armored vehicles, 100 artillery and rocket launchers, and 50 warplanes and helicopters. Defense ministers from the participating countries attended a number of live-fire drills at the 1,600-square-kilometer Matybulak Range, in the southern part of Kazakhstan.

The deployment of 1,000 troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Kazakhstan, in particular, offered the PLA General Staff a practical venue to establish field barracks in a foreign state, coordinate military operations with allied armies, and utilize PLA military hardware on foreign soil. For Peace Mission 2010, Red China dispatched H-6 tactical bombers, J-10 fighter jets (pictured above), early warning aircraft, aerial tankers, and T-99 main battle tanks. Ground exercises included house-to-house combat, while aerial exercises involved “cross-border” bombing runs and mid-air refueling. The J-10 is a multi-role combat plane comparable to the F-16, Mirage 2000, and Sukhoi Su-27. The PLAAF operates 80 of these aircraft.

“By improving the quality of service and logistics in various links,” noted Li Zhujun, deputy chief of exterior liaison for the Red Chinese command, “we have created conditions for the soldiers and officers to devote themselves to the exercises in high spirits and full of vitality.”

For its part, the Russian Armed Forces contributed 1,000 troops, along with tanks and MiG-29 fighter jets, with the intent of applying military reforms now under implementation by the Kremlin. Among other objectives, the Russian Defense Ministry intends to transform the Ground Forces “from the old Soviet model of a huge military mass into a modern, compact and mobile type of army.” The Russians intend to outlay US$600 billion on new military procurements between now and 2020. In the process, they are swallowing their nationalism as they seek more technologically advanced armament and delivery systems from NATO countries like France and even the USA.

On September 19 SCO military commanders organized a day of remembrance for Soviet troops killed during Nazi Germany’s invasion of Russia. Representatives from the drill forces and Kazakhstan’s aged war veterans laid wreaths at a military monument in Paniflov Park in the capital Almaty. Paniflov Park is named after a battalion of the 316th Infantry Division led by Soviet General Ivan Paniflov, which served with distinction during the defense of Moscow in 1941 and 1942. About 100 Red Chinese soldiers attended the wreath-laying ceremony.

Kang Chunyuan, deputy chief of the PLA’s Beijing Military Region Political Department, offered the following comments: “All countries participating in the [Peace Mission] drill made outstanding contributions to the anti-fascist war [Second World War] and enormous sacrifices. Now the gathering of the representatives of their armed forces in remembrance of the heroes and martyrs in the anti-fascist war is of great significance.”

Although billed as an operation against the “Three Evil Forces” of terrorism, separatism, and extremism, the Peace Mission drills are without question preparations for war against NATO since they are expressly designed to test and promote interoperability between the armed forces of SCO states. Although SCO representatives have for some years denied that their alliance is a “military league,” a Red Chinese military officer admitted to state-run Xinhua that Peace Mission 2010 is a “thorough implementation and a comprehensive test of the agreement on holding joint military exercises signed by members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).” Major General Zhu Jianye, legal adviser to the PLA command participating in the drill, continued:

The agreement provides institutional, standardized and practical guarantees for holding joint military exercises by the armed forces of all SCO members. The signing of the agreement is a milestone in the history of the SCO. According to the agreement, the purpose of the join military exercises is to combat the three “evil forces”—terrorism, separatism, and extremism, and maintain peace, security and stability in the region. Through the exercise, the Chinese military officers and soldiers have enhanced their awareness of observing foreign-related laws.

This past Sunday, Russia and Red China wrapped up their latest joint military exercise by holding a round of economic cooperation meetings in the PRC’s northeast port city Dalian. There Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a Soviet Komsomol graduate, met his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao. Medvedev and Hu inked agreements to fight the “Three Evils” mentioned above, as well as commercial deals covering coal, nuclear energy, and banking. Hu praised the completion of a 1,000-kilometer oil pipeline, connecting oil fields in eastern Siberia and a major refinery in northeast China, which will come “online” in November. Under this arrangement, the PRC will lend US$25 billion to Russia, while Russia ships 300,000 barrels of oil per day to China for the next 20 years.

Last year, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, showed up in Beijing, where he signed US$3 billion worth of commercial deals that included an agreement to build two natural gas pipelines between the two countries. The Sino-Russian strategic partnership, established in 2001, appears to reverse many years of distrust between Moscow and Beijing, but which astute observers of communist strategy understand was part of a temporary deception implemented by the Soviet and Chinese communists.

