World

Carlos Ponce: Chavez’s Narco-Tyranny and Accomplices

  • June 29: A motorcycle mirror reflects a painting depicting  Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez  in Caracas, Venezuela.AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

    June 29: A motorcycle mirror reflects a painting depicting Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Venezuela.AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)  (AP)

  • Dr. Carlos Ponce is the elected general coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy, lecturer at Tufts University and member of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy and the ISC of the Community of Democracies.

    Dr. Carlos Ponce is the elected general coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy, lecturer at Tufts University and member of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy and the ISC of the Community of Democracies.

What happens when a president appoints as Minister of Defense a General who has been included in several international terrorist lists as well as been placed on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) list for his connection with drug cartels?  It would be safe to assume that the president himself is an active player illicit drug and terrorism activities.  This is the case in Venezuela, where Hugo Chávez appointed General in Chief Henry Rangel Silva to be the new Minister of Defense. The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned Rangel Silva and six other current (and former) high level Venezuelan government officials for allegedly assisting narcotics trafficking by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). 

Further making this case, President Chávez secured the election of another suspect of connections with drug trafficking, former Vice President and Miranda State governor Captain Diosdado Cabello.  Cabello is a former military official who was involved with Chávez’s conspiracies starting with the guerilla group Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement and some says that he is the key element in the connection among the military and illegal business.  His new position as the president of the parliament gives more power to the corrupt military faction of Chávez’s movement in the country.  Cabello’s position at the head of Chávez’s United Socialist Party (PSUV) cements the military takeover.  

Unfortunately, the bad news does not stop here.  This week the Iranian dictator Mahmud Ahmadinejad is visiting Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador to “strengthen” the economic, political, energy and military “brotherhood” with Latin America, in particular with the “Bolivarian” countries in the region. Hugo Chávez has been an active promoter of Iran in Latin America and other regional leaders due to receive Ahmadinejad, such as Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega and Ecuador's Rafael Correa, have a similar ideological-authoritarian stance to Chávez.  Despite fewer resources than Chávez, they can assist Mr. Chávez in his attempts to triangulate Iran’s banking, commercial and energy operations worldwide to counter effect the imminent international economic sanctions against Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei regime.

There is increasing evidence of the Iranian regime using Latin America to launder sanctionable money.  For example, several oil and gas experts have been claiming that Venezuela’s oil production has been less than 2 million barrels per day for the last decade, at the same time that Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) - the government oil company - reports more than 3 million barrels per day of production.  This difference of more than 1 million barrels per day could be the use of the oil company to launder Iranian and drug trafficking money.  

If we add other countries to the equation, what we are witnessing could be one of the largest mafia cartels in the world; assisting not only the FARC and Hezbollah, but Iran and Russian and Chinese mafias as well.  Their constant protests aside; this cartel called ALBA cares less for social justice and equality than they do about power and money.  Hugo Chávez has carefully crafted for himself the image of a great Latin American “libertator”, but as the reality emerges from his “Bolivarian Revolution”, he ceases to amuse, he is more a dangerous clown or sadistic buffoon than a social champion.  What he has been doing has been consolidating a major challenge for the democratic world.

To obtain diplomatic cover, Chávez has also gone about buying support from other Latin American leaders anxious to assuage their energy needs for a reduced price.  The “see no evil, hear no evil” presidents of Latin America have become accomplices in the destruction of democracy in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela; and are morally responsible for the continued tragedy that is Cuba. And the charade just keep growing, as Fox News Latino article “Is Ollanta Humala the New Autocrat Apprentice?” predicted months ago, the Peru’s president, Ollanta Humala, has been getting rid of democratic elements in his cabinet and he is building a stronger alliance with Mr. Chávez.  

The sad demonstration from the MERCOSUR country presidents two weeks ago, seeking a way to modify then statues of the organization just to satisfy Hugo Chávez; or the regional support for the electoral fraud in Nicaragua; or turning their backs on drug-running through the ALBA triangle; it has been sad to watch the lack of leadership in the region.
It is sad to see democratic countries become accomplices of a major crime against democracy, allowing criminals to literally get away with murder.  It is at long last time for principled people to see the plight of the poor and oppressed within the ALBA triangle and for presidents across the hemisphere to finally offer their support – not to the governments but to the citizens.  A people who are governed by drug runners, like Henry Rangél Silva, cannot expect from their own governments a redress of grievances or their right that their governments be for the people and by the people.

