Putin’s government increases weapons sales, military cooperation as U.S. reduces aid to the region
Recent reports that Cuban military personnel are on the ground in Syria to support the alliance between Russia and the Assad regime underscore Moscow’s efforts to establish its most significant foothold in Latin America since the Cold War, analysts say.
A U.S. official told Fox News that Cuban paramilitary and special operations forces arrived in Syria to assist Russia, which has deployed troops and equipment and launched airstrikes in recent weeks to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Cuban troops could be there to advise the Syrian army or operate Russian-made tanks. The White House said in response that it has seen no evidence that Cuban forces are actually in Syria. Continue reading
BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin is intensifying its relations to the new Latin American “Pacific Alliance” and, thereby, heightening tension on the subcontinent. The Pacific Alliance, a network of four Pacific bordering Latin American nations, has a neo-liberal orientation and is closely allied with the EU and the USA through free trade agreements. It is currently growing rapidly stronger and could, possibly also threaten Brazil’s standing as the subcontinent’s most powerful economic power. However, it is mainly aimed at Latin America’s Venezuela-inspired ALBA alliance, struggling for autonomous development, which includes strong socially oriented policies. “The strategy of the Pacific Alliance” is “not just commercial,” it is more “a political and military strategy [seeking] to reinstall the Washington Consensus,” according to a minister of ALBA member Bolivia. At the beginning of the month, Germany obtained observer status at the Pacific Alliance, with which the German industry is expanding its trade relations. Alongside its increasing tensions on the Latin American continent, the alliance is helping the West prepare for the conflict of the century – between China and the USA. Continue reading
According to Robert Valencia, China is vying for greater economic influence in Latin America, to include possibly constructing and operating an alternative ‘Panama Canal’ through Nicaragua. One unanticipated consequence of this burgeoning US-China rivalry, Valencia observes, is that it might push Latin American countries closer together.
During the first weekend of June, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California to discuss cyber espionage and territorial claims in the Pacific Rim. While tension on these topics has hogged the headlines, the fight for influence in another area could be even more important—Latin America. Other emerging markets in Africa, where China has an overwhelming influence due to foreign direct investment in mining and oil, also offer economic opportunities, but Latin America has an abundance of natural resources, greater purchasing power, and geographic proximity to the United States, which has long considered Latin America as its “backyard.” Continue reading
If the cancer-stricken Chavez survives until his Jan. 10 inauguration but dies during the first four years of his term, the constitution says that Maduro would take over temporarily and that new elections should be held within 30 days.Chavez told Venezuelans on Saturday night if he isn’t able to stay on he wants them to elect Maduro as his successor. Continue reading
ALBA professes commitment to regional economic integration. It promises easy money to beleaguered nations, and is viewed as an easy alternative to the bureaucracy encumbering the World Bank.
A closer look, however, reveals it to be a bloc devoted above all to anti-Americanism, and comprised of members who have rigged elections to avoid losing power.
Moreover, membership in alba brings countries into common cause with the world’s most destabilizing nations and most malicious terrorist groups. The organization has forged ties with Middle Eastern terrorists that could pose a serious threat not only to Latin American countries, but also to the U.S. and Canada.
The man most responsible for alba’s spread is Hugo Chávez. His checkbook has wide ideological and cultural appeal in Latin America and the Caribbean. Chávez gave nearly $200 million to Manuel Zelaya’s government in Honduras to help his illegal attempt at re-election. Every year, he gives Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega around $500 million in “free” money to prop up his dictatorship.
Under alba’s umbrella, leading politicians have become the Caribbean’s and Latin America’s new breeders of crime. And since politicians at the highest levels are in on the action, reporting on alba-Hezbollah ties is rare. But some reports fight their way through the conspiratorial haze.
In August of 2008, for example, the Los Angeles Times reported that an unnamed Western official had said Venezuela was providing Iran-backed Hezbollah with a base of operations. The official warned that Hezbollah is able to move “people and things” into Latin America thanks to the warm Iran-Venezuela relationship. He said this link “preserves the capability of Hezbollah and the [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard [Corps] to mount attacks inside Latin America,” and added “It’s becoming a strategic partnership.”
