November 13, 2004


Rumsfeld Meets With Central America Allies (Mark Mazzetti, November 13, 2004, LA Times)

During a one-day stop in a country to which the United States once shipped many millions of dollars' worth of weaponry, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld offered a message of disarmament.

In answer, Rumsfeld received assurances Friday from Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos that the country's stockpile of about 1,400 SA-7 surface-to-air missiles would be destroyed within 18 months and that the Central American nation expected no U.S. payment for the loss.

The elimination of the SA-7s "is the will of Nicaragua," Bolanos said during a news conference with Rumsfeld in the presidential palace here. "We seek no compensation for the destruction of the missiles."

The issue has been a source of tension between the allies as the United States pressed Bolanos' government to accelerate the elimination of its SA-7 arsenal, which originally totaled more than 2,000. Nicaragua received the Soviet weapons during the 1980s as its Sandinista government fought the U.S.-backed Contra rebels.

Most of us are old enough to remember when the unilateral war against Marxism in Central America was "unwinnable."

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 13, 2004 8:26 AM

The Sandinistas just made big gains in local elections, because of the corruption of the ruling party. Like crabgrass, all across Latin America the old Commies are making a comeback.

While we stick troops in Bosnia and Kosovo to protect Muslim terrorists, drug dealers and pimps, we've ignored Latin America, except for when we want to play 'Imperialist Gringo Bastard' and burn people's crops because our idiot population can't control it's own damn drug problem. And then we get surprised when Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador, Venezuela, and soon Peru and Nicaragua, all elect Socialists with a history of anti-Americanism, even when those Socialists like Little Danny Ortega, the Tom Daschle of Central America, and Alan Garcia, the John Lindsay of South America proved to be utter disasters themselves.

Posted by: Bart at November 13, 2004 11:02 AM

Well, it's not like those socialists are turning baack to Marx. The Brazilian guy, Lula, hasn't been all that bad so far.

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at November 13, 2004 11:43 AM

Chavez in Venezuela?

Posted by: Bart at November 13, 2004 12:07 PM

Without some external support like Cuba received from the USSR, socialists like Chavez will only worsen the economic difficulties of his electorate until he is voted out or he becomes a mini-Saddam dictator-despot and we take him out.

Posted by: Pat H at November 13, 2004 12:21 PM

Of course, this may not be that big a gift; I wouldn't be surprised if 20-year-old Russian rockets are quite unreliable. I've heard that the Stingers we sent to Afganistan were specifically tweaked to a have a 10-year-only shelf-life...

Posted by: mike earl at November 13, 2004 12:24 PM


Our own imperialistic behavior in much of Latin America will make our inevitable need to take out Chavez exponentially more difficult. I fully expect Chavez to continue modelling himself after Castro and to murder dissidents by the boatload. However, our horrible history in the region always makes the kind of regional support we need to intervene a dicey proposition at best.

I have always been interested in Latin America, but I was stunned to read about Alan Garcia's comeback in Peru. He might be the single most incompetent leader in Latin American history, and that is saying something. Yet, he is the prohibitive favorite to become the next Peruvian President. It would be like Jimmy Carter being swept back to office in a landslide here.

Posted by: Bart at November 13, 2004 4:44 PM

Not allies, clients.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at November 13, 2004 4:52 PM