Trouble in Latin America

Because the Coast Guard regularly operates in the waters off Latin America, and flies patrols from bases there, we probably want to pay attention to what is happening in region.

Venezuela recently broke off diplomatic relations with Columbia, after Colombian accusations that Venezuela was sheltering FARC rebels.

There was already an uproar about the recent agreement between the US and Costa Rica allowing the US military limited access to Costa Rica to refuel ships and pursue drug traffickers. There was substantial opposition within Costa Rica and much speculation from the anti-American quarters that the US would use Costa Rica as an avenue to attack Nicaragua or Venezuela.

Before that, there were accusations that the US was behind the 2009 coup in Honduras that removed a pro-Venezuelan President.

We are seeing the solidification of anti-American feeling exemplified by the emergence of the “Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America” or ALBA, which began as an economic alliance between Cuba and Venezuela and now also includes Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Saint vincent and the Grenadines.

All the chest pounding and anger against the US and Colombia is probably more for domestic consumption than any indication of immediate intent, but we might see some of this hostility in port and sometime angry words are translated into action by young men, acting without their government’s blessing.  Our people are in a potentially dangerous region where not everyone sees us as the good guys.

As they say, “Be careful out there.”

8 thoughts on “Trouble in Latin America

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Trouble in Latin America - --

    • The AK-47 plant has to have been a bad business decision, since AK-47s seem to be a “glut on the market” with all the old soviet era ones forcing the price down.

      Seriously I can understand one country lead by a crazy, but I hate to see other countries seeming to be moving in that direction. That is very discouraging.

  2. As an aside on the AK deal — the plant is actually building AK-103s which are a vastly updated system. Basically, it’s the AK-74 with a new/modified gas system (that improves reliability), black plastic furniture (which is better to resist jungle humidity) with a side-folding buttstock, and a resin-reinforced magazine system. The 103 version has all the updates with the throw-back caliber of the original 7.62 x 39mm. I’ve got an AK-108 which is the same thing, chambered in 5.56mm NATO. It’s an extremely reliable rifle. Better than my ARs and Sig 556. I’ve choosen it over all other assault rifles for my SHTF rifle.

    My bet is the reason for this arms deal was so that Venezuala could have internal control and supply for their small arms needs. Not to mention that they can now supply rifles and ammo to FARC or anyone else in central/south america where they can cause trouble. So, it’s not really a bad business decision – they’re getting the best, most up-to-date version of the highest-reputed combat rifle in the world (each one worth more than a container full of 40-yr-old, worn-out, village-gunsmithed AKMs from Africa), and internal control over production regardless of US sanctions…

    All of this is just symptomology that there is a major war brewing in So. America. Only real question is when, and how it all falls out. At this point, I’d say the pot is simmering. A few bubbles or rumbles or shaking of the lid from now and then, but if the heat keeps going up, we’ll see that pot boil over. Definitely before Chavez gets too old or in danger of being removed from office.

    • I have Scheina’s “U. S. Coast Guard Cutters and Craft of World War II,” and while it appears to be well researched and very complete, I see almost no logic in its organization, which doesn’t bode well for understanding something as complex as the history of Latin America.

      It’s certainly a topic a lot of us ought to know more about. There is a lot of naval history there too. The first use of self propelled torpedoes, armor piercing projectiles, torpedo boats. Lots of naval hero names I know because their names were carried by ships of their navies. There is still an early turreted ship built in 1865, the Huáscar, the target of that torpedo attack, berthed at the port of Talcahuano, Chile preserved as a museum ship.

      Still lots of ill feeling between the various countries.

      • I’ve had no problems with the WWII book of vessels. I see it as being arranged from most to least under individual types and purposes.

        Bob is a South American military history expert. This is his expertise. Some of his graduate work was done in Mexico City if my memory serves and he tells some great stories of some of his Mexican Army professors.

        He was the first American historian to interview the Argentinian’s following the Falklands War. He also taught at ICAF and Catholic University.

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