Archive for the ‘Hugo Chavez’ Category

Venezuela: Maduro negotiated for Hezbollah training camps in Venezuela

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

A new book by Emili Blasco, Bumerán Chávez: Los fraudes que llevaron al colapso de Venezuela claims that Nicolas Maduro negotiated with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah for Hezbollah training camps in Venezuela.

The article, Nicolás Maduro negoció con Hizbolá la presencia de sus milicianos en Venezuela
Se entrevistó con su líder Nasralá para hablar de narcotráfico, blanqueo de dinero, suministro de armas y entrega de pasaportes
(Nicolás Maduro negotiated with Hezbollah its militia’s presence in Venezuela
He discussed with its leader Nasrallah drug trafficking, money laundering, supplying weapons and passports), by Blasco, the book’s author and Washington, D.C. correspondent for Spanish daily ABC, explains that the meeting, orchestrated by Hugo Chavez, took place in Damascus in 2007 when Maduro was Foreign Minister.

La cita en Damasco fue probablemente resultado de las conversaciones mantenidas en enero de 2007 por Chávez y el presidente iraní, Mahmud Ahmadineyad, que significaron un salto en la cooperación de Venezuela con los intereses del radicalismo islámico. En marzo de ese año entró en servicio un vuelo semanal entre Caracas y Teherán, con escala en una base militar de Damasco, lo que puso el Caribe más rápidamente al alcance de Hizbolá.

[my translation] The appointment in Damascus likely came about from January, 2007, conversations between Chavez and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which bounced up cooperation between Venezuela and Islamic state interests. On March that year, direct flights started between Caracas and Teheran, with a stop at a military base in Damascus, which placed the Caribbean at Hezbollah’s closer reach.

(h/t HACER)

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In other Venezuelan news, the government is using posters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles for target practice at the Universidad Nacional Experimental de la Seguridad military college.

UPDATE
Linked to by Frontpage. Thank you!

[Post corrected for misspelling]

Venezuela-Iran’s Aeroterror: Airplanes full of drugs & money

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Remember those direct Tehran-Caracas flights I posted about in 2008? The ones La Stampa reported about? (click on image to enlarge)

Well, they carried (carry?) terrorists, drugs, and money:
AEROTERROR: A regular flight from Caracas to Tehran carried more drugs and money than people

High-level Venezuelan defectors then started talking to Veja journalist Leonardo Coutinho. They told Veja that Aeroterror came to be a biweekly flight that carried drugs and cash to finance Iran’s activities in South America, and that it would stop in Damascus to pick up fake passports and other documents to ensure that Iran’s agents could move freely once they arrived in Caracas.

Aeroterror. Let that sink in for a moment.

Reports indicate that Chavez and Ahmadinejad planned Aeroterror at a meeting Caracas back in 2007, during which Ahmadinejad also asked Chavez to help him get Argentina to help Iran with its nuclear program. Since then, Iran has only strengthened its ties to South America.

Alberto Nisman was on the trail early on,

. . . Nisman published a report on the same subjects that he took to Interpol in 2007 — Iranian officials threatened to arrest Nisman after it was presented.

Veja’s article, Venezuela vendia passagens fantasmas para o “aeroterror”O voo que fez a rota Caracas-Damasco-Teerã entre 2007 e 2010 era deficitário, mas passageiros comuns nunca conseguiam fazer reserva em um de seus assentos, pois o avião destinava-se a transportar drogas, terroristas e dinheiro

According to Chavez exiles in the United States, the flights were used to carry dozens of Islamic extremists who had to travel to the West, from Iran and Syria, unnoticed.

It is unclear if the flights are still continuing.

Venezuela-Iran-Argentina: Cash for nukes

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Mary O’Grady writes about the deal:
Iran and Argentina: The Defectors’ Tale
Three former Venezuelan insiders say Hugo Chávez brokered a cash-for-nuclear-technology deal.

The first favor they described, according to Veja, was that Argentina would cover up Iran’s role in the 1994 terrorist attack on a Jewish community center (known by its Spanish initials as AMIA) in Buenos Aires. The second favor was that Argentina would “share their long experience in [a] heavy-water nuclear reactor, an old-fashioned, expensive and complicated system but one that allows plutonium to be obtained from natural uranium.”

