Hugo Chavez, our neighborhood dictator, is rattling his sabres at a friend of ours. He’s mouthing off, as bullies do, about attacking that friend. Mr. Chavez would be well advised to “simmer down” and cast his eyes northward. Columbia has a very big friend.
Look, there can be little doubt the US has contingency plans for removing Mr. Chavez. Even less doubtful is it that when an opportunity presents itself to rid this hemisphere of a dictator, such as Mr. Chavez, the US will take it.
Chavez is not playing with a full deck. He is about six short of a dozen in the brains department. But this threatened move against Columbia shows he is not exercising even that portion of his brain!
If Chavez carries out his threat, he will force the nations of South America to “choose-up sides”. That is NOT desirable. It will rip that continent apart. The US cannot allow that to happen.
Removing Mr. Chavez from the equation need not require a war, or an invasion. Just a few miles from where I sit, as I write, are the men who have trained for just such, er, “occasions”. They train all around this part of the country. Of course, they don’t exist… we all know that! Nevertheless, they seem to appear, or disappear, at opportune moments when their non-existent services are required. South America is their playground. They spend a great portion of their time there. (How do you suppose Columbia knew where FARC was hiding???)
Mr. Chavez would do well to lock his doors and windows at night. He might want to take a second and a third look at his “Palace Guard”, too. Could be, our guys are in his cohort, even now.
One thing is for certain; Mr. Chavez ought not make any long-term plans. However, he may wish to take a page from the Duvalier (“Baby Doc” fled Haiti in 1986) playbook and make a run for it… while he can. But then, it might not be that bad. He could wind up as did ole “Pineapple face” Manuel Noriega, former dictator of Panama. Last I heard he was still “resting” in a US federal prison in Florida. I mean… Chavez could still come away from this with his life… and little else. (The Federal Bureau of Prisons website as of February 2008, does not give a projected release date for inmate Noriega. However, he may be handed over to another country for trial or imprisonment instead of being released into the public realm.)
In the meantime, until this plays out, a word of advice to Mr. Chavez: Sleep lightly, sir. Keep one eye open at all times.