Counter-Terrorism: Will Chavez Bite?

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June 11, 2006: There are reports that a "new" guerrilla group is being formed inside Venezuela, which is claiming "Bolivarian" credentials. If true, it might be a splinter of FARC, the Colombian leftist rebel organization, which is trying to seek support from Hugo Chavez's "Bolivarian" movement, or a front being run by Venezuelan intelligence to destabilize Colombia. Despite Chavez's popularity with the foreign media (local media hate him), he is disliked by most other Latin American leaders, including leftist ones. If Chavez is indeed going to get behind armed rebel groups aimed at neighboring countries, the blowback would be serious. While you can do this sort of thing, and simply deny involvement, if enough evidence piles up, you will have started a war with the neighbor you aimed the rebels at. No one believes Chavez is that out of touch with reality, but with the way he's been acting lately, such foolishness is a possibility. It's also true that FARC is having a hard time in Colombia these days, and there have been some splinter groups because of it. Chavez has been accused of aiding FARC in the past, by allowing them to establish camps just across the border from Colombia, and granting FARC leaders freedom of movement within Venezuela. That has brought Chavez a lot of bad publicity and diplomatic heat, so it's unlikely he would go looking for more.

 


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