And then there were cash transfers,

The unnamed defectors claim that among other means to manipulate Argentina in favor of Iran, Venezuela arranged direct cash transfers. In August 2007, when Argentine customs officials discovered a suitcase containing an undeclared $800,000 in a plane from Venezuela, most observers chalked it up to Chávez’s efforts to spread his influence around the region. But one of the defectors told Veja that the loot was a gift from Iran for Mrs. Kirchner’s presidential campaign.

The claim in the Veja story that the cash originated in Iran and that a twice monthly Caracas-Damascus-Tehran flight between 2007 and 2010 facilitated its transfer to Venezuela is interesting. Veja notes that Venezuela’s then-foreign minister Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah, now the governor of Aragua and a bigwig in the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, played a key role in running those flights.

I’ve been blogging on the secret flights for over half a decade, and also about the possibility of an Iranian missile base in Venezuela.

Alberto Nisman’s investigation unearthed more information,

Iran was sore about that according to Nisman’s 2006 indictment of the Iranians. “There is sufficient evidence to prove that the [AMIA] attack was carried out in Argentina owing to the Argentine government’s unilateral decision to terminate the nuclear materials and technology supply agreements that had been concluded some years previously between Argentina and Iran,” the Nisman report said. The same report says that “at this period the Iranian government felt that it was crucial for Iran to develop its nuclear capacities.”

It looks like Nisman was about to blow the lid with more findings . . . and then he was murdered.

Iran, Argentina, Venezuela, Chavez, and Nisman

Friday, March 20th, 2015

More from Humire’s testimony at the House Subcommittee on the Wesyern Hemisphere (emphasis added):

Iran’s aggressive posture in obtaining items, materials and technology from Latin America that benefit both it’s [sic] nuclear program and ballistic missile program are at the heart of what led to the death of Dr. Nisman.

In his final term as president, the late Hugo Chávez became an prominent player in Argentina’s foreign policy. Buying out approximately $10 billion of Argentine debt, Chávez gained an inordinate amount of influence over that country, particularly over
their president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Since 2007, Venezuela began nuclear cooperation with Argentina for the development of its own nuclear reactor. At the same time, Venezuela began its military transfers to Iran. Parallel to this nuclear cooperation were several joint financial agreements between Argentina and Venezuela centered around agricultural and social projects. Many of these projects did not materialize, however, millions of dollars tied to these projects still moved between both countries.

Argentina’s nuclear program, which dates back to the 1950s, has been dormant since the 1980s. President Fernández de Kirchner gave the nuclear program new life in 2011. The Veja article released this month, mentions Argentina’s nuclear technology and capability as Iran’s primary objective for their rapprochement with that country.

The question remains to what degree is Argentina’s new nuclear ambition tied to Iran’s intent to attain this technology? And has Venezuela’s own defunct nuclear program and triangulated trade with Argentina served the purpose of helping Iran? Perhaps Dr. Nisman knew more than he reported. Unfortunately he is no longer with us.

Related:
Lawmakers warn of links between Cuba, Iran, Venezuela

Bombshell report alleges Argentina, Iran, and Venezuela were once all bound together by sex, drugs, and nuclear secrets

New photos reveal expanding reach of Iran in Venezuela and other parts of Latin America

Video below (starts right away)

(more…)

Venezuela: Was Iran behind the colectivos?

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

From the [pdf file] WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF
JOSEPH M. HUMIRE
CO-AUTHOR
IRAN’S STRATEGIC PENETRATION OF LATIN AMERICA
BEFORE THE
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE (WHEM)
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA (MENA)
HEARING ON
“IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH IN THE WESTERN
HEMISPHERE”


To most, the Venezuelan government’s ability to brutally stifle student protests, is a capacity developed by the Cuban regime whose intelligence and military direct many aspects of Venezuela’s national security apparatus. While mostly true, this excludes another vital player that has enhanced Venezuela’s foreign internal defense, the Iranian paramilitary force known as the Basij.

In April 2009, the current Iranian commander of the Basij paramilitary force, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, accompanied then-Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar on a high-level visit to Caracas at the invitation of then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his foreign minister (now President) Nicolas Maduro. Gen. Naqdi’s role in these high-level meetings was to serve as an advisor to Venezuela’s Ministries of Defense and Interior to aid in training their civilian militias, known as the infamous colectivos’. Years later, the results of this advisory support are evident on the streets of Venezuela as the colectivos’ tactics are a step-up in its previous capabilities, to include new clandestine communication and infiltration/espionage techniques.

Gen. Naqdi, who previously served as the Iranian Police Force’s counterintelligence chief, has a long list of human rights violations dating back to the 1999 student protests in Iran.

