Jungle Mom has asked what I know of the Chavez Iranian connection. I know Iranian President Ahmadinejad recently awarded Chavez Iran’s highest award, the Islamic Republic Medal. The award was for Chavez’s steadfast support in Iran’s efforts to get nukes as well as his voluminous Anti-American rhetoric. When Chavez, the “New Castro” of Latin America, first came into power he staked out his claim as the leader of a new “Bolivarian Revolution”. Along with that of course came the need to jump on the Anti-American bandwagon. He did so with a vengeance and has continued unabated. Iran recognized a kindred spirit and as far back as 2004 then Iranian President Khatami went to Venezuela to cozy up to Chavez. Since then the relationship has resulted in billions in bilateral trade, Iranian investment in tractor production and housing projects, and the signing of memorandums of understanding in various fields.
At NRO Mario Loyola explains how Chavez is following in Castro’s footsteps in his efforts to set up his own dictatorship, albeit at a slower pace. He has effectively taken over the judicial and legislative branches of the government and is now storming the last bastions of Democracy, a free press and opposition parties. Soon he will amass the same power Supreme Leader Khamenei enjoys. Soon Venezuelans will wake up to the same corrupt, bankrupt, militaristic tyrrany that Iranians enjoy, but at least without the religious police. Or maybe with the religious police as I will discuss in a moment.
Aside from setting themselves up as enemies of the United States, Venezuela and Iran have a few other things in common. Both have huge oil industries and yet both are starving those cash cows by not investing in new projects or even maintaining the existing infrastructure. Just as Iran must provide billions to support Hamas, Hezbollah, Sadr, and other terrorists Chavez must bribe the campisinos with freebies that do nothing to alleviate the prevalent problems of the region. That doesn’t leave much for investment. The result is two economies in decline, oil production is down 16% since 2001 in Venezuela and Iranian oil may completely dry up in five years at the current rate of decline.
Both see themselves as revolutionary countries and strive to spread those revolutions. However state planning, corruption, skittish foreign investors, and failing infrastructures mean that the money to fund exporting the revolution may be harder and harder to find. An alliance between the two countries does nothing to alleviate those problems so what do they have to gain? Chavez may well think he will get some nukes of his own. Khamenei has stated he will share nuclear technology with other countries, enemies of America can expect to be first in line. Iran gets an ally in the UN and the satisfaction of sticking its nose in our hemisphere.
What ever the reason for the alliance with Iran this emerging new axis of evil that Chavez is spawning must be watched closely. After every war weary folk like to think that that was the last war. When the Soviet Union collapsed every politician around immediately started to plan ways to spend the “peace dividend”. Clinton pared down the military changing the Two War Doctrine to a One War and placing a far greater reliance on the Guard and Reserves. We are now paying for that dividend. Communism is not dead, not in the US and not in Latin America. Other countries besides Venezuela are falling back into Cuban style hell holes, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and even Nicaragua, who voted Daniel Ortega back into office. Mexico was almost added to the list. If you think illegal immigration is bad now wait until Mexico becomes the latest Socialist paradise and economic basket case. The problem of a small percentage of haves living off the labor of millions of have nots is endemic of countries founded by Conquistadors who came to plunder rather than colonize. Caudillos like Chavez bring hope to these exploited masses yet never deliver.
There is probably nothing I can say about Chavez's Venezuela that Jungle Mom doesn't know, she has first hand knowledge of what living under a Socialist regime means. For ten years she and her family have ministered the Bible to the Ye’kwana Indians in the middle of the Amazon jungles of Venezuela. Ministering to an isolated indigenous tribe deep in the Amazon means much more than preaching the Gospel. This family provided schooling, medicine, medical care, dental care, and a host of other social services the government does not and can not provide. I use the past tense because Chavez has kicked them out of their village along with every other missionary in the Amazon. Why? Imperialist infiltration, destruction of their culture, starving the Indians while the missionaries live in Palatial Mansions.
This is Jungle Mom's palace which the family built out of adobe bricks with a palm roof. One wonders how fearsom this family must be in order to subjugate a whole village so.
Jungle Mom’s story and especially the plight of those villagers left behind puts a human face to the tragedies socialist regimes breed. This face:
What will happen to this child when she gets her first cavity?
Jungle Dad won't be there. What will happen if she gets sick? The medicine that came from mission donations is gone. Missionary pilots are not allowed to fly the sick to hospitals; the nearest town is a two week trip by canoe. Who will be there? Many mission bases are being occupied by the military in order to re-educate the villagers who have been ordered to return to their old ways and religion. Religious police. Say goodbye to freedom hita.
Jungle Mom and Jungle Dad, aka Yekwana Man, both have blogs. Visit to get a clearer picture of what is happening to Venezuela than I can paint. You can also go to This Was Our Home to hear this heartbreaking story from Jungle Dad himself. I found it very inspiring.
Update: So much for freedom of the press. Chavez: Will nationalize telecoms, power.