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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Latin America’s Expanding “Anti-Imperialist” Army

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Testing continues to determine the precise composition of the residue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is reality catching up with fiction?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diminished Shining Path Approaches Fourth Decade of Insurgency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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