Colombia's Alvaro Uribe admitted he was ready to invade and hose out Venezuela, but term-limits stopped him. It calls to mind that President Obama urged Uribe to limit his term. Was Obama protecting Chavez?OK, tying Fast and Furious to a conspiracy to protect Hugo Chavez is way too big a leap for me. But the rest of the editorial is very, very curious and very, very disconcerting.
That's turned into an interesting question, given that Chavez has emerged as a full-blown security threat to the U.S., and is taking desperate measures — like launching a new guerrilla army and pulling out of human rights conventions that may hold him accountable — to ensure he wins reelection in October.
But even with this ugly picture, it's startling that Obama says Chavez is "not a threat."
Never mind that Chavez has forged an alliance with Iran and illegally shipped U.S. military aircraft there to help it evade U.S. radar.
Or that his defense minister is listed by the Treasury Department as a full-blown "kingpin," and he's hosted terrorists — from Iran's Hezbollah to Colombia's FARC — on Venezuelan soil. He's also helping Iran and Syria evade international sanctions. And he's buying billions in advanced weaponry from Russia.
For all this, Obama says Venezuela is not a threat. Does Obama not care, or is he protecting Chavez?
In June 2009, shortly after Obama publicly embraced Chavez, the U.S. president met with Chavez's nemesis, Colombia's President Uribe, a conservative whose fiscal discipline, free market reforms and tough stance on terror had transformed his country.
At the press conference that followed, Obama made an unusual public request: that Uribe not run for a third term in office. At the time, Colombia was debating whether to change its constitution to let the immensely popular pro-free market Uribe run for a third term. In the end, no change was made, and Uribe left office.
Obama's call may have seemed naive at the time. But the context grows curious after Uribe told a university conference in Medellin he had planned to militarily invade Venezuela to destroy 87 FARC and ELN terrorist camps that Venezuela's government had supported.
Just before he left office, Uribe publicly exposed the terror camps, infuriating Venezuela's Chavez. In the end, Uribe left office and his successor, Juan Manuel Santos, was more accommodating to Chavez.
Wittingly or not, Obama's stance against a third term may have halted an invasion of Venezuela. But it wasn't the only thing Obama did to protect Chavez.
In 2011, Obama met with President Santos for the first time and failed to mention that the U.S. wanted Colombia to extradite Walid MakledMakled had mountains of evidence of Chavez's complicity in the drug trade and terrorism, enough perhaps to put Chavez on trial as a criminal.
Since Obama didn't fight for Makled's extradition, he was shipped back to Venezuela instead — where he and all his evidence about Chavez disappeared.
Lastly, there was Operation Fast and Furious, a scandalous effort by the U.S. government to pin blame for the entire drug war in Mexico on U.S. gun dealers instead of Hugo Chavez, who has turned Venezuela into a critical trans-shipment point for nearly all of the region's drug trade.
What the editorial leaves out, though, is that when a Chavez Marxist crony was legally thrown out of the presidency of Honduras for trying to seize unconstitutional power, Obama went to ridiculous lengths to keep him on office, even punishing Honduras for refusing to do so. That, too, fits in this pattern of protecting Hugo Chavez.
The obvious question, again, is why? The IBD editorial suggests some possible reasons, but strangely enough none of them are convincing. There really is no excuse for any US administration to be supporting Hugo Chavez, who considers us his enemy and is doing everything he can to destroy us.
Very few people would be willing to argue that this is treason, but I'd like to see a compelling argument as to why it is not. Because right now I'm not finding one.
One of the main failures of the John Boehner-led House of Representatives is the refusal to hold Obama's feet to the fire on issues like this. Just like on the light bulb ban, they are incapable of accomplishing anything.
We need answers.