Weekly Standard | 6/25/2010 12:00:00 AM
Chávez Loses in Colombia
June 25--The election of Juan Manuel Santos was a rebuke to the Venezuelan dictator.
Always eager to meddle in foreign elections, Chávez had strongly criticized Santos during the campaign, calling him a “threat to the region” and warning that “he could cause a war in this part of the world, upon instructions from the Yankees.” On April 25, the Venezuelan dictator said that, while Santos was “trying to dress as Little Red Riding Hood,” he was actually “a wolf sent to bomb and invade Ecuador,” referring to a 2008 Colombian military operation undertaken while Santos was serving as defense minister. (That operation crossed into Ecuadorean territory, but it resulted in the death of Raúl Reyes, a leading narco-terrorist who had long menaced Colombia by orchestrating kidnappings, bombings, and assassinations.)
Chávez had hoped to dissuade Colombians from electing a conservative security hawk. Yet his remarks backfired completely. Prior to his clumsy intervention in the campaign, Santos and Mockus were running neck and neck in the polls. Some analysts even believed the Green Party candidate might secure a majority in the first round of voting on May 30, and thereby win election. But Chávez proved to be a “game-changer.” His attacks on Santos reminded Colombians of the radical autocracy that sits next door—a government that has sponsored drug-trafficking terrorists in Colombia, has massed troops along the border, and has repeatedly raised the possibility of war.
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