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Beret lieutenant colonel, Gordon Cucullu is now an editorialist,
author and a popular speaker. Born into a military
family, he lived and served for more than thirteen years in East
Asia, including eight years in Korea. For his Special Forces
service in Vietnam he was awarded a Bronze Star, Vietnamese Cross
of Gallantry, and the Presidential Unit Commendation. After separation
from the Army, he worked on Korea and East Asian affairs at both
the Pentagon and Department of State as well as an executive
for General Electric in Korea. His first major non-fiction work,
at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin, is
based in large part on his extensive experience in
Korea and East Asia as a governmental insider and businessman.
[go to Cucullu index]
and North Korea Connect
Expansion for the Axis of Evil?
[Gordon Cucullu] 5/12/05
Korea playing dangerous games in America’s back yard
it is time that we begin to deal with an emerging rogue regime.
In what looks suspiciously
like an extension of the Axis of Evil into the Western Hemisphere,
confirmed reports note that Venezuela dictator wannabe Hugo Chavez
is cozying up to North Korean representatives. Chavez, long time
admirer of Fidel Castro is rapidly dragging his country into
the throes of a modern Marxist dictatorship. Even more the tragedy
in that Venezuela had long been a budding democracy in South
America. Chavez, elected in a contentious time, deliberately
dismantled democratic institutions, cemented his authority, and
then began systematically to eliminate the opposition.
Earlier this year
massive street demonstrations forced a recall election. People
were out in force demanding an end to Chavez’s
encroaching tyranny and a return to free, honest, and open government.
In what can only be acutely embarrassing for most Americans who
love freedom, former President and self-appointed scold Jimmy
Carter went to Venezuela to ‘monitor’ the recall
election. Allowing himself to be set up by the Chavez camp so
that he only interviewed the dictator’s supporters, Carter
then astounding gave his stamp of approval to what most observers
proclaimed to be a blatantly rigged election. The opposition
party had been preparing to go back out on the streets to demand
that Chavez step down and a free presidential election be held.
There is a good chance
that American and Organization of American States support for
such a move might have changed Venezuela back
into a legitimate democracy. But the opposition – stunned
by Carter’s irrational pronouncement - fell into disarray.
It was a tragedy for the people of Venezuela but also for America
and other countries in the hemisphere. With Carter’s imprimatur
in his back pocket, Chavez then cracked down even harder on the
democratic opposition, plunging Venezuela deeper into authoritarian
Chavez has delusions
of grandeur that to go hand in glove with dictatorship. He
envisions himself as ruler of a ‘super-state’ that
traverses Latin America from Atlantic to Pacific. A quick glance
at the map shows that in order for that trick to happen it will
mean annexation of some or all of Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, and
Chile. No man of little ambitions is Chavez. His Cuban pal and
mentor Fidel Castro is, of course, thrilled. America and our
allies now have to deal with another communist megalomaniac in
the Western Hemisphere. Castro with his proclivity for basing
Soviet missiles, gross human rights violations, and international
export of revolution has been bad enough. At least all Castro
holds over us economically is sugar. Chavez, on the other hand,
is sitting on some of the largest producing petroleum wells in
the world. And we in America are deeply tied to Venezuelan oil.
Now that Chavez feels confident and secure in his position he
has embarked on the mission that tin-pot dictators usually do:
building up his military capability to threaten his neighbors.
And of course he has sufficient petrodollars to allow him to
do exactly what he intends. The Russians are first in the queue.
Although no longer strict communists Russia seems unable to resist
the temptation to support these aberrant enemies of America.
They plan to sell Chavez a squadron of highly advanced MiG-29
fighter aircraft. Along with this are an expected shipment of
100,000 Russian manufactured AK-47 assault rifles and assorted
weapons such as light machine guns and rocket propelled grenades.
The usual weapons of choice for terrorist movements around the
The reasons for these
acquisitions are no mystery: Chavez intends to stir up big
trouble. He is actively assisting the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the narco-terrorists and anti-government
guerrillas who make their living in the cocaine business. FARC
leaders are eager to ally with someone like Chavez. They know
the Venezuelan dictator will support them in overthrowing the
legitimately elected but beleaguered Colombian government. Beyond
these immediate regional ambitions there can be no doubt that
Chavez is itching for a chance to take on the United States.
Not directly – at least not at first – but in an
alliance that will see him use oil, terror threats, and narcotics
subversion to weaken America’s regional influence.
Even more troubling
than Russian intervention, recent reports indicate that a North
Korean military sales delegation has visited
Caracas with the intention of selling Chavez intermediate range
ballistic missiles. With an economy solidly in the tank, the
North Koreans have few items of interest in the export market.
The Kim Jong Il regime has focused on counterfeit US $100 bills,
manufacture and sale of illegal narcotics (heroin and crystal
meth), slave labor, trafficking in human beings, research into
nuclear and chemical weapons, and manufacture and sale of missiles.
North Korea is so cash poor that Kim would agree to strap his
grandmother to one of the rockets and ship her over if that meant
more spending money in his ‘extra big in the butt’ jeans.
With oil prices spiking
Chavez has the petrodollars to purchase just about anything
he wants from North Korea and would likely
be interested in acting as a broker for wholesale heroin to distribute
into North American markets. He can take advantage of the distribution
lines that his friends in FARC have established to implement
such a strategy. Chavez figures that fighting in Afghanistan,
Iraq, and elsewhere has so preoccupied and distracted American
policymakers that he will be able to pull this deal off under
the radar. But presence of a new dictatorial regime armed with
high performance aircraft and missiles capable of threatening
almost every major city in the hemisphere is completely unacceptable.
As petty tyrants are wont to do, Chavez has ‘misunderestimated’ America
and President Bush. The US and our hemispheric allies have too
much at stake to permit this cancer to grow unchecked. Watch
for a new front to open in the war on terror. tRO
about North Korea? Learn more in Gordon’s
best-selling book Separated
at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin became
the Evil Twin, Lyons Press available at bookstores now.
Gordon Cucullu 2005