Douglas MacKinnon

Late last year, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez attacked me by name on his national television program. He said I was a spy for the CIA getting paid to orchestrate a propaganda campaign designed to hurt his re-election chances this December.

In reality, I’m nothing more than a private citizen married to a Venezuelan, and deeply worried about the massive militarization of Venezuela and the non-stop courting by Chavez of terrorist leaders around the world.

With those worries in mind, last Wednesday evening I turned on C-SPAN to watch a debate on the floor of the House of Representatives with regard to Chavez, terrorism, drugs and airport security. To my horror, as a native of Massachusetts, I watched as Rep. William Delahunt went out of his way to deflect attention from Chavez, his terrorist leanings and his intentions to do great harm to the United States.

Like Bolshevik revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, Chavez has assembled his own collection of “useful idiots” here in the United States. However, as I watched Delahunt wax on in his defense of Chavez, I realized that he had gone from being a tool of Chavez to an apologist for a man the opposition in Venezuela, and many in our own government, consider on par with the likes of Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il of North Korea and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.

The latter two, who, as I write this, Chavez is flying to meet.

Many I have spoken with in our government, including career diplomats, consider Chavez to be ultimately a greater threat to the national security of the United States than Osama bin Laden or any terrorist group operating out of the Middle East. Having been in Venezuela many times and having met with the opposition leaders in that country, I strongly agree with that assessment.

Again, as I write this, Chavez has just finalized a $3 billion deal with Moscow to buy 24 fighter jets and 53 attack helicopters, Russian submarines, add to the 100,000 AK-103 Kalashnikov machine guns he has already purchased, and to have the Russians build him a Kalashnikov factory in Venezuela so he can manufacture his own weapons.

But, what’s that to Delahunt as long as he gets to do photo-ops delivering “cheap” Venezuelan oil to the poor of Massachusetts.

Just as I’m assuming Delahunt had no problem with Chavez hosting the president of Iran in Caracas last year, where, on the agenda, was the topic of “introducing nuclear elements” into Venezuela. While Chavez says he only wants nuclear reactors from Iran, many experts fear he is trying to import Iranian missile technology and, potentially, weapons grade uranium. All of this, a mere two-and-a-half-hours south of Miami by jet.

Douglas MacKinnon

Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of The Secessionist States of America. (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014)

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