Monday, March 14, 2005

The Bush administration has apparently given up painting Hugo Ch�vez as a domestic dictator needing to be overthrown and taken up painting Hugo Ch�vez as a regional ruffian needing to be overthrown instead.
Senior US administration officials are working on a policy to �contain� Hugo Ch�vez, the Venezuelan president, and what they allege is his drive to �subvert� Latin America's least stable states.

A strategy aimed at fencing in the government of the world's fifth-largest oil exporter is being prepared at the request of President George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, senior US officials say. The move signals a renewed interest by the administration in a region that has been relatively neglected in recent years. . . .

�Ch�vez is a problem because he is clearly using his oil money and influence to introduce his conflictive style into the politics of other countries,� Mr Pardo-Maurer said in an interview with the Financial Times.

�He's picking on the countries whose social fabric is the weakest,� he added. �In some cases it's downright subversion.�
We've already seen that the Bush administration has no fear for the global oil market when it comes to making foreign policy, so don't count on >$50/barrel oil and US dependence on Veneuzuelan supplies to insert any note of caution.

Should we be expecting a 'Venezuela Liberation Act' from the Republican Congress sometime soon? If at first you don't succeed . . .

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