“There is a Chávez terror network on America’s doorstep,” says Rebecca Theodore, senior editor of Caribbean News Now.
Theodore said the danger of terrorists entering the U.S. via Latin America and the Caribbean is imminent. “It won’t be long before Iranian terrorists with Venezuelan and Dominican passports stand in line and show their documents to U.S. border agents as well,” she said.
The thickening alliance between anti-U.S. alba nations and West-hating terrorist groups like Hezbollah casts dark shadows across both Americas. It reveals that the Middle Eastern extremists who oppose the U.S. are becoming better connected, more powerful, and closer to America’s borders. It also reveals that U.S. influence is rapidly waning in a region it relies on heavily for industrial cooperation.
Full article: The Unholy Union of ALBA and Hezbollah (The Trumpet)
The eight member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance bloc, or ALBA, met to approve an agreement barring any boats flying Falkland Islands flags from docking in their ports.
“The issue of the Malvinas Islands is an issue that concerns us, especially with the strong language that has emerged from the British government, accusing Argentina of being colonialist,” Mr Chavez, the Venezuelan president, said, calling it “the world in reverse”.
Tensions have increased to their highest level since the end of the conflict 30 years ago as the Duke of Cambridge, a Royal Air Force helicopter pilot, began a six week tour of duty in the islands. The Royal Navy also announced last week it was sending its most powerful warship, HMS Dauntless, to the South Pacific.
“I’m speaking only for Venezuela, but if it occurs to the British Empire to attack Argentina, Argentina won’t be alone this time,” Mr Chavez said.
At a regional meeting, Ecuadorean president, Rafael Correa, suggested the countries take stronger measures. “We have to talk about sanctions,” Mr Correa said.
Full article: Hugo Chavez says Venezuelan troops would fight with Argentina over Falklands (The Telegraph)
While most eyes have been fixated on China, Russia, Europe or the middle east over the years; in our own backyard Latin America has been forming into a regional hegemonic bloc, threat and challenge to the United States.
Finally, Pravda notes with satisfaction the devotion of Latin America’s Red Axis leaders to Russia, Cuba, China, and Iran, as well as regional integration:
Chavez, Morales and Correa are charismatic leaders who have gained global admiration and support. They favor a multi-polar world, anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism. They share strong ties to other Latin American countries, Cuba, China, Russia and Iran.
Latin American strength is founded on unification. Chavez, Morales and Correa are fiery champions of ALBA (Alliance for the Peoples of our America), UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) and the newly created CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States). Latin America has its own virtual currency, the SUCRE, and its own regional bank, BANCO DEL SUR.
Something tells me, though, that even if a Republican returns to the White House in 2013, Washington’s response to the “Red Spread” south of the border will be piecemeal at best. The Oval Office needs the robust ideological presence of another Ronald Reagan, in our opinion, America’s last great president.
Incidentally, Communist China, which had virtually no presence in Latin America and the Caribbean during the Cold War, has carved out new niches in this region, including one that suggests a “Red Cocaine” scenario.
Earlier this month, the Mexican navy reported the seizure of 195 tons of methylamine, a chemical used to make the synthetic drug methamphetamine, as well as synthetic cocaine. Mexican authorities found 12 shipping containers full of this precursor chemical at the Pacific coast port of Lazaro Cardenas. The shipment originated in Red China and was destined for Guatemala and Nicaragua. Mexican navy officials said the drug cartels terrorizing their country have expanded their methamphetamine operations to Guatemala. Not so coincidentally, the port facility at Lazaro Cardenas is operated by Hutchison-Whampoa, which is owned by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, who in turn is closely allied with the Communist Party of China.
According to a 2011 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the world’s main producers of synthetic drugs remain the Netherlands and Myanmar (Burma), but manufacture has lately spread to Latin America.
Continue reading article: Latin America File: Russia hails formation of Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, “anti-imperialist” regional bloc embraces Cuba, excludes USA and Canada, widely perceived as counterweight to OAS; Pravda praises “socialist tide sweeping” South America (Once Upon A Time in the West)