It’s even hard to figure out where to begin on this one, but let’s try: Country A kills the second most important terrorist in the organization that has wrecked havoc into civilized life in that country. The terrorist, a prominent guerrila member with more than 50 charges of murder in his credentials is reportedly killed in country B. Country A says it did not violate country’s B sovereignty. The President of country A thanks that of country B for its help and this one in turn says that he needs to find out the details before he makes a statement. Meanwhile the President of another country, lets call it C, with a common border to A but not to with country B breaks diplomatic relations with A and sends troops to its border with country A. Country B also calls back its Ambassador. To top it all off, the terrorist organization itself says the dead terrorists was not in country B, but somewhere else when killed.
Even though it may sound like a Marx brothers dialogue a la -Who is on first?, such is life in the Hugo Chavez era that Venezuela is country C, which had nothing to do with with what happened in countries A, Colombia and country B, Ecuador, but comes out defending one of the worst Colombian terrorists, a man without humanity, principles or scruples, who now Chavez callas a “great revolutionary” and wants to get our country into war because of it. To make it even more ridiculous, if not depressing, Chavez actually held a minute of silence on national TV in memory of the dead terrorist.
But wait, why is Chavez sending troops to the border? Why would Colombia want to send troops over the Venezuelan border? Could it be that there are FARC guerrillas on this side of the border despite all of the denials?
After all, Ecuador, much like Venezuela has always denied that there are any FARC guerrillas within its borders and look where Reyes was reportedly killed. The same with Venezuela even if Rodrigo Granda, the Foreign Minister of the FARC was found happily living near Caracas, a Venezuelan citizen to boot, with legal identity under his won name, who got his papers aided by the man who happens to be the current Minister of the Interior and Justice under Chavez.
Because the reality is that the killing did not take place anywhere near the Venezuelan border as country B, Ecuador has no common border with us and this all happened on the other side of Colombia, at least one thousand miles away from Venezuela.
Thus, the fear must be that Colombia may decide to violate Venezuela’s border to speed up what is starting to look like the demise of the FARC as in a very short period of time, half of its top ten leaders have been either captured or killed and the organization, already worn out and tired as its goals have been perverted from the original ideals and turned into a mercantile drug and kidnapping operations, may be ready to unravel for lack of leadership.
In fact, Reyes’ killing will put to the test whether the top leader of the FARC Marulanda is alive or not, as if he isn’t ths should unleash a fight for control of the organization.
Chavez of course thinks that this distracts the attention of Venezuelans from shortages and crime, but it is as yet unclear to me that it does. In fact. the bickering of Chavez with Uribe right before the December referendum may have cost Chavez as many as two percentage points at that time, according to one well known pollster.
But it would be even worse if Hugo Chavez actually wanted to involve Venezuela in a conflict with Colombia in order to attempt to have the people forget the incompetence of his Government. It certainly seems more and more like that is the case, as Chavez even threatened Uribe with sending his jet fighter planes to Bogota, something which has no place and no justification over this incident. But much like other foreign leaders who look outside their borders when their luck turns down within their countries, Chavez may think that this will turn him into a hero.
Except that in the end, somebody has to fight the war and it will certainly will not be Hugo. And it is unlike going to be the Venezuelan military either, which on Dec. 2nd. forced Chavez to accept the results of the referendum and is unlikely going to want to fight Hugo’s personal war for him. Chavez no longer enjoys the high popularity levels that he did a few years ago, a gamble that a conflict with Colombia will prop up his popularity, may turn out to be his final gamble.
Watch any public statements by General Raul Baduel today or tomorrow, it will tell you where the military stands.