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Monday, August 17, 2009

'Alo' back at ya Hugo

On his regular weekly "Alo Presidente" TV program, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez Sunday said President Obama has "lost his bearings, he doesn't get it" about what Latin America wants and what the U.S. should do in the region. The arrogance of this little tinpot know-it-all reminds me of former American leaders who also spoke for the entire region, telling Latin American countries what was best for them.

Chavez also claimed, again, that the U.S. had prior knowledge about the military coup that topped Manuel Zelaya in Honduras in June. Well, I should hope so. If our diplomats and civilian and military intelligence folks in the region were doing their jobs, we should have known. Washington has already said it tried to thwart the coupmakers. Chavez talks as if he did not have prior knowledge. Chavez, with Cuban assistance, has one of the best and most active intelligence apparatuses in the hemisphere. It's just that things didn't work out the way he had hoped, and now he's whining.

The one argument about U.S. meddling in the hemisphere that does carry water is his criticism of Washington's plans to expand use of several Colombian military bases in the war on drugs. That war is lost, and the Obama Administration ought to take the lead in forging a new global strategy to replace it. Billions of dollars down the drain, the crime syndicates now fully mafia-ized, (see http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2009/08/16/mexico_cartels_go_from_drugs_to_full_scale_mafias/) and heavy weapons flowing across the U.S.'s southern border into Mexico, the Caribbean and points further south. How much longer until people realize that this New Prohibition is doing more harm than good?

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