>Latin America File: Venezuelan revolution falters as Chavez’s socialist party loses absolute majority; Sandinistas rewrite constitution over holiday

>– Narcistas Gun Down 10th Mexican Mayor for 2010, 15th since President Calderon Launched Counter-Insurgency Ops

Update: 11th Mayor Murdered This Year in Mexico: Gustavo Sanchez and Personal Secretary Stoned to Death in Michoacan State; Predecessor Resigned after Death Threats from Drug Cartels

– Mexico’s Border Town Mayors and Their Families Seek Refuge in USA

Pictured above: Newly elected lawmaker Julio Borges, from Venezuela’s centrist Justice First party, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Caracas, on September 27, 2010. Venezuelan opposition parties hope to oust President Hugo Chavez in the 2012 presidential election.

With the exception of countries like Colombia, Honduras, and Panama, which feature pro-business, pro-Washington governments, the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean continue to “tank” into a morass dominated by warmed-over communist recipes that were discredited 20 years ago.

This past Sunday Venezuelan voters handed a stinging rebuke to the country’s Marxist dictator, President Hugo Chavez, by reducing his party’s absolute majority in the National Assembly to a plurality. According to incomplete returns released today, Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which was organized in 2007 from the president’s older Fifth Republic Movement and allied leftist groups, won at least 94 of 165 seats. His foes on both the left and right of the political spectrum, such as Fatherland for All and Democratic Unity Table, scooped up 60 seats.

The Venezuelan opposition was in a buoyant mood following the election. “Clearly a majority of the country has expressed itself for change in the National Assembly,” trumpeted Ramon Guillermo Avelado, president of the opposition coalition. In his interview with Venevision TV, he added: “That is a win for all Venezuelans, not just for those who voted for our candidates.” Victorious opposition candidate Maria Corina Machado declared: “Here it is very clear: Venezuela said no to Cuban-style communism. Venezuela said yes to the path of democracy. We now have the legitimacy of the citizen vote. We are the representatives of the people.”

The Chavezista regime downplayed the PSUV’s failure to secure a two-thirds majority. On his Twitter account, Chavez, who has been president since 1999, stoutly remarked: “The vote is a solid victory, sufficient to continue deepening Bolivarian and democratic socialism.” Aristobulo Isturiz, who coordinated the PSUV’s election campaign and won a seat in the National Assembly, confided: “We had good results. However, two-thirds permits structural changes with the least resistance possible, with the least confrontation.”

In view of Chavez’s strategic partnership with Russia, Red China, and Communist Cuba, the presence of up to 60,000 Cuban agents on Venezuelan soil, the determination with which Chavez has persecuted opponents, and the speed with which his regime has nationalized Venezuela’s industries and natural resources, it is very unlikely that the PSUV leadership will reverse Venezuela’s communist revolution. Instead, as Chavez presses onward, we can expect to see a more heavy-handed response to dissent as Chavez unleashes his instruments of repression, such as the secret police, known since 2009 as the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN).

Meanwhile, in Nicaragua, where the Sandinista National Liberation Front is once again openly ruling, President Daniel Ortega’s toadies have been scurrying about rewriting the country’s constitution to facilitate the re-consolidation of Ortega’s Cold War-era dictatorship. Several weeks ago Ortega decreed a public holiday that prompted the politically deadlocked National Assembly to declare a recess. While opposition deputies vacationed, top Sandinista legislator Rene Nunez ordered the reprinting of the Nicaraguan Constitution, which was promulgated in 1995, with a forgotten article that was drafted in the late 1980s, during the first Sandinista regime.

According to “resurrected” second paragraph of Law 201, Supreme Court judges, electoral magistrates, and other public officials can remain in office beyond their term limits until new officials are appointed. Ortega and his henchentities, however, conveniently overlooked the fact that Law 201 was a temporary provision in the 1987 Constitution and expired more than 20 years ago. Law 201 was omitted from the 1995 constitutional rewrite.

Sandinista deputy Edwin Castro pontificated: “The people have to understand clearly that laws that are not reformed or overturned are still in effect.” Castro assured Nicaraguans that Law 201 will ensure “government stability” and “prevent anarchy” ahead of next year’s election. Billboards announcing “Daniel 2011” have already popped up throughout the country. Supreme Court judge Rafael Solis, who refused to turn in his gavel last April, gloated that the “new” constitution is all the “proof” he needs to remain on the bench, along with other Sandinista appointees.

Upon reconvening the assembly on September 20, Nicaragua’s opposition was quick to cry foul as they inspected the “new” constitution. Carlos Tunnerman, a lawyer in the employ of Movement for Nicaragua, complained: “The Sandinistas’ argument is absolutely absurd. Ortega and those around him are desperate to perpetuate their power.” Felix Maradiaga, a political science professor at Universidad Americana who was formerly senior advisor to the Ministry of Defense when the Constitutionalist Liberal Party was in power, called a spade a spade: “This eccentric and arbitrary decision by President Ortega is a demolition blow to the rule of law and a step towards a totally lawless government. With this decision, Ortega has turned back the clock to a time before the social contract.”

