Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

Visit Douglas Farah's
author page at

Press Releases

Bush and Latin America: Too Little, Too Late?
The overall agenda for Bush's belated trip to Latin America is clearly to try to counter the influence of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, Iran's new best friend in the hemisphere and weapons purchaser extraordinaire.

As my friend Jorge Castaneda writes, it is an attempt at Chavez containment that is "too little, too late."

I have recently written about the emerging terrorist threats from Latin America, and the potential for alliances among terrorist groups, drug trafficking organizations, Central American gangs and weapons merchants.

By ignoring Latin America for six years, the United States has set the stage for a strong and perhaps irreversible (at least in the short term) trend for which we will pay a steep price-the rise of a nationalist ethos that is rapidly allying with radical Islam, at least on a tactical level. Chavez, flush with oil money, can keep several such government afloat (Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Nicaragua) at least for a while.

He can, and has, given Iran a beach head on the continent. He has also spent almost $5 billion on weapons in two years-surpassing China-and those weapons are unlikely to remain stashed in Venezuela. One of the most worrisome items is the purchase of a Kalashnikov weapons factory from Russia.

Hard to imagine that the weapon of choice by armies and insurgent groups around the world will be used solely to meet Venezuela's internal needs. With the FARC, ELN and narco armies sitting next door in Colombia, it is a worrisome trend that their primary weapon will become even more accessible and cheaper.

There are valid alternatives to the failed economic policies and endemic corruption that ushered in the neo-liberal era in Latin America. The responsible left (Lula in Brazil, Bachelet in Chile) have won some recent elections.

But by ignoring the continent almost entirely for six years, the balance of forces has shifted to Chavez and his allies, peddling cheap oil, unworkable solutions and dangerous alliances.

The long-term consequences of this will be an emboldened Iran and Hezbollah in a region where access to this country is easy, cheap and routine. A few days of meetings by Bush, while perhaps useful in some ways, will not make a significant difference in the long-term unless sustained attention is paid.
A Crucial Difference in Failed States and Criminal States, and Why it Matters
Another Step on Iran, Hezbollah and Argentina
Maintained by Winter Tree Media, LLC