Thursday, June 18, 2009

Iran's peeps in Latin America

Daniel Ortega sent a letter of congratulations to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his "victory," while the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry took the time honored road of blaming all domestic dissent on foreigners, as it "expresses its firm rejection of the ferocious and unfounded campaign to discredit, from abroad, that has been unleashed against Iran, with the objective of muddying the political climate of this brother country." Chávez might even believe that.

The outcome of the political conflict in Iran may well determine its policy toward Latin America. If Ahmadinejad comes out strong, then he will likely continue the high-profile trips and trade with a thick layer of revolutionary rhetoric. If reformers emerge victorious, then the trade will continue (which Lula is already actively pursuing) but within a framework of relative moderation that emphasizes mutual economic benefit rather than revolutionary zeal against the empire. There may be some wariness toward Nicaragua and Venezuela for supporting Ahmadinejad, but Latin America is far away and profit will likely trump everything else.

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