Alejandro Serrano, who was president of the Supreme Court during the first FSLN regime, expressed his disgust with his former comrades: “The Sandinistas have no legal arguments. This government is no longer legal or legitimate.”

Further north, in war-torn Mexico, on September 23 cartel gunmen assassinated their 10th mayor this year and their fifth in six weeks. Prisciliano Rodriguez Salinas, 53, mayor of the town of Doctor Gonzalez near the large city of Monterrey, was gunned down, along with another municipal official. The attack took place at 9:30 pm on Rodriguez’s ranch. Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned the assassination, as he has others in recent weeks.

Narcistas have murdered 10 mayors in 2010 in incidents related to organized crime, in addition to Rodolfo Cantu, who was favored to win the gubernatorial election in Tamaulipas this past July. A total of 15 mayors have been rubbed out since Calderon declared war on the drug cartels in December 2006. This tally is part of the larger body count of 28,000 narco-operatives, soldiers, police, and civilians who have perished in Mexico’s destabilizing drug war.

The fact that the drug cartels have targeted municipal officials for execution has frightened a number of mayors living in the border states of Tamaulipas, Chihuahua and Nuevo Leon to seek refuge in the USA. Some of these Mexican officials and their families have taken up permanent residence north of the border, while others divide their time between the USA and their homeland.

Many of Mexico’s northern border cities boast only between two to five patrol cars for an average of 30 police officers. In these locations Mexican law enforcement also has few firearms to take on cartel gunmen, many of whom pack fully automatic weapons and RPGs. In a previous post, we cited the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists as reporting that the government of the large border city of Reynosa is almost totally under the control of the Mexican Mafia.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Moscow, Havana finalize plans to integrate Cuba into Russian Space Forces’ satellite-based Glonass navigation system

>– Russian Military Employs Glonass Navigation System for Missile Targeting and Acquisition, Satellite Network Fully Operational as of September 2010

– Cuba: Soviet Base for Electronic Warfare in the Western Hemisphere, Island Boasts Second Largest Number of SIGINT Facilities in World–After USA

Following the Soviet communists’ long-range plan for global domination, the Putinist regime is closing ranks with its three most reliable allies in Latin America: Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Individually or even together, of course, the Havana-Caracas-Managua troika poses no threat to the USA. However, since Russia, or Red China for that matter, could conceivably use Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela as platforms to launch military attacks against North America, relations between the two communist superpowers and their Latin American client states should be monitored closely.

The Soviet Union did not hesitate to use Cuba as a platform to stage a potential ballistic missile attack against the USA during the early 1960s. The Soviets did not hesitate to drop East Bloc “advisors” and billions of dollars of arms into Nicaragua during the first Sandinista dictatorship in the 1980s. Since the KGB-managed demise of the Soviet Union, the Russians have not hesitated to offload four billion dollars worth of tanks, missiles, fighter jets, combat helicopters, and diesel submarines into Venezuela since communist paratrooper Hugo Chavez was elected in 1999. The Moscow-Caracas Axis includes the now-completed construction of two plants in Venezuela for the manufacture of Kalashnikov assault rifles and their ammunition.

Grenada is no longer a tool for the Soviet strategists, thanks to the US-led invasion in 1983, but its current prime minister has snuggled up to Cuba. Tillman Thomas has also renamed the island’s main airport after deceased Marxist dictator Maurice Bishop. Some infrastructure investment from Red China and Venezuela, furthermore, is taking place on the island.

At this blog we have repeatedly made reference to the on-site control that hundreds of Cuban “advisors” exercise in the Venezuelan military, security, and intelligence services, as well as Russia’s stated interest in the recently refurbished, Soviet-built, strategic bomber-capable runway in Punta Huete, Nicaragua. In the last two years Russia and Cuba’s top generals have paid official visits to the other’s country. For his part, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega often boasts about the military and police’s loyalty to the socialist principles of the Sandinista Revolution.

Under Putin and Medvedev, Russia has promised to re-equip the Soviet-vintage militaries of Cuba and Nicaragua, Russia’s air defense commander has inspected and promised to upgrade Cuban air defenses, Russia has pledged to train Cuban soldiers and Nicaraguan police, the Russian Air Force has floated the idea of re-fueling its bombers in Cuba and Venezuela, and the Russian Navy has made friendly ports of call in Cuba and Nicaragua, not to mention carried out a joint exercise with its Venezuelan counterpart in late 2008. Of course, Cuba and Nicaragua, unlike Venezuela, are strapped for cash and Ortega is employing every dirty trick in the communist playbook to legitimize next year’s re-election bid. Thus, we have yet to see Russian-built armament once again pour into Cuba and Central America.

