While much of the world is watching events unfold in the Ukraine, Argentina and Brazil are keeping an eye on Venezuela as events unfold there. An atmosphere like Arab Spring is mounting in Argentina and Brazil as South America’s largest two economies prepare for the possibility of discontent and protest which is marching through Venezuela to spread. Latin American analysts have long anticipated what effect the events in Tunisia in 2011 may have.
Adrian Salbuchi, author of “Is Arab Spring coming to town?” first posed the fallout in his essay in June 2012. Recently it has been a political scientist, Rosendo Fraga, to see the connection. The current political crisis in Caracas is rattling organizations and leaders, especially those in Argentina and Brazil, Fraga told Mercopress.
Left-wing leaders, such as Argentina’s President, Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, have been constantly clashing with opposition and labor leaders. Major economic problems in the country have made the divide more apparent. Kirchner has joined with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in blaming the “fascist right” for problems that both claim are backed and funded by the United States.
Maduro has found support from Argentina not only because of their almost identical political thoughts, but also because Argentines are fearful that the violence which has been filling Venezuela may spill over.
Today, Kirchner went on national television and promised a “counterattack” to deter any protests which may occur in South America’s second largest country. As popular dissatisfaction in Argentina grows over political corruption, violations of basic human rights and government inefficiency, Latin Americans should be on alert for any lessons to be learned from Arab Spring.
Political scientist, Daniela Rodriguez, says the first lesson to be learned is that democracy is necessary for a country’s stability. She points out though, that democracy alone is not sufficient to maintain democracy. The proof, she says, is in the tremendous speed with which a large group of democracies have become “tyrannies of the majority.”
Why America Should Care
Venezuela, Argentina and Ecuador comprise the strongest alliance in South America. Other countries Chile, Brazil and the rest are friendly with the “big three,” but they do not enjoy the level of trust and cooperation that Venezuela, Argentina and Ecuador do. It’s like the other countries on the continent are cousins, but these three are family. The bonds are stronger.
Venezuela is currently the hub of anti-American feeling in Latin America. Madura is at the center of that hub. The anti-American feelings that existed under Chavez’ rule have only become stronger and more entrenched under Maduro.
One of the largest factors in Venezuela’s power is its large oil reserves. Venezuela pumps 1.3 million barrels of oil a day. The largest part of that oil is sold to the U.S. The money the country receives in its oil sales helps to fund all of the anti-American regimes.
Recently a flight, three times a week, has been established from Buenos Aires to Caracas to Tehran and back. There are never any passengers on the flights. No tickets are sold. The plane arrives back in Buenos Aires from Tehran, dumps much of its cargo at Ministro Pistarini International Airport, also known as Ezeiza, and then takes off for Caracas.
Several sources say that the flights are being used to ship arms from Iran to Argentina and Venezuela. Former Republican Representative Allen West of Florida is also concerned. “It has already happened as far as the relationship between Venezuela, Argentina and Iran. When you have these type of unstable conditions, Islamic terrorists will always find a way to get a stronger foothold,” West said.
West, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel acknowledges the risk to America. “The terrorists can spread all across Latin America, Central America…” and wind up in North America, he said.
By Jerry Nelson