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Venezuela's Chavez aims at warlike conflict scenarios to stay in power

By OAI Press

OAIPress.- Caracas May 27, 2004 - The tendency of the Venezuelan Armed Forces, under the sponsorship of President Hugo Chávez Frías, is aimed at promoting conflict after announcing the creation of an Integral National Defense Plan. This plan is construed so as to foster the creation of a civil-military militia that will operate inside the country, as warned by Rear-Admiral Elías Buchszer Cabriles in the Forum “Hemisphere Security”, which took place in Caracas for the foreign press accredited in Venezuela.

Buchszer Cabriles warned that the seriousness of this National Government’s plan, is “holding a sword” over the drive to verify and confirm the petition for possibly activating a Recall Referendum against Hugo Chavez’ mandate. Thus, the trustworthiness and transparency of such drive would be very unlikely. Most of all, in such a crucial moment for Venezuela, when various scandals –such as, the Colombian paramilitary case, among others- still have not been completely cleared.

The rear-Admiral pointed out that in addition to an extremely serious political problem in the country, there is also a delicate situation within the Venezuelan Armed Forces. Chavez is playing with the emerging threat of radical populism arousing feelings of national rage and brandishing the ghosts of foreign invasions so as to export his revolutionary project towards South America and the Caribbean.

Buchszer Cabriles, however, thinks little of the completion of the militia pretensions of the government, given the existing deep uneasiness in the National Armed Forces. Despite the purge imposed by President Chavez, there are still an important number of high-ranked officers that does not agree with the National Army’s present management.

In his exposition, Buchszer discarded the strategic capacity of the President of Venezuela when stating that the main problem that has always existed in the Venezuelan Armed Forces is the protection and custody of the vast territorial frontiers. “Our frontiers have never been so neglected, and our needs to be met -for multiple historical as well as strategic reasons- are more unattended than ever before“ as stated by the former specialist in military intelligence.

Despite the lack of interest in the frontiers, Buchszer was emphatic when setting forth that the reasons for such negligence is to pretend not to see the advances and penetration of Colombian guerrilla into Venezuelan territory. All this to justify, in an unjustifiable way, any possibility of conflicts. “Remember that Chavez, in his foreign policy, is very frontal and is always looking for trouble with the world, to increasingly isolate himself and do what ever he feels like.”

Ever since the appearance at the beginning of this month of a group of Colombian paramilitaries in Caracas, apparently introduced on the alert of the government, relations between Venezuela and Colombia are now facing a true process of growing tensions, as warned by Buchszer.

Based on a possible Colombo-Venezuelan conflict, journalist Andy Webb-Vidal, in a press release published yesterday by the Financial Times of London, stated the worrisome intentions of Hugo Chavez of causing an arms race with Colombia. As written by Webb-Vidal, he maintains that Venezuela has launched a weapon procurement spree to gain advantage, is its military balance, over Colombia, thus edging the two countries into an arms race.

“President Hugo Chavez began in recent weeks carefully guarded plans to purchase military equipment from suppliers in Europe and the Middle East. Four European companies (from Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) are competing in a tender for 200 tactical and armored vehicles. This consists of a deal which, according to some estimates, will be worth about 80 Million Dollars. A delivery of missiles, of unspecified type, is expected to arrive in Venezuela from Israel next week”, according to documentation obtained by the Financial Times.

The article, published by the London financial newspaper, also stated that Chavez’s government is also lobbying Spain –with the new socialist government of José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero- so as to cancel a contract signed by former Prime Minister José María Aznar, aimed at providing Colombia with 43 AMX-30 tanks. With such arsenal’s negotiation, Uribe’s government would welcome the Spanish offer since, in this manner, the military aid it receives for resolving its internal conflicts, would not be limited to come from the United States but also from Europe. Apparently, such tanks would be used to protect the borders with Venezuela, and such a situation could inflame tensions between both countries.

Based on the delicate information that appeared in the Financial Times of London, Rear-Admiral Buchszer Cabriles warned that this entire situation is caused by President Chavez’s “paranoia”. The Venezuelan strategist sentenced that Chavez is led by a desperate need to show some kind of supremacy in order to consolidate his project, sustained by an imaginary popular support. “From this point on, Chavez capitalizes on his intromission in the affairs of other countries of the hemisphere and whenever he gets a chance he attacks our main commercial partners with the sole purpose of boosting a new radical punch to his Castro-Communist project disguised in lawfulness”.

Buchszer Cabriles also sentenced the pretensions of the Minister of Finance as “boasting” as he announced an “Integral Defense Plan”, when “he knows more than well that a lot more than his current investiture and three suns are needed to instill respect among officers of long and proven vocation”.

The Rear-Admiral ended his intervention reiterating to Venezuelan civilians and to the world that Chavez’s intentions are aimed at conflict scenarios with the only purpose of staying in power my means of authoritarian methods. “Each of his steps, each of his winks, stresses his absolute intention of beating his eminent enemy: The Presidential Recall Referendum, an enemy with an enormous strength, the strength of the Venezuelan people”.

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