Lula and Chávez Outdo Themselves
Chronicles of hypocrisy.
8:40 AM, Apr 19, 2010 • By JAIME DAREMBLUM
Last week, U.S. and Brazilian officials signed a defense pact that will significantly enhance bilateral military ties. “This agreement will lead to a deepening of U.S.-Brazil defense cooperation at all levels,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared. While the agreement does not explicitly discuss U.S. access to Brazilian bases, it does mention naval visits. I would not be surprised if it eventually led to some form of U.S. military presence in Brazil.
Why do I bring this up? Well, thus far, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez and his populist allies have been utterly silent about the U.S.-Brazil accord. No angry criticisms of U.S. militarism or imperialism. No fierce condemnations of Brazilian president Lula da Silva. No ominous statements about “the winds of war.” Last year, however, Chávez and friends flew into a belligerent rage when the U.S. signed a defense pact with Colombia. The Venezuelan leader bellowed that “Colombia runs the risk of being isolated in this continent,” warning that the U.S.-Colombia military arrangement “could turn into a tragedy.” Even Lula said that “an American base in Colombia doesn’t please me,” and he called President Obama to voice his concerns.
Jaime Daremblum is director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the Hudson Institute.