After Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez’s defense of “his friend” Gaddafi yesterday, it may be worth considering just how long and deep their friendship is. Since the 1970’s there was a strategy among the revolutionary left in Venezuela to infiltrate the armed forces as a way to power. On January 21, 1991, the UN Security Council condemned Libya for its part in the bombing of the airplane over Lockerbie in Scotland. On February 27, 1991, Colonel Chávez led an unsuccessful coup attempt in Venezuela. On March 31, 1991, the UN Security Council passed an arms embargo and travel ban on Libya, under the chairmanship of Venezuela’s ambassador to the UN, Diego Arria.
The resolution specifically called for Libya to stop supporting terrorism, which Gaddafi refused until 2001. Returning to Venezuela, Chávez was sworn in as democratically elected president in 1999.
Both Libya and Venezuela are oil-producing nations which, under Gaddafi and Chávez respectively, have been very generous in donating money to groups and governments that are solidly anti-USA. This has been more important for them than the well-being of their own people. Sure, Chávez has thrown some crumbles to the poor, to keep up a base of support, which has not been very expensive to buy considering the poverty that existed (and let this be a warning to other democracies: Having a big social gap is a security threat!). But the big money has gone abroad, and into Chávez’s own pockets.
It is not far-fetched to suspect that Gaddafi was helping the terrorist revolutionaries in Venezuela. Nor is it far-fetched to suspect that he in some way encouraged Chávez’s military coup d’état attempt in 1992. If he did, then of course Hugo Chávez would be reluctant to turn against him in this situation. It would, in my opinion, explain his words, and the way he has used his propaganda-TV-channel TeleSur, which has traveled around in Libya in Venezuelan diplomatic cars during this conflict, spreading pro-Gaddafi propaganda in Latin America.