A couple of interesting notes regarding waters where the Coast Guard frequently operates, both concerning Nicaragua. First they seem to be getting drug enforcement intelligence from the Russians, and the US does not mind. Second they are getting six vessels from the Russians, that may be usable for law enforcement or for possible sovereignty patrols over their newly expanded EEZ.
Two of these ships are 550 ton ASUW and AAW missile equipped Molniya Class Corvettes like the one pictured above, a development of the older Turantul Class Corvette. The other four are closer to 110 foot WPBs, if a bit more heavily armed.
Costa Rica is apparently concerned. I’ve got a soft spot for Costa Rica. Their only armed service is their Coast Guard, and they have had some run-ins with Nicaragua in the past.
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.”