Sunday, March 27, 2005

Trouble to the South

The number two man in the Axis of El Vil will become a problem for us. I've noted that Hugo Chavez of Venezuela was setting up his own fedayeen by arming his supporters. I noted they could be used to bully the civilian opposition.

Strategypage has additional information. The regular armed forces are suspicious of the move and resent Chavez's moves toward the Russians (and presumably Cuba and China, too). Cubans are reportedly (and there is no surprise here) involved in setting up the organization. Says Strategypage:

This sort of mass organization has been used before in Latin America, by both leftist and rightist dictators (pro-fascist Juan Peron of Argentina, and communist Fidel Castro of Cuba.) But by passing out guns to his most dedicated followers, Chavez is angering the military, making the middle class even more nervous, and setting the stage for a bloody civil war.

You know, over the last couple years I've looked at Chavez as an annoyance rather than a real threat, mocking him as part of the "Axis of El Vil" ("El Vil" means "the vile one" in Spanish, at least that's what my Google translator tells me). We had more important things to worry about, like jihadi nutballs and the seriously dangerous Axis of Evil.

But with Venezuala flirting with China and getting support from Cuba (honestly, I don't worry about the Russian angle, they aren't a superpower any more), we could face disorder in our own backyard that ties down significant military power that would be better used overseas. Our military isn't large and every division, carrier, or air wing tied down in our own hemisphere could make the difference in an overseas crisis.

The good news is the Venezuelan armed forces aren't a creature of Chavez and the middle class does oppose Chavez. The bad news is that no insert-your-color-here peaceful revolution will succeed in Venezuela. Chavez will look to the Chinese example and order his fedayeen to slaughter any unarmed protesters who get too dangerous.

What will the Venezuelan military do then? And what will we do?

We'd do well to keep our east coast Marine Expeditonary Force loose as well as the 82nd AB division. You never know. With the balance in Venezuela, our intervention could be critical to making sure the opposition isn't destroyed for a generation.

Crud. This decade really does suck.