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Venezuela's weapons upgrade

By D.D. | Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Text: F.A.Z., 18 March 2005, No. 65 / page 12 | For which purpose does Venezuela need a hundred thousand new assault rifles – if President Chávez has fewer than 60,000 men under arms? This question provokes not just the U.S. government, which would prefer to see the self-named leader of the „Bolivarian revolution“ anyplace rather than at the levers of almost unlimited power in the world’s fifth-largest oil producing country.

Neighboring Colombia, too, is observing Chávez’s activities with great concern because Venezuela has for a long time been an area of retreat and provisioning for the FARC narcoterrorists, who claim to be Marxists. This would presumably be just the right moment for new arms from the perspective of the guerilla, which has recently been experiencing difficulties.

Then, there’s also Bolivia with its rebellious coca farmers under the leadership of Evo Morales, who, according to Chávez, is “one of the greatest figures in the history of Bolivia”. Here, too, a revolutionary gift from the country of the rich uncle on the Caribbean coast would probably be highly welcome. In short: Chávez is well on his way to further destabilizing the order in the Andean states, which is unstable in any case. This may cause President Bush some headaches; and what about the Europeans?

Translation by John

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