March 29, 2005

Spain, Brazil and Colombia today in Venezuela

Last month a Spanish Senator, Alejandro Muñoz, qualified as “dangerous” the relationships of the government of his country with Hugo Chávez. Muñoz, accused Chávez of having transformed Venezuela into a “terrorist sanctuary”, of being guilty of destabilizing neighbouring nations and of been embarked in an arm race that contributes to the uncertainty of the Latin American region. Similar alert has thrown by Mariano Rajoy, president of the Popular Party of Spain and Gustavo Arístegui, part of that same political organization, who speak of commandant Chávez's links with Fidel Castro's and of its never hidden intention of exporting the Bolivarian revolution. (Further information in English can be found at "")
The Chief of the Spanish Government, Rodríguez Zapatero, justified the signature of a new defense treaty with Venezuela and the subsequent sale of military weapons, since they will generate 900 new employments in Spain.
Charles de Gaulle once said that “countries do not have friends or enemies, they just have interests”. This phrase is a good portrait of how the Spanish government is manipulating situation that is likely to be very beneficial from the monetary point of view to Spain, but a serious threat to the region.
Then again, “money talks” whilst ethics are left behind. Once again, we are facing an example of how an “ethic” decision is made: "show me the money, I will show you how ethic I am”. In any case, each country should do whatever is good for its own interest, even if it is detrimental to another…isn’t the history full of examples like this?
The truth is that the International politics world is not what it used to be. It is known that International Laws exist in order to establish responsibilities when one country helps, directly or indirectly, a group that is known to have the intention of committing a crime. Hugo Chávez links with the Colombian Guerrilla are know well known and documented…is Spain aware of the fact that, by selling guns to the Venezuelan government, they are indirectly helping the guerrilla??

One hypothesis will be that Spain is now trying to enter into the Latin American market in order to compete with the United States, after all, the globalisation process is imposing a new order and the Anti Bush attitude of Chavéz will help not only Spain, but China and India to enter to a market monopolised by USA. The situation, of course, is not bad considering the amount of money that is going to be generated by this incoming commerce. But the real fact is that, Spain is negotiating with a government is not democratic and that has proven to be not only non efficient but also incredibly corrupted.
Today, the presidents of Brazil, Colombia and Spain are in Venezuela. The political agenda is very complicated. Spain is going to get a lot of business but at the same time, is going to have to convince Colombia that the weapons that Venezuela is acquiring are not going to support the guerrilla. Brazil, on the other hand, sooner or later will be pushed to take a position…will it recognized the guerrilla as “terrorists” groups and help Colombia and the USA to fight them, or will still support the Venezuelan autocrat and Castro´s leftist ideology?

Chávez to woo foreign allies at summit

By Andy Webb-Vidal in Bogotá
March 28 2005 22:52
Hugo Chávez, Venezuela's president, will on Tuesday host a summit with the leaders of Brazil, Colombia and Spain an occasion that will allow Caracas to court foreign allies and offset deteriorating relations with the US. The summit in the Venezuelan city of Puerto Ordaz comes amid US worries over Venezuela's plans to buy a range of military weapons. Mr Chávez, leader of the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, says the arms will shore up national defences.
Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defence, said in Brasília last week that he was concerned as to why Venezuela had to acquire 100,000 Kalashnikov automatic rifles from Russia. There are fears the weapons could fall into the hands of Colombian insurgents.
But Tuesday's summit is more likely to show that Mr Chávez's government is far from isolated internationally. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil's president, and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spain's prime minister, are expected to try to soothe the concerns of Alvaro Uribe, Colombia's president, over Venezuela's arms procurement plans. Brasília and Madrid also plan to sell military hardware to Caracas. Mr Lula da Silva's government played a key role in brokering a settlement to a dispute between Bogotá and Caracas this year.
The meeting will show Mr Zapatero's desire to rekindle Spain's relations with Latin America, neglected under José Mar´a Aznar, his pro-US predecessor. “Each of them wants to show that they are leaders beyond the boundaries of their own countries and can play co-operative regional roles,” said Julia Sweig, Latin America expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, a think-tank based in Washington. Mr Zapatero will signal support for Mr Chávez, but is also expected to make warm overtures to Mr Uribe, who wants to build bridges with Europe. Mr Zapatero this week will visit Bogotá, where he is expected to commend Mr Uribe's domestic security policies.
Mr Zapatero is likely to use the Franco-Spanish campaign against Eta, the Basque separatist group, as an example of the effectiveness of cross-border co-operation against terrorism.
The four are expected to discuss drug trafficking. A quarter of the cocaine exported from Colombia, the world's top producer, is transported through Venezuela, largely en route to Europe. Spain is Europe's largest consumer of cocaine and Europe's main port of entry for drugs. Brazil is the second-largest cocaine-using country, after the US.

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