Outflanked by the Commies?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

[Update: For related posts, go here.]

The news out of the Middle East lately gives one cause for cautious optimism in the war. The secularist (but also separatist) Kurds get to play kingmaker in Iraq after the recent elections there. The Cedar Revolt (link via TIA Daily) is on in Lebanon (but its leaders aren't necessarily pro-American). But what of our own back yard?

Through the Houston Chronicle and Michelle Malkin, I've learned of a Central American criminal gang called M-13 that may be involved in smuggling terrorists into the United States through our porous border with Mexico. From the Chron:

A man wanted by the Honduran government for a bus massacre that killed 28 people, including six children, was arrested this month in Texas, the Homeland Security Department said Wednesday.

Authorities described the man, Ever Anibal Rivera Paz, who also goes by the name Franklin Jairo Rivera Hernandez, as the reputed leader of the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang in Honduras.

The Central American gang, which has members in this country, is considered violent, and U.S. officials are concerned that they might help sneak al-Qaida terrorists into the United States.

Follow the link to Malkin for more information about this gang in particular. Luckily, she's been all over this one for awhile.

But the bad news really only begins with M-13. It seems that Central America and northern South America are rapidly falling under the influence of the Marxist government of Venezuela, which is headed by Hugo Chavez, who is also an admirer of Saddam Hussein. From RealClear Politics:

The Sandinistas, the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary party repeatedly rejected by Nicaraguan voters, are on the verge of accomplishing what U.S. officials call a "golpe technico" (technical coup), stripping President Enrique Bolanos of power. It is no isolated event restricted to a small Central American country.[italics mine] The Sandinistas have a rich and powerful ally in Hugo Chavez, the Marxist president of Venezuela.

Chavez has not only survived all Venezuelan challenges to his power but is making great strides in spreading his "Bolivarian Revolution" throughout the region. Besides the Nicaraguan connection, Chavez endangers shaky elected presidents in Peru and Ecuador and is aiming at unseating Bolivia's president, as he did his predecessor. At the same time, Colombia's conservative regime is busy staving off narco-guerrillas backed by Chavez. The Venezuelan is spreading his influence through Latin America more effectively than his friend and ally, Cuban President Fidel Castro, ever did.

The article (which should be read in full) mentions several other disturbing facts, among them that Venezuela has been bolstering its military with arms purchases from Russia, and that Nicaraguan military officials were (1) caught selling weapons to Colombian narco-terrorists and (2) released very quickly thanks to the efforts of Sandinista lawyers. So we have someone grabbing power right under our nose -- one who both admires and aids terrorists. Nicaragua, by the way, borders Honduras.

The good news is that the Bush administration may be waking up just in time to start addressing this threat.

-- CAV


4-17-05: Added reciprocal link to index post.

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