During the Cold War and since Cuba has supplied the Soviet Union and Russia with signals intelligence (SIGINT) collected from North American communications, both civilian and military. According to Manuel Cerejo, who wrote an article “Cuba and Information Warfare” in the early 2000s, “Cuba probably now has more facilities for intercepting foreign satellite communications than any other country in the world, except the United States.” SIGINT bases are known to exist at Bejucal, Wajay, Santiago de Cuba, and Paseo.

Most of these systems were inherited from the Soviet Union in the 1980s. However, Russia maintained a SIGINT base at Lourdes until January 2002. Then President Vladimir Putin announced the decision to withdraw the Russian personnel staffing the facility barely a month after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Not so coincidentally, Putin visited Havana in 2000, the first time a Russian leader carried out official business in Cuba since the “demise” of Soviet communism nine years before. In early 1999 the People’s Republic of China opened SIGINT bases in Bejucal and Santiago de Cuba. The former specializes in intercepting US telephone communications and computer data traffic, while the latter specializes in intercepting US military satellite communications.

Using a jamming system purchased from Russian company Aviaconversia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba (FAR) has also developed limited capabilities for disrupting US satellite communication and the US military’s satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS), which is essential for missile targeting and acquisition. The FAR established a Counter-Electronic Warfare Department in 1992. Using SIGINT facilities based at Lourdes and the Cuban embassy in Baghdad, the Cuban military command carefully assessed the US Armed Forces’ performance in Iraq in 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, and ten years later in Afghanistan, during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Cerejo contends that “Cuba is home to the most virulent computer hackers in the world,” many of whom are dedicated to destroying NATO computer networks. In 1997 the FAR’s Central Military Commission set up an elite, 100-member corps tasked with devising “ways to planting disabling computer viruses into American and other Western command and control defense systems.” In 2000 the Cuban brass set up a strategic information warfare (IW) unit, dubbed Net Force by US military analysts, designed to “wage combat through computer networks to manipulate enemy information systems spanning spare parts deliveries to fire control and guidance systems.” Cuban IW units, continues Cerejo:

have reportedly developed “detailed procedures,” for Internet warfare, including software for network scanning, obtaining passwords and breaking codes, and stealing data; information-paralyzing software, information-blocking software, and information-deception software; and software for affecting counter-measures. These procedures have been tested in recent field exercises. Cuban radio spectrum management officials have declared that Cuba has capabilities of intercepting satellite up-link signals.

In summary, when the Soviet strategists decide that the time is ripe to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the USA, they will without question rely heavily on electronic data gathered by SIGINT bases in Cuba. Mohammed Atta’s secret meeting with a high-level Cuban defense official in Miami and the not-so-coincidental presence of Russian strategic bombers over the Arctic Ocean during the 911 skyjackings suggest that this scenario has already been tested.

The publicized integration of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua into the Russian military’s satellite-based Glonass navigation system, the counterpart to the US Armed Forces’ GPS, reveals that the Communist Bloc is very much alive and well. Both Glonass and GPS enable users to plot their own or enemy positions and targets, in the case of military users, within a few meters. The most recent comments from the Kremlin concern Havana’s access to Glonass. On September 15, Mikhail Kamynin, Russia’s ambassador to Cuba, acknowledged: “Our plans include a detailed work on connecting Cuba to the Glonass system.”

The Soviet Defense Ministry originally developed Glonass in the 1980s for missile targeting and acquisition. Glonass development was suspended in 1991, when the Soviet Union “collapsed,” but was revived in 2001. The Russian military presently uses Glonass chips in smart weapons and the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which was designed and manufactured in concert with strategic partner India. The BrahMos has a range of 180 miles and a maximum speed of Mach 2.8, which is three times faster than the US Tomahawk. This cruise missile can deliver a 660 pound conventional warhead and engage targets from an altitude as low as 30 feet.

On September 2 a Proton-M rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying three more Glonass satellites into orbit (pictured above). There they joined 23 others, although two are non-operational. The Russian Space Forces, a branch of the Russian Armed Forces, operates the satellites and requires 24 functioning satellites to provide worldwide navigation service. Between now and the end of 2010 the Russian Space Forces will launch two more Proton-M rockets, placing six more Glonass satellites into orbit, but the network is already fully operational.

The fact that the Russian military is anxious to include the Havana-Caracas-Managua Axis in its Glonass network is significant in the light of a future confrontation with the USA. The fact that last year Kremlin front company Yota brought wireless Internet service to neo-Sandinista Nicaragua in a rapid three-month installation project is not insignificant too. Wireless Internet has important C3 applications at the tactical/battlefield level. The fact that the People’s Republic of China, Russia’s main ally, is openly promoting military cooperation with insurgency-wracked Mexico should be examined accordingly.

For 20 years Western governments have mistakenly believed that communism is no longer a threat. Hence, strategic moves in the Western Hemisphere by Russia and Red China are no longer perceived as dangerous to America’s survival.