The Latin American Herald Tribune reports:
President Hugo Chavez called Sunday on Venezuelan soldiers and civilians who support him to prepare for war, after warning the governments of Colombia and the United States that Venezuelans are “ready for anything.”
Chavez issued the strong warning after adopting the view of former Cuban President Fidel Castro that the United States annexed Colombia with the treaty those two nations recently signed allowing U.S. soldiers to use military bases in the neighboring South American country.
“Let them not make a mistake, because we (Venezuelans) are ready for anything,” Chavez remarked, thereby implicitly ruling out his acceptance of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s offer to try and arrange a meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
“One must speak with love and therefore I say to the (U.S.) president, (Barack) Obama: don’t make a mistake and order an open attack on Venezuela using Colombia,” said the Venezuelan leader on his Sunday radio and television program “Alo Presidente.”
Before shouting “Fatherland, socialism or death,” Chavez ordered members of the armed forces “to prepare yourselves for war as the best way to avoid it.”
To which I (and I suspect most Venezuelans) wearily say: Yeah, yeah.
We’ve been here before, of course– as recently as last year.
Caracas Chronicles describes the reaction to Chavez’s latest alarm as a “universal yawn” and “the equivalent of a national roll-of-the-eyes, swiftly followed by speculation that the guy must be really hurtin’ for a way to rally the faithful if we’ve entered the Rhetorical Galtieri phase already.”
Nobody seems to be in any doubt that this is a smoke-curtain: what passes for an official response to the overlapping water/electricity/crime crises now buffeting the country.