21 January 2006

On Marcela Sanchez's "The Petty Politics of Venezuela's Arms Purchases"

London 21.01.06 | It continues to amaze me the sheer disregard that purportedly respected journalists have for facts. Even more worrying is their continuous repetition of old cliches, politically charged articles, in which they pretend to know more about topics where their ignorance is the most salient of characteristics. Such is the case of Marcela Sanchez of the Washington Post. In her latest "The Petty Politics of Venezuela's Arms Purchases" she lashes out, as usual, the hypocritical stance of the US administration. Considering that Sanchez is of Hispanic background, she seems to be appallingly misinformed about Venezuela and Hugo Chavez. Furthermore her knowledge of international law and regulations stands in the way of proper reporting.

The USA has every right to forbid business partners to pass technology to third parties, especially considering the bellicose nature of the such third parties. Spain is in clear and explicit violation to European legislation with the arms sale to Venezuela, yet Sanchez fails to mention that detail in her piece. She goes on to state that the contract between Venezuela and Spain represent jobs for about a thousand workers in Spain's shipyards, which, in any case are bankrupt and near dysfunctional. Sanchez also quotes from Brazilian Minister Celso Amorim, which prompts a question: what do you think Ms. Sanchez, that Amorim will go on the public record saying how reprehensible can be to sell loads of weapons to Chavez and jeopardize a contract worth millions?

A pearl comes about at the beginning of the piece: "Spain and Brazil insist that the equipment they want to sell Venezuela would not destabilize the region." Oh no, comrade Chavez has promised Zapatero and Lula not to use the weapons with his neighbours, these are only to keep Venezuelan opposition and citizenry at bay.

But the icing on the cake is this remark "Last September, Chavez signed a new law, the Ley Organica de la Fuerza Armada Nacional, which makes preservation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela the military's mission." This is a half true, in the best of cases, not to say plain inaccurate. The LOFAN established as the primary and foremost mission of Venezuela's Armed Forces the protection of the wellbeing and integrity of Hugo Chavez and that of his family, even before the stated mission of preserving the sovereignty. In fact the LOFAN is but a copy of Cuba's FAR, but of course Sanchez omitted such important information. But then, the following just throws any intelligent person into disbelief "These militias are clearly not the kind of forces that could lead a military attack against a neighboring nation." Says who, Marcela Sanchez?

Sanchez closes the article thusly:

"...what's really at stake here is the triumph of one country's political goals over the financial calculations of its allies."

So please do tell Ms. Sanchez: is it in your view unquestionably correct to sell all sorts of war weapons to an individual that once upon a time used his country's tanks and army to lead a coup d'etat to kill his president and countrymen?