The first time I heard anything about Venezuela was when Pat Robertson proclaimed that we should assassinate President Hugo Chavez. I barely gave it more thought than assuming the leader must be a pretty twisted cat for Robertson to make that statement...
Then I read an article about the Venezuelan President making plans to take their military from 50,000 to 2 million. That a National Guard is being formed to fight Americans in the same way the Iraqi "insurgents" are waging war. Hello? Am I missing something here? Is a tiny country like Venezuela even on the radar screen of the US or does this man just want to be hated like his dictator idols? Are these delusions of grandeur resulting from a Napoleon complex or is this actually an issue?
"Chavez loudly asserts that George W. Bush has secret plans to invade Venezuela and assassinate him. He told Ted Koppel's Nightline last year that the US code name for the project is "Balboa," and he offered to share with Koppel documentary proof about it. He added: "What I can't tell you is how we got it, to protect the sources, how we got it through military intelligence." (source)
Here's a bit about Chavez:
"To his critics, he is using democracy and a social agenda as tools to attain authoritarian goals. In the process, the traditional watchdogs of democracy -- the media, advocacy groups, and other actors in civil society -- have been weakened by a bullying government." (source)
He has forged alliances with:
Iran, Libya, Cuba (he considers Fidel his mentor) and before the war- Saddam Hussein (in 2000 Chavez became the first national leader to break the international isolation imposed on Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War by traveling to Baghdad).
I don't claim to know anything about the struggle (if there really is one) between the U.S. and Chavez. The more I read though, the more it became clear that this befriender of the world's worst regimes is bound to be the new darling of the left...move over Che and Castro! I am sure Oliver Stone is already en route to produce the documentary...