Dr. Carlos Ponce is the elected general coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy, co-editor of the political magazine “Nueva Politica”, lecturer in several US and Latin American Universities and member of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy and the ISC of the Community of Democracies. Twitter: @ceponces       

Accomplices of the Americas’ Narco-tyranny

Dr. Carlos E. Ponce

 

What happens when a president appoints as Minister of Defense a General who has been included in several international terrorist lists as well as been placed on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) list for his connection with drug cartels?  It would be safe to assume that the president himself is an active player illicit drug and terrorism activities.  This is the case in Venezuela, where Hugo Chávez appointed General in Chief Henry Rangel Silva to be the new Minister of Defense. The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned Rangel Silva and six other current (and former) high level Venezuelan government officials for allegedly assisting narcotics trafficking by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Further making this case, President Chávez secured the election of another suspect of connections with drug trafficking, former Vice President and Miranda State governor Captain Diosdado Cabello.  Cabello is a former military official who was involved with Chávez’s conspiracies starting with the guerilla group Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement and some says that he is the key element in the connection among the military and illegal business.  His new position as the president of the parliament gives more power to the corrupt military faction of Chávez’s movement in the country.  Cabello’s position at the head of Chávez’s United Socialist Party (PSUV) cements the military takeover.  Unfortunately, the bad news does not stop here.  This week the Iranian dictator Mahmud Ahmadinejad is visiting Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador to “strengthen” the economic, political, energy and military “brotherhood” with Latin America, in particular with the “Bolivarian” countries in the region. Hugo Chávez has been an active promoter of Iran in Latin America and other regional leaders due to receive Ahmadinejad, such as Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega and Ecuador's Rafael Correa, have a similar ideological-authoritarian stance to Chávez.  Despite fewer resources than Chávez, they can assist Mr. Chávez in his attempts to triangulate Iran’s banking, commercial and energy operations worldwide to counter effect the imminent international economic sanctions against Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei regime.

There is increasing evidence of the Iranian regime using Latin America to launder sanctionable money.  For example, several oil and gas experts have been claiming that Venezuela’s oil production has been less than 2 million barrels per day for the last decade, at the same time that Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) - the government oil company - reports more than 3 million barrels per day of production.  This difference of more than 1 million barrels per day could be the use of the oil company to launder Iranian and drug trafficking money.  If we add other countries to the equation, what we are witnessing could be one of the largest mafia cartels in the world; assisting not only the FARC and Hezbollah, but Iran and Russian and Chinese mafias as well.  Their constant protests aside; this cartel called ALBA cares less for social justice and equality than they do about power and money.  Hugo Chávez has carefully crafted for himself the image of a great Latin American “libertator”, but as the reality emerges from his “Bolivarian Revolution”, he ceases to amuse, he is more a dangerous clown or sadistic buffoon than a social champion.  What he has been doing has been consolidating a major challenge for the democratic world.

To obtain diplomatic cover, Chávez has also gone about buying support from other Latin American leaders anxious to assuage their energy needs for a reduced price.  The “see no evil, hear no evil” presidents of Latin America have become accomplices in the destruction of democracy in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela; and are morally responsible for the continued tragedy that is Cuba. And the charade just keep growing, as Fox News article “Is Ollanta Humala the New Autocrat Apprentice?” predicted months ago, the Peru’s president, Ollanta Humala, has been getting rid of democratic elements in his cabinet and he is building a stronger alliance with Mr. Chávez.  

The sad demonstration from the MERCOSUR country presidents two weeks ago, seeking a way to modify then statues of the organization just to satisfy Hugo Chávez; or the regional support for the electoral fraud in Nicaragua; or turning their backs on drug-running through the ALBA triangle; it has been sad to watch the lack of leadership in the region.

It is sad to see democratic countries become accomplices of a major crime against democracy, allowing criminals to literally get away with murder.  It is at long last time for principled people to see the plight of the poor and oppressed within the ALBA triangle and for presidents across the hemisphere to finally offer their support – not to the governments but to the citizens.  A people who are governed by drug runners, like Henry Rangel Silva, cannot expect from their own governments a redress of grievances or their right that their governments be for the people and by the people.

Dr. Carlos Ponce is the elected general coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy, co-editor of the political magazine “Nueva Politica”, lecturer in several US and Latin American Universities and member of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy and the ISC of the Community of Democracies. Twitter: @ceponces       http://twolatinamericas.blogspot.com/

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