Monday, March 03, 2008

Mr. Danger

Alvaro Uribe is a former lawyer educated at Harvard and Oxford, and a political conservative who believes in free trade. Since coming to power in Colombia in 2002 he has maintained a hardline policy against the Farc rebel movement, which killed his father during a kidnap attempt.

In contrast, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is a former paratrooper and the charismatic leader of the new left in Latin America. Backed by vast oil reserves, he has attempted to direct the continent away from the influence of Washington. For Mr Chavez, that role includes offering to use his influence in hostage negotiations with the Farc, who regard him as an ally.

[Source: BBC News]

I like Venezuelans, but Chavez is driving me crazy. If there's a country that has suffered the consequences of perpetual violence, it is Colombia. We have been fighting terrorists for over 40 years, but in spite of the large efforts, we are still unable to beat them. A couple of days ago, the Colombian military forces were finally able to hit the Farc guerrilla, by tracking and killing his second man in command, Raul Reyes, who was hiding in Ecuadorian territory. Now, if Ecuador's president gets angry at us for invading his territory, fine, he has the right to do so, even if it was only 2 kms away from the Colombian border. But the part I cannot understand is Chavez protesting against the attack, and denouncing it as "a cowardly murder" of a "good revolutionary". A protest backed by the mobilization of tanks towards the Colombian border (!), and by closing Venezuela's Embassy in Colombia (!).

Let's stop here for a minute. Why would Chavez do this? What has Colombian relations with Ecuador to do at all with Venezuela? Or does he owe too much to Colombian terrorist groups to just keep quiet? When will Chavez understand that Colombia needs to put an end to this conflict that has cost us so many innocent lives, not to mention deterioration of our economy and international reputation? If you like Farc and Eln so much, why don't you host them all in your beautiful country? Give them a piece of your land, embrace them with your Bolivarianism, and even use them as your army to invade the rest of the continent, so that your leftist trail finds no borders.

So, Mr. Chavez: if you are supporting the terrorist group that has kidnapped and killed thousands of Colombian inhabitants, including Mr. Uribe's father, if you lament the death of a villain that has helped grow a criminal organization, if your pain is so strong that you are even willing to stop diplomatic relations with Colombia, doesn't that make you a threat to the continent? You once referred to President Bush as Mr. Danger, but I am starting to think that the real Mr. Danger is no one else but you...

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