Dienstag, März 04, 2008

Ecuador, Venezuela, and Why the Columbians Are In The Right...

So, the newest crisis.

Columbia, basically in hot pursuit, went into Ecuador and killed the senior leadership of the FARC, the pseudo-leftist Columbian guerrillas. The basic facts are here and don't need to be repeated.

Why is Venezuela pissed? Because the FARC folks are big fans of Chavez (and vice-versa as well: apparently the first connection developed as Chavez was jailed during his abortive coup attempt) and this is a fairly strong body blow to Chavez' attempt to destabilize Columbia.

Why is Ecuador pissed? Because the Colombians didn't really go in hot pursuit, but rather killed the senior leadership of FARC in their sleep.

But there are two more fundamental problems that haven't been talked about.

Apparently the Colombians have found that FARC received no less the $300mn from Chavez and his cronies over the last year, for one.

Second, what was FARC doing with a military base in Ecuador?

You can't play the game both ways: either you take sovereignty really seriously and don't let anyone use your territory for guerrilla operations against your neighbor, or you can't get upset if there is, indeed, hot pursuit and the bad guys get killed.

Both Ecuador and Venezuela have sinned big time against the concept of sovereignty by financing a "revolutionary" movement and giving them sanctuary.

Columbia was more than justified in going in and getting terrorists that have killed, robbed, raped and kidnapped Columbians in an apparently never-ending conflict that started out as a leftist uprising against an authoritarian government but quickly mutated into something completely different. FARC, after a number of years of poor success in trying to gain the support of the indigent and rural population, turned to crime to support their "revolution", realizing that being Robin Hood in a country of drug lords was not a paying proposition.

Since then, FARC has largely alienated local populations with their extortion and kidnapping activities. They worked out a logistics and support network that used the fairly rugged terrain between the three countries to hide in and have the ability to easily move across borders with ease and impunity.

Ecuador is a nation heading into failure. A constitutionally weak presidency, dependent upon its Congress, has weakened further and virtually no President has ended his term as a deadlocked Congress instead tries for new elections to give it the needed consensus. There is no such thing, however, and politics remains ... volatile is perhaps the best word.

So why does Ecuador allow FARC to operate within its borders? I'm not expert - far from it here - but it's a combination of left-wing opportunistic politicians in Ecuador as the indigenous population gains political power (of the populist kind) and a simple failure of Ecuador to do anything about FARC, as this would entail military action that it is not prepared for or prepared to finance. Given that 70% of the population is under the poverty line and that Ecuador remains in dire economic shape, this is understandable.

But it is irresponsible.

Reviewing this, it appears that Ecuador was on the verge of a deal with FARC to give it safe havens in Ecuador in exchange for political grandstanding on the part of Ecuadorian Interior Minister Larrea, who would be able to claim the fame of getting various captives free.

Now, what about Chavez and Colombia? Well, given the fact that he is heavily financing FARC, duh. Leftist kleptocrats work well together.

He just wants power: anyone who doesn't see this is blind. Nothing but a populist riding the largess of oil profits to buy popularity, one of the banes of modern South American politics.

But he does support his left-wing friends, and the more dead the better: otherwise FARC would wither and die away, as they are nothing more than a kleptocracy...

Colombia, given the violations of its sovereignty by Chavez' funding FARC, and given the apparent willingness of Ecuador to acquiesce to being a sanctuary, is fully within its rights of going after FARC.

And more kudos to Colombia. Y'all finally grew a pair...

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