11:52 - July 12, 2012 - San Francisco, CA - PipelineNews.org - On Tuesday, president Obama was interviewed by Oscar Haza which was later broadcast on Spanish television station WJAN-41.
Remarkably, when the president was queried about the potential threat posed by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Mr. Obama replied that he doesn't consider Chavez a "serious" threat, "...But overall my sense is that what Mr. Chavez has done over the last several years has not had a serious national security impact on us." [source, Laura Matthews, Obama Says Chavez Posed No ‘Serious’ Security Threat, International Business Times,
At this point in this presidency it's difficult to be blindsided by Mr. Obama's apparent lack of knowledge on the key threats facing the United States, of which Mr. Chavez via his alarmingly friendly relationships with Iran and its various proxy armies led by Hezbollah as well as with Syria, where Chavez is providing fuel to Assad's Bashar Hafez al-Assad are but two examples, still Mr. Obama's latest display of ignorance is shocking.
It's not as if Chavez' questionable relationships with hostile foreign powers are unknown. For example a July 9 piece published in the Wall Street Journal outlines how Mr. Chavez is aiding Iran by propping up the faltering Assad regime in Syria, supplying fuel to keep his war machine rolling.
"Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his state-oil company are providing vital energy support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and conducting business with Syrian firms blacklisted by Washington and Brussels, according to documents relating to the deals. That puts Venezuela alongside Russia and Iran in an informal bloc of nations working to stymie the West's efforts to topple Mr. Assad and break up his military alliance with Iran, U.S. officials and Syrian activists say..." [see, To Power Syria, Chávez Sends Diesel,
It's also widely understood that Chavez allows Hezbollah cells to operate freely in the Northern areas of Venezuela where they have established forward bases of operation and hooked up with the country's cocaine drug lords.
The Christian Science Monitor, no right-wing extremist source, reported on such back on December 15, 2011.
"The New York Times and ProPublica have details on the indictment of Ayman Joumaa, a Lebanese citizen who has laundered millions of dollars for Hezbollah while assisting with cocaine-trafficking routes out of Colombia and Venezuela. It appears his focus was routes through Europe, but he has also moved drugs through Mexico in coordination with the Zetas. The case is notable for having all the key words that people get excited...about: Hezbollah! Terrorist-financing! Cocaine! Zetas! Venezuela! And all of that appears to be true..." [source, James Bosworth, Hezbollah, terrorist financing, and Venezuela: Don't panic, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/Latin-America-Monitor/2011/1215/Hezbollah-terrorist-financing-and-Venezuela-Don-t-panic]
Of course in typical MSM lockstep, Mr. Bosworth cautions that such matters can be handled without "overreacting," a laughably stupid conclusion.
Regardless, this type of information has been in the public domain for a long time now.
Chavez has forged very serious military alliances with many of our most formidable opponents aside from Iran including Russia and China. These nations supply Chavez with high level military hardware such as anti-aircraft missiles [see, Juan Forero, Venezuela acquired 1,800 Russian antiaircraft missiles in '09, Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/11/AR2010121103148.html] and tanks from communist China, reported just days ago by AP.
"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his government will buy amphibious tanks from China for its military...[the] deal signed Tuesday calls for a Chinese company to begin delivering the tanks next year...the $500 million cost will be financed through loans that China has offered Venezuela in exchange for oil shipments..." [see, Chavez: Venezuela To Buy Tanks From China,
Chavez is also heavily involved in the drug trade, primarily cocaine. As a 2011 article published by the Economist explains, recent charges were made during Venezuela's fraudulent elections by Chavez opponents who frame the argument:
"Opponents of Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez, are eagerly awaiting the trial of Walid Makled, a businessman extradited from Colombia five months ago. Before he was sent home to face drug-trafficking charges, Mr Makled boasted that he had 15 Venezuelan generals, the interior minister’s brother and five pro-government legislators on his million-dollar monthly payroll. Described by a United States attorney as a “king among kingpins”, Mr Makled is wanted in New York for allegedly shipping tonnes of cocaine from Venezuela. As a prisoner of Mr Chávez’s security service, Mr Makled has now fallen silent. The trial, due to begin soon, may or may not offer more revelations...." [see, By the planeload, Hugo Chávez seems unperturbed by claims of official complicity in crime, http://www.economist.com/node/21531471]
There exists in the public record a myriad of substantiation for the drug lord charge, some sources which we have access to report that Mr. Chavez may net as much as 10% of the cocaine take. That's serious money.
With this kind of information available to anyone concerned about these matters, Mr. Obama claiming on Tuesday that Mr. Chavez does not represent a threat to the U.S., is simply inexplicable.
What can be said is that Team Obama's malfeasance regarding national security is breathtaking, with the above being just one aspect. Perhaps the president felt somehow shielded by talking to the non-English speaking press. If that's the case, the considerable uproar his statement has already produced should disabuse him of that notion.