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Is Venezuela Going Nuclear?

By Douglas MacKinnon | The Houston Chronicle

23.05.05 | The most prominent development in U.S.-Venezuelan relations these days involves the case of Luis Posada Carriles and whether he should be extradited from the United States to Venezuela. There he would stand trial for a third time for his alleged involvement in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner. Meanwhile, a story with the potential to be much more important is being ignored: The growing power and global ambitions of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez.

To the minute number of people who understand the threat Chavez poses to the United States, his recent hosting in Caracas of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami was disturbing enough. But a high-ranking official for a Latin American government has disclosed to me details about that visit that should send shock waves throughout our government.

During a private meeting between Chavez and Khatami, I was told, Chavez made it known to the Iranian leader that he would like to “introduce nuclear elements into Venezuela.” My contact said “nuclear elements” meant “nuclear weapons.”

It will be easy for many to dismiss such talk as false or the fantasies of a madman, but that would be a critical mistake. I have no doubt that Chavez is mentally disturbed, and I also have no doubt that his hatred of the United States and President Bush in particular is dictating his erratic behavior. High oil prices have made Chavez an antagonist to be reckoned with, and we ignore such a menace at our peril.

Is Venezuela going nuclear? (Hat tip: Regime Change Iran.)



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