Venezuela: Get ready for $10 oil?

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Gary Shilling at Bloomberg is saying, Get ready for $10 oil It has to do with the marginal cost of production,

or the additional costs after the wells are drilled and the pipes are laid. Another way to think of it: It’s the price at which cash flow for an additional barrel falls to zero.

Last month, Wood Mackenzie, an energy research organization, found that of 2,222 oil fields surveyed worldwide, only 1.6 percent would have negative cash flow at $40 a barrel. That suggests there won’t be a lot of chickening out at $40. Keep in mind that the marginal cost for efficient U.S. shale-oil producers is about $10 to $20 a barrel in the Permian Basin in Texas and about the same for oil produced in the Persian Gulf.

Also consider the conundrum financially troubled countries such as Russia and Venezuela find themselves in: They desperately need the revenue from oil exports to service foreign debts and fund imports. Yet, the lower the price, the more oil they need to produce and export to earn the same number of dollars, the currency used to price and trade oil.

With the drop in prices,

Among the hardest hit are those nations that rely on oil for much of their government revenue and were in financial trouble before prices plunged. Venezuela along with its state-run oil company issued more debt than any developing country between 2007 and 2011. Venezuela has been downgraded to the bottom of the junk pile — CCC by Fitch — and credit-default swaps on Venezuelan debt recently indicated a 61 percent chance of default in the next year and 90 percent in the next five years. The nosedive in oil prices also is devastating African exporters Ghana, Angola and Nigeria, where oil finances 70 percent of the government’s budget.

How Bad Is Venezuela’s Economic Chaos? Bad enough that

Maduro has yet to fully account for how his government will meet its $10.3 billion debt obligations in 2015. A March 16 payment totally $1.1 billion is fast approaching and Venezuela’s economy is languishing.

I am not optimistic at all; even if Maduro goes, the country can remain under a dictatorship, just as Cuba has, for decades to follow.

And, by the way, even when the minimum monthly wage of 5,600 bolivars ($32 on a new exchange market created last week) is close to useless, the late dictator Hugo Chavez managed to sock away US$12 billion in his HSBC account.

So, all of you who preach that “Chavez immensely decreased inequality” in Venezuela can take that, spread it, and eat it on a cracker.

Today’s Capt. Louis Renault moment: Hugo Chavez died before he was of officially “dead”

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

I’m shocked, shocked!

According to Leamsy Salazar

Hugo Chavez died in December 2012, not March 2013 as was claimed by his successor, Nicolás Maduro. Salazar says that Maduro and his cronies covered up Chavez’s death for three months so they could sign decrees under his name.

Ahmadinejad kissed the coffin all the same:

Too bad Chevy Chase is not doing this anymore,

John Hinderaker points out that

It is noteworthy that “eight other members of President Maduro’s personal security force have deserted Venezuela and defected to the United States, according to reports in Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional.” These particular rats are well-positioned to know when the ship is about to sink. It can’t happen too soon.

True, but also true is the fact that Putin met Maduro after first having refused him – and now the Venezuelan regime’s on full crackdown mode, so I don’t expect the Communist regime to collapse right away.

The woes of the Venezuelan people may just be starting.

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In a lighter mode,

UPDATE:
Linked to by Designs on the Truth. Thank you!

Venezuela: The talking bodyguard

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Leamsy Salazar, former bodyguard of Hugo Chávez and Diosdado Cabello, is in New York and talking:
Bodyguard Outs Diosdado Cabello as Drug Cartel Chief
Chavismo’s Number Two Security Official in New York to Testify with DEA

Salazar has already testified that Cabello heads up the Soles cartel, a criminal organization that monopolized drug trafficking within the country, according to sources involved in the case.

An post shared on Twitter by Ramón Pérez-Maura, an ABC journalist covering the case, stated that Salazar’s testimony had also linked Cuba with the country’s narcotrafficking trade, “offering protection to certain routes along which drugs were brought to Venezuela from the United States.”

Pérez-Maura‘s colleague in New York Emili J. Blasco added further details that Cabello gave direct orders for the distribution of illicit substances, and that Salazar knew of locations where the accused “keeps mountains of dollar bills.”

