Roger Noriega | Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
"Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez is moving to consolidate his hold on Honduras, after orchestrating the return last Saturday of his puppet, Manuel Zelaya. Officials in Chávez’s inner circle are wondering how their cash-strapped government can finance yet another “revolutionary” government in Central America. What they fail to realize is that Chávez’s backup plan is to sow chaos in Honduras so it is hospitable territory for his partners in the illegal drug trade and a headache for the United States and Mexico.
"Sources within the Venezuelan foreign ministry are delighted that Honduran President Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo was so quick to pledge his loyalty to Chávez and the same radical reforms that got Zelaya deposed in 2009.
"Lobo’s surrender came at a secret meeting in mid-May with Venezuelan envoy Ariel Vargas, held far from the presidential palace at Lobo’s suburban home northeast of the capital. According to sources inside the Venezuelan government, Lobo posed as a fervent revolutionary and begged for Chávez’s patience as he maneuvered around domestic opposition to fundamental constitutional reforms that will allow the people to sweep aside the old order. Lobo suggested to Vargas that he needed help in neutralizing opposition within his own Nationalist Party and the Catholic Church."
....."Venezuelan diplomats familiar with Lobo’s offer agreed that the most appealing part of his proposed pact is that they would no longer have to rely on the mercurial Zelaya, whom they have come to regard as a clown and a pest. Chávez will let Lobo believe that they are partners, but the Venezuelan will never accept the rightist Nationalist Party president as an instrument of radical change. Instead, Caracas already has begun to pour millions in support to the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), which will soon be accredited as a political party as part of the “national reconciliation” deal imposed by Chávez. By fabricating a well-financed rival to Honduras’ two traditional political parties, Chávez is convinced that he can rout the opposition and install minority governments to push through drastic economic and social changes."
"For Chávez, Honduras is a win-win-win proposition. If he manages to install a friendly government, he will have a malleable partner who will join the conspiracy against the United States. If his machinations merely sow political chaos and social mayhem, his allies in the illegal drug trade will prosper. And, in either case, saving Honduras will require heavy lifting and substantial support by the United States."
Read the entire article: Interamerican Security Watch
Roger Noriega is a former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean) and a former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States.
No doubt there will be immediate claims that this is ridiculous and false, but it rings very true to me.