Monday, September 04, 2006

Defense conflict in South America

The Paraguayan government is expressing its concern about the bilateral defense accords between Bolivia (i.e. its neighbor) and Venezuela. In particular, they involve Venezuela helping Bolivia build a port (which they claim will be entirely commercial) near Paraguay, and upgrade a military base.

The U.S. is also involved, because the Paraguayan government has already voted to allow U.S. troops into the country, which has fueled speculation that the Bush administration plans to build a military base there, hence the efforts of Evo Morales and Hugo Chávez to beef up their own military presence in the region. For years, the so-called “Triborder Area” has been viewed as a haven for terrorist money laundering. Although it is an area traditional considered virtually lawless, there is quite a lot of debate about whether the threat is being exaggerated.

Unfortunately, I think Presidents Bush and Chávez are once again stoking up unnecessary conflict.


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