Monday, December 05, 2005

US-Venezuela: A love story

Interesting how the recent rise in oil prices coincides with more news articles and reports on increased arms purchases by Venezuela. Hugo Chavez's government is pulling in more money, thanks to one of its best customers, the US, and now may spend some of that dough on new military gear (see "Venezuela's Oil Boom Fuels Arms Buying").

Coincidentally or not, the Pentagon has been releasing a lot more press releases rcently on activities by Southern Command in Central and South America, mainly of the "rebuilding schools and roads and aiding the drug war in Colombia" variety, but with precious few details about operations. At a briefing by Southcom officials at the AUSA show in Washington in October, officers stressed that US military service members in the southern hemisphere don't actually participate in missions, they only "advise" and provide assistance in the form of surveillance by satellite and other technologies.

If the government of Venezuela slips to the verge of revolution, as it did a few years ago, when Chavez was briefly deposed, the US may feel oblidged to get involved. The country's importance as an oil supplier no doubt compels the US military to keep a very close eye on all things Venezuelan.

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