The next 9/11-style terrorist attack may originate from the unlikeliest of places: socialist Venezuela. This is because that country’s Marxist president, Hugo Chavez, who has been busy creating his own version of the Warsaw Pact, is dropping hints that his nation’s territory might be used as the launch pad for an Islamist assault on the continental United States.
Some have difficulty taking the famously flamboyant Chavez seriously. He is, after all, the erratic fellow who blamed the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti on the U.S. He poses for photos with a parrot on his shoulder. He rants — and sometimes sings – on Sundays on his TV show about whatever pops into his head, whether it’s about his bouts with diarrhea or his unhappiness with his cabinet ministers.
But despite his eccentricities, it’s important to remember that Chavez openly works with the terrorist groups Hamas, Hezbollah, and FARC — a Marxist-Leninist narco-terrorist group in neighboring Colombia. Hamas and Hezbollah have offices in Caracas, and Chavez funds FARC. A congressional report indicates Iran’s fanatical Revolutionary Guard is active in Venezuela. A State Department report notes Venezuela’s close working relationship with terrorism-sponsoring Cuba.
Let’s follow the bread crumbs:
Chavez has made no secret of his abiding hatred of America and its freedoms. He calls capitalism “savagery” and President Barack Obama “a poor ignoramus.” Obama got off easy. Chavez referred to President George W. Bush as “the Devil.”
It’s no coincidence that Islamofascist fanatic Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, leader of Iran (the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism), and Chavez are good friends. Last year, Chavez and Ahmadinejad announced that their two countries had formed a “strategic alliance” to end U.S. “imperialism.” The two nations will seek to “establish a new world order based on humanity and justice,” the Iranian president said. Until recently, Venezuela had been helping Iran get through temporary problems with its oil refining capacity by shipping 20,000 barrels of gasoline a day to the Islamic Republic. The program, in operation since 2009, ended in February 2011 when Iran reportedly achieved self-sufficiency in gasoline production.
Chavez defends Iran’s allegedly peaceful nuclear energy program, and has plans to develop a nuclear program of his own. He denies that he intends to develop a nuclear weapons program. “Who in Venezuela could take on a project of that type? Who? We aren’t going to take it on.”
Not many were surprised when Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), the government-owned oil company that also operates CITGO in the U.S., unveiled a plan in October to invest $780 million in Iran’s South Pars field, the largest natural gas field in the world. PDVSA’s involvement with Iran is important because the company is regarded as a “black box” that funds Chavez’s overseas political ambitions. Oil export revenues fuel Chavez’s petro-diplomacy.
Meanwhile, Chavez’s friends in Iran have been reaching out to other left-of-center nations in the Americas. Iran recently donated a $2.5 million hospital in El Alto, Bolivia near La Paz. Iran has pledged $1.1 billion in development aid to Bolivia, which responded by seeking closer military ties to the emerging Middle Eastern power.
Chavez and Bolivia’s Marxist president, Evo Morales, see eye to eye. In fact, Chavez has called the partnership between Venezuela, Bolivia, and Iran, the “Axis of Annoyance” for its ability to vex the United States.
And Morales does not take a back seat to Chavez in denouncing their common foe. “Capitalism is the worst enemy of humanity,” Morales said, as he called for its destruction. “I would like to say that the origin of this crisis is the unbridled consumption and accumulation of capital in a few hands, the looting of natural resources, the commercialization of Mother Earth, and above all, I believe its origin lies in an economic model—capitalism,” he told the United Nations.
Other Chavez-friendly Latin American countries may join the socialist-Islamist entente. Iran has been courting Ecuador, whose government is headed by leftist president Rafael Correa. Last year, Ecuadorian Vice President Lenin Moreno signed an agreement with Iran to build three hydroelectric projects in Ecuador. Iran also has significant, though less extensive, ties to the left-leaning regimes in Brazil and Chile, but their association is likely to grow stronger.