Thursday, January 03, 2008

No honor among thieves

Reuters reports that the Chavez hostage rescue chopper team have "limped" home empty handed. While I'm not sure Chavez's political fiasco had any effect on the flying qualities of the helicopters, this is what the Reuters report says.

Venezuelan helicopters chugged home empty from Colombia on Thursday after a failed mission to pick up hostages held by Marxist guerrillas, a new defeat for President Hugo Chavez who is still smarting from a tough year. The four helicopters marked with Red Cross symbols flew back to Venezuela from the Colombian town of Villavicencio without the hostages they had left to collect from a jungle region.

He sent helicopters and foreign envoys into Colombia with much fanfare last week to pick up Consuelo Gonzalez, Clara Rojas and her young son Emmanuel, who was born in captivity about four years ago, his father a guerrilla fighter. ...

But the plan collapsed on Monday, leaving Chavez exposed to criticism he had trusted the rebels too much. "President Chavez is having a very difficult time," said Eduardo Gamarra, a Latin America expert at Florida International University. "He may have compromised his own credibility and the FARC may have taken him for a ride.

Chavez's tendency to hog the spotlight may have undermined whatever chances he had of pulling off a deal. For one thing it turned the hostage release question into a zero-sum game with Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe. By dealing directly with FARC and threatening to succeed where the Colombian President could not, Chavez created a situation where Uribe would lose if he won.

But what of FARC? It claims that it will still attempt to release the hostages in a situation which would not expose their fighters to compromise, as would have been the case with Chavez's heliborne circus. The Reuters report continues. "The FARC, a four-decade old peasant army now funded by cocaine production, says it will still try and slip through army cordons to free the hostages. Chavez has vowed to plan a new, lower-profile release."

My guess is that Chavez can still effect the hostages release. But it will cost him -- and cost him more than he had bargained for. By snubbing Chavez's helicopter extravaganza, the FARC has essentially raised the ransom for release. That's why they're giving him another shot. Chavez's only chance to win through will be to pay the cocaine-fueled revolutionary army (is that an oxymoron or candidness?) through the nose, no pun intended.


Blogger Mr X said...

Rumour is that Chavez paid close to 10 US$ million to the FARC in order to appear as the "great deal maker" and recover some of his prestige, but was set up by the FARC, who couldn't or wouldn't free the hostages, who by all accounts could even be already dead. No honor among thieves indeed...

1/03/2008 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Would the FARC group have been more reliable if Euros had been offered instead of U.S. dollars?

1/04/2008 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

He [Chavez] may have compromised his own credibility and the FARC may have taken him for a ride

So, which is it? Both are entirely expectable outcomes and neither possibilities represent any sort of tragedy.

1/04/2008 02:25:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

The future of Venezuala under Chavez can be seen in Zimbabwe under Mugabe. If Chavez stays in power, Venazuala will be destoyed.

Venezuela launched a new currency with the new year, lopping off three zeros from denominations in a bid to simplify finances and boost confidence in a money that has been losing value due to high inflation.

President Hugo Chavez's government says the new currency dubbed the "strong bolivar" will make daily transactions easier and cure some accounting headaches. Officials also say it is part of a broader effort to "contain" rising prices and "strengthen" the economy.

Free enterprise creates wealth, Communism destroys wealth.

Maybe the deal fell through when he tried to pay the FARC in freshly-printed fiat currency and they DEMANDED dollars...

1/04/2008 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger Mr X said...

DNA tests confirm that the boy that was located in a Colombian institution for minors is actually Emmanuel. That means that the FARC had promissed all along something that they even did not have in hand. It probably also means that, if they lied about one of the hostages, could be lying about the other two as well, and they might now be dead.
Well, who can trust a bunch of drug-dealing marxist guerrillas anyway?

1/04/2008 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Another great example of the end result of Chavez's economic policies can be seen in Iran where Ahmadinajad has been pursueing the same populist-communist policies.

According to the International Herald Tribune:
Economists have long criticized Ahmadinejad's economic policies, warning that his reliance on oil revenues to finance loans to the poor and to buy cheap imports would lead to inflation and cripple local industries. Inflation has risen from 12 percent in October 2006 to 19 percent this year, according to figures released by the Iranian Central Bank.

1/07/2008 08:46:00 PM  

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