One of the greatest blessings for the people of Central and South America is that they have been involved in very few external wars since they gained independence from Spain and Portugal. In general when they have gone to war the wars have been brief and have had few casualties. Even today most nations of Central and South America have small armies with limited ability to project power or threaten their neighbors; until now.
President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has embarked on an unprecedented arms build up. He is negotiating with many nations to supply his country with arms of all kinds. This from a nation that has no real internal or external security threats. He is building a small arms factory to manufacture Kalashnikov rifles. They are trying to get the Russian Navy to make port calls there on a regular basis. Now he is taking delivery of hand held anti-aircraft missiles of the type that can shoot down helicopters or low flying jets. He is also discussing with Iran the possibility of adding intermediate range missiles to his arsenal.
Does Venezuela really need all these weapons? Do they face any determined enemies who are likely to attack them anytime soon? Do they really think that if the United States wanted to invade them that Venezuela could successfully stop and American attack? Do they really expect Columbia to sweep across the border and attack them? There is no need for this weapons build up except to try and intimidate their peaceful neighbors. If they cooperate with Iran and gain intermediate range missiles with nuclear warheads then they will actually precipitate an overwhelming attack by the United States, making them more vulnerable rather than more secure. Venezuela needs to step back from it’s arms buildup; that’s the view from the Hysterical Right Wing.