Following in Fidel's footsteps
Following in Fidel's footsteps
photo by Carlosar via Wikimedia Commons

Venezuelan Missile Crisis? Chavez Letting Iran Build Rockets on Coast, German Paper Says

Stop us if this sounds familiar: An antagonistic South American strongman invites one of America's worst enemies to build long-range missiles in his country, sending the region -- and damn near the world -- to the brink.

Hugo Chavez apparently would love nothing more than to follow his buddy Fidel down that path. A German newspaper is reporting that Chavez has invited Iranian engineers to start work on a missile base on the Caribbean coast with 20-meter-deep rocket silos. Eeep!


The report by Die Welt, a major Berlin-based daily, cites "Western security sources" in writing that Chavez secretly met in February with the chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Air Force, Amir al-Hadschisadeh.

The pair finalized a location for the missile base, Die Welt says, on the Peninsula de Paraguana, a jut of land 120 kilometers from the Colombian border. Engineers from the Iranian state-owned construction agency, Khatam al-Anbia, have begun preliminary work on the base.

It's worth noting that most experts believe the base is a bid to make a rudimentary missile defense system for Caracas, and -- unlike Fidel's tet-a-tet with the Soviets -- there won't be any nukes involved. (Neither Venezuela nor Iran have nuclear technology just yet, though Iran is trying.)

Also, Iran's longest missiles can travel about 1500 km -- still short of Miami, which is more than 2,000 kilometers from Venezuela's coast.

But how can you not feel a little queasy at the idea of Mahmood Ahmadinejad building missiles that close to the U.S. -- not to mention our own front yards here in the Magic City?

Let's hope Obama can find a less exciting way to resolve this business than JFK.

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