Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chavez looking for trouble; Uribe looking for support

The #1 fan-favorite here at CompHyp, Hugo A-go-go Chavez, President of Venezuela, has been ranting on about how he expects war with Colombia (and the United States of America) and has recently ordered increased troop readiness along the Colombian border.

The Uribe administration in Colombia is still trying to take the "reasonable" approach to all this, but they have referred the matter to the UNSC for discussion. So long as this can be cast as a preventative measure to counter any war-fever outbreak in the Chavez regime, it is a good move.

The willingness of Correa in Ecuador and Morales in Bolivia to echo the call for "war" should just remind any observer that ALBA (their alliance) never was intended to be a reactive defensive alliance. It is an attempt at forming a regional power bloc to isolate non-member states and then threaten them.

But that threat is still fairly weak; Hugo is still looking for the rest of his "ten battalions of tanks" that were supposed to be there the last time he ordered troops to confront Colombia... but if he keeps buying weapons, one day *soon* he might just have the means to back up his words.

Better to derail this whole ALBA scheme now, before it becomes difficult.


Ciro said...

No matter what you think of Chaves's inclination to war (probably to cover the abysmal state of Venezuelan economy), ALBA is useful, specially now that US is sliding into protectionism after its shameful bankruptcy. Calling ALBA a "non-reactive defensive alliance" it's a gross misnomer or a basic misunderstanding of the much felt need for commercial integration. BTW, I live in Colombia and I think Uribe is right in many things, but not in the economical isolation we had had under his (somewhat desperate) attempt to control the guerrillas and the lack of rule of the law in many parts of the country, not to mention narcotrafficking. I suppose that in the XXIth century we can have trade between countries without having the same political thinking, like China-US relationships show. Let Chaves move his way, let Uribe try to implement a different one and meanwhile, lets trade. So, ALBA is smart and raises in staunch contrast with the "divide and conquer" approach of US individual treaties with other countries of the Americas. That american approach, frankly, only responds to the economic interests of large firms, not of the american people.

L.Douglas Garrett said...

Hm... where to start...

"...a basic misunderstanding of the much felt need for commercial integration." ~ not on my part, although that can't be ruled out in other presentations. The structure of ALBA, especially the efforts outside economic "cooperation", are there for anyone to see. It is mostly a political bloc.

"meanwhile, lets trade" ~ Since you live in Colombia, you likely know that Venezuela is in the top rank of Colombia's trade partners *even without ALBA membership* for Colombia.

I happen to like trade. I think the Americans are foolish not to have settled a FTA with Colombia yet... if ever... and regionalism beats bilateralism most of the time.

I especially like regional trade as a stepping stone to real open markets as well... MERCOSUR is a very good example...

ALBA isn't.

Oh, esp. since this rather all smacks of concern trolling, you may as well drop the "American" this and that part of the discussion and stick to the issue... that selling ALBA membership as access to a trade area is simply disingenuous.

Because given how things have gone in Venezuela... and Bolivia... and Ecuador... I'm not seeing that as anything someone would want to join.