Gracing the pages of various Spanish-language newspapers yesterday and today is an article entitled “Bin Laden in Latin America”. Written by exiled Cuban columnist and author Carlos Alberto Montaner, whose claims to fame include referring to Eduardo Galeano’s acclaimed Open Veins of Latin America as “the idiot’s bible”, it might be more appropriately titled “The idiot’s attempt to turn Hugo Chávez into bin Laden by way of an irrelevant Ethiopian”.
The article begins with the announcement that an Ethiopian terrorist engaged in the trafficking of illegal immigrants was captured in Ecuador and deported to the United States in March. Montaner himself states in the first paragraph that the man’s ties to Al Qaeda have not been confirmed, but declares in the second that the purpose of said trafficking was presumably to raise funds for the organization and to construct networks of potential collaborators.
Via this introduction, we somehow arrive at the revelation that the president of Venezuela is “an accomplice of all extremist and fanatically Islamic causes, including Al Qaeda”, though Montaner refrains from explaining whether the expulsion from Caracas of Israeli diplomatic personnel in response to massacres in Gaza qualifies as fanatical complicity. Montaner asserts that the reason for Chávez’ pro-extremist behavior is “not at all clear” but promptly goes on to state, quite clearly, that the Venezuelan leader—plus his counterparts in Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia—perceive Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah “as allies because they believe they have a common enemy: north American imperialism”.
The conclusion of Montaner’s slop is that chavismo is in fact more of a threat to the U.S. than radical Islam because “if the Americans withdraw from the Middle East, it is likely that the Islamists will gradually abandon anti-Americanism, whereas according to Chávez’ vision no victory is final without the destruction of the U.S.”.
His vacuous parting thought—that bin Laden and “Chávez and his gang” are “strange bedfellows”—meanwhile fails to take into account the appearance of stranger bedfellows throughout history, or the possibility that Montaner’s own reported ties to the CIA might have produced a more introspective article than “Bin Laden in Latin America”, such as “Bin Laden in my bed”.