Friday, May 16, 2008

Should Venezuela Be Declared a State Sponsor of Terror?

An Interpol report confirms Hugo Chavez has been funding the Colombian terrorist group FARC. Some Republicans in Washington, D.C. are calling on the State Department to designate Venezuela a state sponsor of terrorism. Given that FARC holds several U.S. citizens captive and has formed strong relationships with America's enemies, most notably Iran there is a compelling argument for it. On the other hand, there is a case to be made there is light at the end of the tunnel. Venezuelans rejected a measure that would have effectively made Chavez a president for life. Under the Venezuelan constitution, he must leave office by 2012. There's a reasonable chance that in four years we could have a friendlier government there. Such a designation might undermine the Venezuelan opposition. We must also consider that we import a lot of oil from Venezuela through Citgo. So I don't think anything will change for now. On the other hand, should Obama win in November he will probably try to seek a rapprochement with Chavez. If that's the case such a designation by the outgoing Bush Administration could tie Obama's hands.

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