Monday, November 14, 2005

Chavez Spoiling For A Fight

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is still spoiling for a fight with just about anyone that will take the bait. His latest target is Mexico, accusing President Vicente Fox of being a US lap dog. (Pravda: Mexico Threatens to Severe (sic) Diplomatic Ties with Venezuela). In an inflammatory statement from Caracas, Chavez said, "How sad that the president of a people like the Mexicans lets himself become the puppy dog of the empire."

In an not-so-veiled threat aimed at Mexico, Chavez warned Fox, "not to mess with him". Chavez, upset with Mexico’s support for the US sponsored FTAA is increasingly isolating himself from his neighbors, preferring to align Venezuela with Cuba and Iran. What his game is, however, is anybody’s guess. Facing potential civil war, Chavez appears to be lashing out at the US and any western ally, possibly in an attempt to redirect focus outside of his own domestic problems.

While Chavez is a major exporter of South American oil, what he seems not to understand is that he needs western buyers far more than other nations need him. As Ecuador gradually rebuilds their struggling oil production facilities, Venezuela becomes increasingly irrelevant. The US still purchases a small amount of oil from Venezuela, but it would not take much for Canada and Mexico to offset that.

What one must really question is Chavez’s stability as a leader. He’s appearing increasingly irrational with every public appearance and seems intent on picking a fight with anyone. I’m not sure at this point that he really cares who takes the bait as long as someone does. Unfortunately for him, we’re not interested and neither is Mexico. With luck, he will fade into irrelevance before he does any more damage to South American relations.

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3 comments :

Roberto Iza said...
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Roberto Iza said...
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Iza Roberto said...
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