Sept. 10, 2008: With two Russian Tu-160 “Blackjack” bombers landing in Venezuela and new attention on Cuba by Russia, sufficient to spark concern over a potential renewed interest on the Kremlin’s part in tinkering in the Caribbean. Plus in Bolivia today, where activists have attacked a natural gas pipeline and stormed public buildings, it is time to take a look at S.America:
Latin American history is dominated by a singular thought: that the solution to the region’s problems lies somewhere beyond the continent. During the past few years the region began breaking away from that mindset, with many Latin American states tinkering with policies to take matters in their own hands. This occurred on both the left and right. Venezuela sought to use its energy resources to drive Western oil firms from the region. Colombia buckled down for war rather than wholly rely upon foreign aid. Argentina walked away from its foreign debt, and Brazil began building its own infrastructure with its own money. However, Latin America is coming of age and beginning to look internally to address problems, rather than depending upon action from beyond the region.
Case Study S.AmericaP.1: Overview.
Case Study S.AmericaP.2: Economic Musings.
Case Study S.America P.3: The Road to Independence.
Case Study S.America P.4: Che and Castro.
Before Castro stepped down today, he reached out to his old friend da Silva and Brazil. But da Silva is not the Castroite he was 20 years ago. Case Study S.America P.5: From Chile to Brazil.
In a May 6th, 2008 report The Council of Hemispheric Affairs suggests that the Shining Path is financing their reviving terrorist activities by charging for protecting drug-traffickers and intertwining the organization with coca production and distribution networks. Research Report:
Also following the Russo-Georgian war, several Latin American countries stepped forward to support Russia. Nicaragua became the first country to recognize the independence of Georgian breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia. As for Ortega’s recent move, this is sure to grab Russia’s attention at a time when Russia is looking for ways to keep the United States firmly focused anywhere but on Russia itself.
Update Sept.29, 2008: On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that he had accepted an offer from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to help Venezuela develop nuclear energy – “for peaceful ends of course.” The Russian nuclear power construction company Atomstroyexport, which is currently building Iran’s new plant, will coordinate the project.
The two countries have made no secret of their strategic partnership. Chavez boasts that he has developed a "profound friendship" with Putin. Returning the compliment, Putin declared that Russia and Venezuela are developing “our ties in all spheres,” with “new possibilities in energy, high-tech, machine construction and chemicals” and “cooperation in [the] military and technical spheres.”
Fueling this cooperation is a shared antagonism toward the United States. Both Chavez and Putin have described the relationship as “multi-polar” – a term that describes their opposition to “U.S. global domination.”
If the Russians and Venezuelans are actually planning to develop nuclear weapons, that would violate the 1969 Treaty of Tlateloco. Otherwise known as the “Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean,” it has been ratified by all 33 nations in the region.
Perhaps mindful of such perils, Russia isn’t placing all its eggs into a Venezuelan basket. Nicaragua’s military has been promised Russian replacement helicopters and missiles, while Cuba gets “a new space-based communication station and new aerial espionage capacities.” Together, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba form a strategic Caribbean triangle of anti-American nations and vital sea-lanes that Russia is eager to control. According to Investors Business Daily, “America imports 60% of its energy from overseas, and 64% of that must cross the Caribbean to reach Gulf refineries, ports and pipelines. Another portion must cross the Panama Canal. Russian communications operations, submarines and naval ships hanging around with little to do are a problem, even if a shot is never fired.
1 Nov., 2011: Anonymous activists threaten to expose Mexican drug cartel secrets, here the context: