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.
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.
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.
A friend had a relative who owned a pharmacy in the former West Berlin that hit a bonanza selling consumer goods (“Shampoo. Soap. Vitamins. Tylenol.” Plus toilet paper, Kleenex, and tampons) when the wall came down.
Thousands of people traveling to Cuba take “Shampoo. Soap. Vitamins. Tylenol.” The island-prison doesn’t have a good supply.
Bargain-hunting members of the huge visiting delegation eagerly visited a Costco, a Payless shoe store, a Walgreens and a Duane Reade in recent days while hunting for discount products in short supply back home:
Shampoo. Soap. Vitamins. Tylenol.
The trip to a Harlem Costco secured an assortment of wholesale shampoos, while a drugstore visit brought more than a dozen bottles of vitamins and Tylenol.
Good thing he didn’t try to stock up on Benadryl or he may have been busted. But moving right along, Mahmoud continues to imitate his fictional counterpart,
While the Iranians scrambled for the staples of most Western bathrooms, their Holocaust-denying boss remained comfortably ensconced in midtown’s posh Warwick Hotel.”
Three personal chefs were at Ahmadinejad’s beck and call, and the Iranians booked two full floors in the luxury hotel, where suites can go for $1,600 a night, according to a hotel employee.
The cooks brought in their own food, and the president’s men dined on the second floor.
As I write this post, Netanyahu is asking to “draw a clear red line” as the only peaceful way left to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons.
The anti-Semite’s special welcome basket — from New Yorkers with love — included such locally procured goodies as Gold’s Borscht, Manischewitz Gefilte Fish and smoked whitefish from the world-famous Murray’s Sturgeon House on the Upper West Side.
If Ahmadinejad (pronounced: I’m a dinner jacket) needed midnight munchies during his visit to this infidel city, there were also plenty of H&H bagels, onion bialys and Zabar’s cream cheese.
There’s also a bobblehead Statue of Liberty to keep on his night table, a teddy bear to cuddle with during those cold Persian nights and a 9/11 American-flag refrigerator magnet that he can stick on the minibar.
El Nuevo Herald has obtained a copy of a contract (link in Spanish) signed in 2010 by Asdrúbal Chávez, Hugo Chávez cousin, by which the Venezuelan government contracted Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction Company (IOEC) to enlarge the Astinave shipbuilding facility in the state Falcón which had previously been seized by Chávez’s government. (My translation: if you use it, please credit me and link to this post)
Astinave is located in Venezuela’s geographic point nearest to the USA and the Panama Canal, while the peninsula was identified by Western intelligence sources quoted in two reports by German daily Die Welt as the location chosen by Iran to locate some of its medium-range missiles.
According to Venezuelan military sources, Iran is using Astinave to unload its container ships.
Venezuela has transferred at least one F-16 fighter to Iran in an attempt to help it calibrate its air defenses, in preparation for a possible Israeli or U.S. strike on its nuclear facilities, reports Spanish newspaper ABC.
ABC, one of the three largest Spanish dailies and aligned with the ruling rightist party, wrote that the transfer, in 2006, was supervised by one of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s closest aides. The paper’s Washington correspondent, Emili J. Blasco, said the story was based on both sources in Venezuela’s air force and classified documents, following a tip- off by a non-Western intelligence agency.
At least one F-16 was transferred to Iran in 2006. According to the report, the jet was disassembled and packed in several sealed and unmarked wooden containers. These were loaded on a Boeing 707 Venezuelan air force plane that took off from the El Libertador Air Base, stopping in Brazil and Algeria before landing in Tehran, where it was reassembled. Venezuelan pilots instructed Iranian pilots and technicians as to the jet’s capabilities.
According to the news report, the F-16 was given to Iran so it could test its antiaircraft radar systems and become familiar with its capabilities, in preparation for a possible strike.
The trial flights in Iran were used to calibrate the Iranian air defense systems. Iranian officers also studied the speed of the F-16 on the radar screens.
here’s the thing to remember. We often assume that someone who is ridiculously contemptible is therefore not dangerous. History shows that, on the contrary, the ridiculous can easily cohabit with the malevolent.
The photo above was taken during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Caracas last week.
From June 20 to 22, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio 20, in Rio de Janeiro, will highlight the presence of more than 115 heads of state and government. They will focus on discussions on the defense of the environment with sustainable development and social inclusion. Attention will be focused on the presidents François Hollande (France) Vladimir Putin (Russia) and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran), among others.
The Economist speculates, and concludes it may all be political theater:
The Obama administration, to the ire of many in the Republican Party, has downplayed the potential threat posed by Venezuela’s alliance with Iran. It gently warned that “now is not the time to be deepening ties.” But it also chose the occasion to expel the Venezuelan consul in Miami, Livia Acosta, who was accused in a documentary aired last month by Univision, a Spanish-language American channel, of involvement in an alleged cyber-plot against the United States featuring Iranian diplomats and Mexican computer hackers.
Mr Chávez called the report “lies” and the expulsion “bullying”. As ever, he and Mr Ahmadinejad swore eternal friendship. What does that amount to? The two governments have signed hundreds of agreements, on everything from agriculture to tourism. But the most visible initiatives have flopped. Typical is a cement factory in the eastern state of Monagas. Due to open in 2007 and produce 1m tonnes a year, it is still under construction. Mr Chávez claims Iran has built 14,000 prefabricated houses. Not for the workers building the cement plant, who this week staged a protest over claims by a chavista union leader that they were well housed.
Suspicion attaches to agreements under which Venezuela might potentially help Iran evade sanctions over its nuclear programme. After Iran’s Export Development Bank set up a subsidiary in Caracas in 2007, the United States’ Treasury department imposed sanctions on it. Last year the Treasury applied largely symbolic sanctions against PDVSA, Venezuela’s state oil company, for exporting refined products to Iran. (The United States continues to be PDVSA’s main export market.) Venezuela denies that it is mining uranium or exporting it to Iran.
The murkiest areas are military and intelligence links, including the alleged presence in Venezuela of the Quds force, the foreign arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Some American analysts claim that Lebanon’s Hizbullah, an Iranian ally, is involved in cocaine trafficking from Latin America. Under Mr Chávez, Venezuela’s armed forces have adopted the doctrine of “asymmetric warfare”, which explicitly endorses acts of terrorism in the event of an American attack.
But there is little reason to believe that Mr Chávez would risk international isolation by allowing Iran to launch attacks against American targets from Venezuela.
Isolation? By whom? Certainly Chávez has a lot to lose if the US stops being its primary oil customer. But beyond that, Chávez will do whatever Chávez thinks will consolidate power around himself.
Much like its Syrian ally, Iran becomes more and more of a global pariah every day. Outside of Venezuela, it has hardly any true allies. The Islamic Republic clearly views Latin America as a region that can provide an economic lifeline amid global sanctions and also enhance its perceived diplomatic legitimacy. If the radical, anti-American regimes in Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Nicaragua want to help the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, that’s one thing. But no respectable Latin American democracy should join them.
A former Venezuelan ambassador points out which countries Ahmadinejad did not visit:
As Darenblum said, there are two key words: respectable, and democracy. On that hinges the future of our hemisphere.
It’s no coincidence that Venezuela is Ahmadinejad’s first stop. Despite their cultural differences, Venezuela and Iran have found significant common ground: both are among the world’s top crude oil exporters, and their leaders have become strong allies united by a fierce opposition to what they view as U.S. imperialism.
Ahmadinejad arrived at 6:30PM Sunday. Hugo didn’t make it to the airport.
From there A’jad’s heading to Nicaragua, Ecuador and Cuba.