Don’t worry, it’s just for the drug war

Last month, the U.S. denied that they were setting up military bases in Colombia, claiming that the new arrangement to lease up to seven military bases in Colombia was simply for “fighting drug traffickers.”

This didn’t pass the smell test for Venezuela’s Chavez and Bolivia’s Morales, who were concerned about having these military bases in their back yards.

Now Evo Morales has announced that Bolivia plans to buy six military aircraft “to fight drug traffickers.”

“Last week we issued a supreme decree to … acquire six K-8 aircraft from China,” said Morales in a speech in La Paz to mark the 52nd anniversary of the Bolivian Air Force.

“The aircraft purchase is aimed at the fight against drug trafficking and not … any arms race,” he added.

This, after the U.S. blocked them from purchasing Czech planes.


Morales’ main regional ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, is also buying Chinese K-8 to be used to pursue cocaine flights. They replace a purchase of Brazilian Super Tucanos blocked by a US arms embargo.

Sure is handy to have that drug war, isn’t it?

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8 Responses to Don’t worry, it’s just for the drug war

  1. paul says:

    I’m not really sure what Chavez and Morales think they are doing. Obviously it is not for the drug war, but what do they imagine they are going to do with those planes in South America? Start a war with a neighbor? Can’t see that going very far.

    Probably just to show off and take their buddies for rides. Or maybe to show they could buy the planes when the U.S. government managed to block the other sales.

  2. jackl says:

    I don’t think its sabre rattling by one South American neighbor against another so much as it’s a large part of South America collectively thumbing its nose at the US.

    It appears to be more a slap at the US “Military-Industrial-Political” hegemony, similar to what say, Russia is doing with respect to Europe and NATO, by pushing back and saying “if we don’t like the strings attached to alliances with the US, we can just go and buy the planes from a competitor, like China. That will send a message.”

    Very similar to some of the realignments going on in Europe with US missiles in the Czech Republic and Poland and whether they were really pointed at Moscow or Teheran.

    Keep in mind too that Morales’ drug policy that he would use these planes to enforce is quite different than the US: particularly in that it would not criminalize the coca leaves grown and chewed traditionally by the “cocolero” peasants he represents; they agree with the US drug policy nominally only when it comes to powder cocaine processing and trafficing.

    Obviously, Morales and the hawkish US drug enforcement organs don’t exactly see eye to eye, even without the “socialism” of Venezuela and Bolivia being an obvious conversation stopper for all those diplomats and spooks.

  3. Nick Zentor says:

    I can see the Washington Post headlines now: “Bolivia and Venezuela furthers Anti-democratic Socialist Forces in Latin America” … and later, after the US-DEA provokes some kind of face-off, “Socialist Military Regimes in S.A. Provoke US Allies in Colombia”

    Swell. Hopefully, by then no American in their right mind will believe anything the Propaganda Media says. But don’t count on it.

  4. ezrydn says:

    Has anyone taken the time to look at China’s K-8 aircraft? It’s not much different from the aircraft used by Canada’s Snowbirds Aerobatic Team. I seriously doubt any of our aircraft would have any concerns about confronting it.

  5. Cliff says:

    “It’s not much different from the aircraft used by Canada’s Snowbirds Aerobatic Team. I seriously doubt any of our aircraft would have any concerns about confronting it.”


    I doubt that there are any designs for a toe to toe engagement against US fighter aircraft. I would say it is Venezuela flipping the US the finger and daring some kind of confrontation in their airspace under the same pretext of our war on certain drugs, to rub our (the US’s) nose in it.

    Frankly, I can see this as a very shrewd strategic effort on the part of the Chinese. The Russians tried to intimidate the US by placing nuclear missles in Cuba and arming the Sandinistas and the various rebel insurgents in South America. This was in response to the fact that the US had nuclear missiles in Turkey and our involvement with election fixing and outright revolutions right in the Warsaw Pact nations.

    The Chinese have learned from the Russians and are using Sun Tsu’s “The Art of War” like a playbook, while we’re playing x-box and playstation.

    Meanwhile, the US is going broke and the Communist Chinese have sold us the rope which the US will use to hang itself. I say this with utter disgust. I am a veteran and I proudly served the ideal of America as a land of freedom, liberty and opportunity. However, I am having a harder and harder time squaring my life and the manner in which I try to conduct myself with the way our United States have treated other sovereign nations in my life time and in my name.

  6. paul says:

    Oh, I don’t know. The Chinese are not communists any more. It is more like a state-controlled capitalism/robber baron situation right now. I don’t think they sold those planes to Venezuela for strategic purposes. They sold them to make money.

    The United States has certainly mistreated other nations during the course of our soft empire building, but I’ve never much cared about concepts of sovereignty because it is people who matter to me, not states.

    Libya, for example, is run by a certified kook with an iron fist. If we bombed his house and scored a hit this time around, we would have complete violated Libya’s sovereignty but done the people of his country a really big favor. They may not thank us at first, but they would be secretly relieved.

    And we’ll see just who was the bigger fool–America for borrowing all that money, or China for lending it to us.

  7. The drive for independence from the USA – and the World Bank – seems strong in South America. They’re probably just trying to buddy up with the Chinese for that reason and to spite the US.

    Quite a few SA countries are now involved with their own mutual banking system, because they feel the world bank is somewhat imperialistic and controlled by the USA. As such it doesn’t really matter much whether that’s true in any absolute sense. I wouldn’t alway suspect that such very socialist regimes understand economic theory all that well.

  8. BruceM says:

    It will be funny if/when Iran and North Korea catch on to this. “We’re just developing nuclear weapons and ICBMs to help fight the drug war.”

    What can america possibly say to that? It’s true, too – eliminating Americans in a nuclear holocaust will most certainly significantly decrease the demand-side of the global drug market.

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