Operación Balboa, unmasked
Hugo Chávez thinks the US is going to invade Venezuela any time now, but what he doesn’t seem to realize is that he’s been talking about a military training excercise from a quarter of a century ago.
He said the Venezuelan intelligence services have learned of a US plan to invade his country and capture the oil fields.
Under the US plan, code-named Balboa, a number of ships, men and bombs will be used for invasion of the major cities of Caracas, Maracay and Valencia, according to the president.
September 16: Chávez tells Ted Koppel
“I’m telling you that I have evidence that there are plans to invade Venezuela. Furthermore, we have documentation: how many bombers to overfly Venezuela on the day of the invasion, how many trans-Atlantic carriers, how many aircraft carriers need to be sent”
Ah yes, Operation Balboa. I hadn’t heard of that old chestnut in years. Chavez’ “secret plan” for the invasion of Venezuela was a war-gaming exercise used to teach the basics of air component plans and operations to junior officers at the Air Force Squadron Officer School. I played that game back in 1980. As I recall, we did invade Venezuela, to support its legitimate government from a large cross-border insurgency, and had to watch our backs to keep the Cubans out of the conflict. The educational emphasis was rapid reaction; the whole planning and operations cycle occurred in less than 24 hours, since we were given pre-positioned forces in the Canal Zone(!). It was big fun, but only moderately realistic. I also recall reducing the Soviet Union to radioactive rubble the following week in another wargame.
If this is the first Chavez has heard of Balboa, he’s getting screwed by his intelligence service.
May I remind you, Chavez has been president of Venezuela only since 1998. The Operación probably wasn’t even played as a war game way before that date.