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Will Venezuela suspend trade with the USA after Condi's remarks?

By Aleksander Boyd

London 19.01.05 | The past weeks have turned out to be very interesting indeed for those of us following the tragicomedy of Venezuelan politics. First it was the capture of a wanted Colombian terrorist, who had been living in Venezuela enjoying protection from the regime, for a number of years. Then it was the absurd spat with Colombia over the issue. Colombia's reaction added great emotion to it: Uribe's government started by inviting Chavez to an open dialogue with regional partners to which, as expected from a Castro disciple, was refused. Then a diplomatic rift between the two countries; on one corner the FARC solidarity committee, a.k.a. Hugo Chavez' government and on the other corner FARC's bogeyman, i.e. Uribe's administration. Accusations flew from Bogota to Caracas and back, however Uribe not only held his ground but affirmed that conclusive evidence of Chavez' connection with FARC leaders will be made available. In the meanwhile Uncle Sam, predictably, sides with his strongest ally in the region.

Let us just move onto the media. Never have I seen such continuous accuracy in describing Hugo Chavez on US outlets. I can almost feel the rage of Weisbrot, Wilpert, Petras, Golinger and other chavista 'luminaries'. The Venezuela Information Office apparatus appears to have collapsed; their 'urgent action team' set up to counter unfavourable press coverage must be overheated.

The icing on the cake has to be, of course, Condi's et al appreciations of Hugo Chavez and his system of 'governance' in today's Senate hearing. Ahhh the bliss!!

The compulsory question is:

Will Venezuela (read Hugo Chavez) suspend trade with the USA after the in-waiting Secretary of State's remarks? Judging precedent (the Granda affair and ensuing impasse with Colombia) one would expect the 'enfant terrible' to react angrily, halting oil shipments to the US. Will he do it? If so, will he survive the consequences? Will Bernardo Alvarez Herrera be summoned to Caracas? The intrigue is killing me!!

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