January 12, 2006
Hugo Chavez criticized the U.S. government for, he says, blocking a sale of EMBRAER military aircraft made in Brazil. He elaborated:
It's the same with the F-16s; they deny us maintenance to improve them, delay the spare parts. But we are not worried. We've sent a commission to Moscow, and if we have to replace the F-16 fleet with a fleet of new MiGs, then we will. SOURCE: CNN.com
That's the same song and dance Peru went through in the 1970s, when a leftist military government ruled there. The generals bought hundreds of Soviet T-55 tanks, armored troop carriers, and dozens of Su-22 supersonic attack jets, among other goodies. Result: Increased regional tensions with Chile and Ecuador, depleted regular armed forces that might have fought the then-nascent Shining Path terrorist group, and billions of dollars of increased foreign debt that Peru could not afford, and which were ultimately defaulted.
While in South Africa, having completed his tour of European capitals, President-elect Evo Morales declared that his government will buy out foreign shares of Bolivia's petroleum and natural gas reserves. Pipelines and refineries would remain in foreign hands, however. See Washington Post. We should expect more such mixed messages as the new leader tries to balance living up to his campaign pledges against the realities of world markets.
Nationalizing the oil industry is the same song and dance Peru went through in the [late 1960s], when a leftist military government [began ruling] there. The attempt to minimize economic (trade) dependency on the outside world backfired, as the financing required to make the purchase saddled Peru with billions of dollars of increased foreign debt that Peru could not afford, and which were ultimately defaulted. (Sound familiar?)
Is it any wonder I call Latin America "The Land of Eternal Eternity"? It often seems that nothing much really changes.