I am happy to report that it seems some Colombian and Venezuelan readers have found this blog. I say it seems for two reasons – one is of course there’s no way of telling whether anyone is who they say they are online, which is why credibility is something that has to be carefully built and carefully guarded, and two is that of course I don’t know how many folks who do read this blog are Colombian or Venezuelan. Most of the friends whose analysis and so on I present in this blog do not read it, because they know what’s going to be in it and because it’s in english. So assuming these folks are who they say, it’s good that they’re reading and commenting. It’s a shame that some comments haven’t reached the level of constructive dialogue yet, but maybe we’ll get there (for those who are wondering what I am talking about, the comments are on relatively old posts, so you’d have to search in the Colombia & Venezuela section to find them).
Anyway on to substantive matters. There are things going on militarily in both Colombia and Venezuela. The US state department is “extremely troubled” by a Venezuelan plan to buy rifles from Russia – 100,000 AK-47s. Maybe they’re upset that Venezuela’s not buying them from the US, the world’s major arms supplier. Maybe they’re upset that after the purchase Venezuela will have a miniscule fraction of the small arms that the US citizenry has (to say nothing of US military and paramiltary forces, wandering the streets of the US and the world, armed to the teeth). Whatever they’re upset about, Venezuela’s not having it – the Vice-President of Venezuela said the US is saying this stuff to provoke Venezuela and that Venezuela won’t be provoked.
Chavez and Uribe are to meet to discuss the whole Granda affair (see the archives of this blog for links) on February 15. Uribe was supposed to meet Chavez earlier but fell sick.
The FARC has been busy on the military front as well. There have been major ambushes and assaults in various parts of the country over the past several weeks, in which the FARC have killed dozens of Colombian military forces. Colombia’s national newspaper, El Tiempo, had an editorial yesterday in which they said that while they don’t prove that Uribe’s vicious policies, called ‘democratic security’, which they endorse, have failed, they should raise some alarm bells. They indicate a continuing capacity for planning and execution at the national level, since they occurred in three different regions (Uraba, Putumayo, and Narino) within a short time span, were very successful militarily, and were outside the area of ‘Plan Patriota’ where the army is focusing its offensive. El Tiempo notes that it remains to be seen whether FARC can keep up the pressure, whether these attacks are designed to try to draw the army out and stretch it thin, whether these attacks will cost Uribe prestige. But it is certain that the FARC have proved again that they cannot be ignored.
And since we’re not ignoring them, it’s worth noting that Raul Reyes, spokesperson for FARC, said that there were no guerrillas operating in Venezuela some 10 days ago on Colombian TV.