The outrage today is that an exuberant Chavez offered Russia to place a military base in Venezuela. That is right, Venezuela who has never hosted any military base from any country since its independence, who has never been invaded by any country directly, who has been subjected at most to blockade and some mercenary expeditions, is now about to invite the Russian to set up whatever military facility they want to settle somewhere here. And let's not mention the free running FARC and the thousands of Cuban invaders under the pretext of humanitarian help. No other president in Venezuela history has given for nothing chunks of Venezuelan sovereignty as Chavez has done under his ten years tenure. History of course will judge him harshly for that.
But I am not going to go into a rant about Chavez now confirmed as a "vende patria". No, not at all. To begin with the Russian know much better and they are using for their sake the Venezuelan joker that cannot pass an occasion to make a head line, no matter how stupid he looks in that head line. If there is anyone who ever applied the principle of "there is no such thing as bad publicity" it is Chavez. By sheer idiocy or outmost Machiavellian inclination, it does not matter, he applies the dictum.
See, the Russian are kind of mad a the US lately. Some radar anti missile system in the Check Republic or something. So, there comes that clown form Latin America, a new breed of "arrastra cueros", willing to spend all of its nation currency reserves on second rate weapons (that is right, there is a rumor that Chavez might be spending up to 30 billion USD in weapons just as the country's infrastructure is crumbling and food items are missing). And low and behold, that clown invites them to set a base in Venezuela!!
Russia is now a second rank country. True, it could climb up again as a first rank country but technologically, socially and economically we are talking at least a decade or two before it could even compete with Japan or Germany. Russia also has the Chinese threat, has problems in Ukraine and Central Asia. All that in its own borders, never minding small pain in the neck countries such as Georgia and Chechnya. And Russia would come and set a military base in Venezuela? To threaten to control the oil flow out of Puerto La Cruz or the Orinoco?
The Russian know very well a casus belli when they see one and if they are going to go to war with the US they have much, much better reasons than Venezuela which has nothing to offer to them except cold cash. Chavez might be dumb enough to miss that point but the Russians do not miss it: no one in the world is going to lift a finger against Venezuela as long as Venezuela sells its oil to the US. And if Venezuela does not want anymore to ship its oil to the US and can find new buyers, it is OK because that means the US will be able to find new providers. As long as there is a transition period the US will have no problem dropping its dependence on a clown. In the commodity and fungible goods market the important thing is that the goods flow. Who cares where they come from? But threaten to turn off one of the spigots and you will see what happens.
Chavez does know that at some level, no matter how confused and infantile his mind might be. The proof is that the Iraq horror notwithstanding, Chavez posturing stops at stopping oil supply to the US. Only a few misguided leftist souls in the world take Chavez words seriously when he threatens the US of A. No Senator int he US so far has lost much sleep over Chavez once they took the real measure of the man.
This is where we are at: Chavez accepts to do the dirty work for the Russians while HE IS THE ONE paying them. And even more humiliating, , he combines that truly outrageous weapon buying spree (and all the fat commissions for the abject military serving him and having our boys killed in Bolivia for nothing) with a begging stop in Spain at the summer residence of the King to try to put behind the "porque no te callas!".
That is another reason why Chavez will never leave office peacefully: he knows very well that as soon as he becomes a civilian again he will go to jail for all that he cost the country. People are starting to wake up, as you could see on TV this week as protests for harsh living conditions grow: no one in "el pueblo" is amused by his European trip...