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Bush Defends Blood Bath in Ecuadorian Jungle as Venezuela Masses TroopsTim King Salem-News.com
Past U.S. military strategies and aspirations are pushing the stakes.
(SALEM, Ore.) - He may be a national leader embraced by millions in his own country, but Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez continues to raise the ire of U.S. President George Bush as his military standoff with neighboring Colombia reaches epic status.
His politics clash with U.S. capitalism, but the personal issues between the leaders of Venezuela and the United States escalated substantially in September 2006, when this elected President called George W. Bush "the devil".
He proclaimed in relation to a recent Bush visit, "And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here." [crosses himself] "And it smells of sulfur still today."
A spokesman for FARC says Mr. Reyes, "died as he was trying to get in a meeting with French President Sarkozy where progress would have been made in finding solutions to Ingrid Betancourt's situation."
Betancourt is a Colombian politician, former senator and anti-corruption activist who was kidnapped by the FARC on February 23rd 2002 while campaigning for the presidency.
The FARC holds several hundred people as hostages as a part of their political maneuvering. They are considered a terrorist group by the Colombian government, the United States, Canada, the Latin American Parliament and the European Union.
Cuba and Venezuela instead refer to the leftist rebels as "insurgents." In fact, Chávez publicly called on Colombia and other world governments to recognize the guerrillas as a "belligerent force" earlier this year. He argued at the time that they would then be obliged to renounce kidnappings and terror acts in order to respect the Geneva Conventions.
While they originated as a purely guerrilla movement, the group became involved with the illicit drug trade during the 1980s.
With the solid backing of George Bush and $600 million a year in American aid under his belt, the confidence of Columbia's President Uribe seems to be reaching higher levels than before.
Bush said, "I told the president that America fully supports Colombia’s democracy, and that we firmly oppose any acts of aggression that could destabilize the region."
Of course Columbia's U.S. backed move over the weekend to shoot to death 21 people blasted holes in any integrity that statement from Bush may have carried.
In fact while it may an unpopular truth, it is the Chavez government in Venezuela that is making the lives of millions of its poorer citizens better. Indigenous people are receiving interest they have never witnessed from a government, and he is closely associated with Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia, or any country in that section of the world for that matter.
In Columbia, the residents who possess more material items back Uribe's plans, as the wealthier Venezuelans tend to oppose Hugo Chavez.
In a Robin Hood setting, the likes of Uribe and his band of rich, right-wing henchmen would certainly be the villains, and Chavez with his in-your-face approach to the re-distribution of wealth and the abolition of concepts based in greed would surely be the hero.
But this is the United States, and our government today would rather make unilateral attacks at countries that we view as a threat, than talk to them and try to understand their frustrations.
Western forces like the U.S. now say FARC guerrillas were planning to build a "dirty bomb", which draws them further into the "terrorist" category. But others related to the FARC dismiss the accusation, saying it rings too closely to American claims that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction.
In addition to sending troops to the border, Chavez expelled Colombia’s ambassador and sent him packing. Yesterday, his agriculture minister said the frontier with Colombia would be closed to stop commerce.
In apparent response to that, Colombia said it would file charges against Mr. Chávez with the International Criminal Court, accusing him of assisting Colombia’s largest rebel group. That is based on an accusation that Chavez' government has been funneling millions into the coffers of the FARC.
Ecuador's Foreign Minister, María Isabel Salvador, has demanded the condemnation of acts committed by Colombia, and dispatched a fact-finding mission to investigate the events on its border.
It does seem like a stretch to imagine a western government being happy with border incursions, especially those that leave behind a blood bath. To those related to the FARC's hostages however, the notion of recovering loved ones and eventually disarming the FARC remains the highest priority.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with almost twenty years experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist and reporter. Today, in addition to his role as a war correspondent in Afghanistan where he spent the winter of 2006/07, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated only with Google News. Watch for Tim's coverage from Iraq set to begin in early April, 2008. You can send Tim an email at this address: email@example.com
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