donderdag, januari 13, 2005

Trouble with a capital T, here in River City (well - the Venezuela-Colombia border, actually)

While it cheers this old (twenty-nine and one third [my God - do I really only have nine months left of my twenties? Quick - I must write a novel, some poetry, something!]) Marxist's soul to hear that Chavez has accelerated the country's land redistribution programme and is expropriating the property of absent landlords (and they said shit like that doesn't happen anymore), there is fairly worrying news from Venezuela as well.

It seems that Colombia has actually ventured into Venezuelan territory to kidnap the international public relations officer for the FARC. Now, whatever one thinks of the FARC - and my personal opinion is that, while the Colombian government is without doubt the bloodiest in the hemisphere (barring, well, we know who), the FARC is a hangover from the days of Stalinised leftism in Latin America and the international left best steer clear of any sort of uninformed 'solidarity' with them - for Colombia to enter Venezuelan territory to capture this man, Rodrigo Granda, is a manifest violation of Venezuelan sovereignty. Colombia is throwing its weight around in South America, knowing it has the full backing of the US and its Plan Colombia, and has come to close to blows with Chavez' Venezuela a number of times. If there is ever an American intervention against Venezuela, one can bet that its proxy will be Colombia. While this is hardly the opening salvoes of any sort of conflict, such casual breach of sovereignty does not augur well a peaceful future between the two countries.

From Democracy Now:

Colombia Admits It Seized FARC Member Inside Venezuela
In other news from Latin America, Colombia's defense minister acknowledged Wednesday that the government had paid a bounty hunter to seize a member of FARC while he was in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has described the Dec. 13 as a kidnapping that violated his country's sovereignty. Until now the Colombian government had claimed the man, Rodrigo Granda, was captured inside
Colombia, along the Venezuelan border.

For more detailed info on the situation, Venezuelanalysis.com is always good (and I'm not just saying that because yours truly has had stuff on the site [don't go looking for Victor S - I used my real name there]). Here are two articles that go into more detail. I'll be commenting more thoroughly on the issue in the coming days.

Venezuelan Kidnappers of Colombian Rebel “Foreign Minister” Almost Identified

Chavez: “Colombian Police Lied to its President”

There was also an open letter signed by Noam Chomsky, William Blum, James Petras and others to Chavez about the issue, subsequently published on Counterpunch a few days ago.