Katy says: - Lots is going on that we should probably touch upon. Some of it is happening over the radar - literally, as in the case of the US plane - but other issues are slipping by, and merit a closer look.
1. Ze plen, ze ple-e-e-e-en! A US plane apparently got lost and flew without permission over the island of La Orchila, a violation of Venezuelan airspace. The Venezuelan government had a fit, as was expected, but we haven't heard yet from the fat man in the palace. Expect more histrionics and little substance in the days to come. The Defense Minister (pictured right, in his uniform) immediately concluded it had been intentional.
Perhaps the US government was looking for more pictures of Hugo Chávez, Jr. and his friends livin' la vida güisky in La Orchila, courtesy of Venezuelan taxpayers. To paraphrase Daddy, if being rich is bad, then Hugo Jr. is baaaaaaad.
2. No spam zone. Prestigious Colombian weekly Semana had a summary of some of the emails contained in the Raúl Reyes laptop. Some of the highlights include a secret meeting between FARC bigwig Iván Márquez, Piedad Córdoba and Chávez. They discuss Márquez's testimony saying that Chávez wanted to set up mobile hospitals in the border to tend to the FARC's wounded. They also openly discuss Chávez's support for Piedad Córdoba's presidential run in 2010.
3. Sé cómo duele ... ser guerrillera. The Colombian government landed one of its biggest fish since the death of Iván Ríos earlier this year. Comandante Karina, the legendary head of the FARC's 47th front, who for years had kidnapped and harassed the entire western portion of Colombia, turned herself in. In dramatic testimony, Karina confessed that the FARC's western front was on its last leg. Apparently, she was almost starving and was simply exhausted from life in the jungle.
4. Blackmail? Moi? The Ecuadorean government said that the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Colombia will depend on the Colombian government's willingness to stop disseminating false information about Ecuador. In other words, file the laptop and nothing has happened.
Funny how Ecuador has been saying that laptop was all lies and that the Colombian government had zero credibility, and now it is desperately trying to make it go away.
5. Guisocaribe. The Economist reports a scandal brewing in Belize. President Hugo Chávez sent former Belizean Prime Minister Said Musa $10 million as part of the Petrocaribe scheme where Venezuela exchanges millions of dollars for political support. The money apparently ended up in the Belize Bank, to whom Musa owed a significant amount of cash.
One of the ironies is that the chairman of Belize Bank is also the deputy chairman of Britain's Conservative Party.
6. That's quite a shopping list. The Associated Press reported recently on Chávez's current planned purchases of weapons. To estimate the cost to Venezuelan taxpayers, come up with an estimate of the value of this stuff and multiply by 2, to include the necessary commisions, fees and bribes.
7. PSFs of Seattle, drop your double-tall soy lattes and unite! Finally, the great Miguel sends me this link of a guy who probably has some major checks coming his way. Don't miss the platform of his political party. It advocates, among other things, the protection of the environment.
Now I've heard it all!