Hugo Chaves Trying To Fuel Revolution With Submarinesby Brad Warbiany
Hugo Chavez, like most socialists, is starting to have paranoid delusions. He seems to think that America, a nation stuck in two middle eastern nations, led by a President who considers Venezuela to be problem number 16 on a 10-item list, is going to invade Venezuela. And the man who cares so much about his nation’s poor is spending billions on a Navy and air defense system:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his government may buy a fleet of Russian-made submarines when he visits Moscow next week, continuing an arms buildup that has cost his nation more than $4.3 billion since 2005.
“The only way Venezuela could totally discard the idea of not buying submarines is if we didn’t have a sea,” Chavez told cabinet members at a televised ceremony tonight in Caracas. “We have to protect that sea.”
Chavez said he also is looking to strengthen the nation’s short-range air-defense system to counter supersonic and “invisible” radar-evading aircraft he claimed Venezuela would face in the event of a U.S. invasion. Most U.S. analysts deem such an offensive unlikely.
Chavez, who is using his country’s oil wealth to promote socialist policies across the region, often urges developing nations to unite against the U.S. “empire,” winning allies abroad and scoring political points at home by attacking the U.S. for draining Venezuela’s natural resources, propping up a corrupt elite and funding groups that aim to destabilize his government.
Venezuela spent $4.3 billion on arms in 2005 and 2006, more than China, Pakistan or Iran, according to a U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report. More than $3 billion of that was spent in Russia, where Venezuela has signed contracts to buy 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 50 military helicopters and 24 Su-30 jet fighters, the report said.
You don’t feed the poor with Kalashnikov’s. The playbook Chavez is using is not a new one. He’s slowly cementing power, because like all socialist nations, eventually the money supply runs out. He’s already had a coup attempt on him, and he knows that his best bet to remain in power is to make sure his generals are fat and happy, and willing to carry out his rule with an iron fist. That way, when the bottom drops out, and the poor who he’s been feeding begin to tighten their belts, there won’t be enough loose power in society to take him on.
As Eric used to point out here while he was still blogging, the best way to cement power at home is to use an external threat. That’s true whether you’re trying to convince Americans to give up essential liberties to fight a vague terrorist threat, or whether you’re trying to convince Venezuelans to support giving you dictatorial powers to fight off an imagined American invasion.
A few billion military dollars spent, and Chavez is home free. When the Venezuelan people finally realize what’s going on, they won’t have the power to stop him.