In an ever more common occurrence, today a plane with a cargo of cocaine, crashed in Honduras. Most of the drug perished in the incident, together with the unfortunate pilot. In a similar incident a year-and-a-half ago, a plane crash-landed into a banana plantation where cars were waiting to usher the drug cargo and the crew away. Both planes came from Venezuela.
Why would planes carrying cocaine take off from Venezuela and crash land in Honduras? Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is an active supporter of the Colombian guerrila group FARC, whose ties with the narcos are blurred to the vanishing point. Both countries have substantial rain forests and areas far from the scrutiny of the US government. Both are in line with the supply routes from South America, to the principal drug market, the USA. Both countries are led by people who have political predilection for leftist groups. The Honduran president even made a public statement saying that it was more practical to rehabilitate drug users than fight the narcos, whose pockets were deeper than the taxpayers’, and even suggested drugs should be legalized, before retracting his statements. Chávez is a self-confessed coca user.
Wars by proxy function by weakening the enemy indirectly, often by making them spend themselves into collapse. The nuclear arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States is an example. I believe the Iraq war was also a proxy war, to keep the radical islamists (i.e. Iran) busy in Iraq and not in Israel, or worse, in the US. Is Chávez is using the same tactics against the US by fueling the Narcos’ ongoing battle? The US is in no position to spend more, neither is Mexico, nor any country in the drug corridor. If this is indeed his strategy, it is genius, and is already succeeding wildly, to the detriment of the hundreds of millions of people between the warring states, the Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Honduras, Nicaraguans, Costa Ricans and Panamanians.
Image by Kyle May, used with a Creative Commons license