Interamerican Security Watch translated a report from Spain’s ABC (emphasis added),

The Cartel of the Suns, primarily composed of members of the military (its name comes from the insignia worn on the uniform of Venezuelan generals), has a drug trafficking monopoly in Venezuela. The drugs are produced by the Colombian FARC [Fuerzas Revolucionarias de Colombia guerrillas] and taken to their destinations in the U.S. and Europe by Mexican cartels. Recent international figures indicate that Venezuela ships five tons of narcotics on a weekly basis. Ninety percent of the drugs produced by Colombia transits Venezuela.
. . .
In his revelations, Salazar also implicates the governor of Aragua state, Tarek el Aissami, who also has links with Islamic networks, and José David Cabello, brother of the National Assembly president, who for several years served as director of SENIAT [tax agency] and minister of industry. José David Cabello is allegedly responsible for the finances of the Cartel of the Suns. Salazar mentions that [the state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela] PDVSA is a money-laundering machine (sic). PDVSA’s former president from 2004 to 2014, Rafael Ramirez, was appointed in December as Venezuela’s ambassador before the U.N. Security Council.
. . .
Regarding the links with Havana, Salazar mentioned the regular use of PDVSA aircraft to transport drugs. A son of Chávez’s and a son of former Cuban ambassador in Caracas, Germán Sánchez Otero, organized these shipments. Other Cuban officials are mentioned as part of the scheme. The final destination of these shipments was the United States.

Caracas Chronicles has more on The Bodyguard.

In Latin America, drugs, terrorism and crime are threads of one fabric.

And paying for the Bolivarian Revolution is not cheap.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Stones Cry Out. Thank you!
Linked to by Pseudo-Polymath. Thank you!

Why Venezuela should not have a seat at the UN Security Council

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Mary O’Grady explains,
THE AMERICAS
A Test for Obama on Venezuela at the U.N.
Cuba’s pawn wants a seat on the Security Council. We should work against it, as we did in 2008.

De facto control of Venezuela by Cuba ought to trouble all peaceable nations. Cuba violated a U.N. embargo on arms shipments to North Korea in 2013 when it put a load of weaponry on a North Korean vessel headed for Asia. The Venezuelan National Guard is a partner of Colombia’s drug-trafficking terrorists. Numerous terrorism experts warn that Venezuela is working closely with both Iran and Hezbollah to make trouble in the West and that the country has become a transit point for Iranian agents seeking to gain a foothold in the Americas.

Permanent members Russia and China would gain a reliable ally on the Security Council by adding Venezuela. It is true that the U.S. has veto power to block dangerous moves by a member. But Venezuela could influence the discussion agenda and would undoubtedly employ Cuba’s legendary propaganda tactics to do so.

Symbolically the elevation of Venezuela to the council would be a win for U.S. foes, and Venezuela knows it.

I don’t see the Obama administration doing anything about it. Instead, I say it’s very likely Chavez’s daughter Maria Gabriela Chavez will soon be sitting next to an American diplomat at the United Nations Security Council.

Venezuela: Exxon wins $1.6 billion settlement

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Back in 2005, then-dictator Hugo Chavez started to expropriate assets in Venezuela’s energy, mining and telecommunications industries under the pretext of development and sovereignty.

Energy companies were given until late-2007 to accept proposed contract and compensation terms from Chavez’s government or risk having their assets seized.•

Exxon and ConocoPhillips rejected the terms, and Exxon took Venezuela to the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or ICSID. The ICSID ruled for Exxon, which Chavez promptly, and predictably, rejected. At the time there were 20 other cases against Venezuela at the World Bank’s tribunal, all triggered by the wave of state takeovers.

Now Exxon Wins $1.6 Billion Settlement for Venezuela Seizure

The ICSID award includes $1.4 billion for expropriation of the Cerro Negro project, $179.3 million for expropriation of the smaller La Ceiba project and $9 million in compensation for production and export curtailments, ICSID said. It will incur compound interest of 3.25 percent dating back to June 2007.

In a similar complaint, the ICSID ruled Sept. 23 that Venezuela must pay $740 million to Spokane, Washington-based Gold Reserve Inc. (GRZ) for taking its Brisas gold and copper project in 2008. Gold Reserve said on July 23 that it was seeking $2.1 billion for the nationalization.

About 28 cases filed by mining and oil companies remain unresolved at the ICSID, including those filed by Phillips 66 and Highbury International AVV.

Venezuela calls it “a favorable end for the republic,” (h/t Caracas Chronicles)

Which tells you Venezuela has no intention to pay Exxon. The thing is, the country must honor ICSID rulings to avoid default of sovereign bonds. The only certain outcome in the short term is that a lot of lawyers are going to make a lot of money.

Just don’t expect any payments any time soon.