Okay, so we all know about the Human Rights Watch folks getting kicked out of Venezuela. Apparently there were 'meddling' in Venezuelan affairs.
Um... So a few folks from this organization go to Caracas and hold a press conference and say that human rights in Venezuela are slowly deteriorating due to Chavez heavy handed ways, and they are removed from the country.
That's far more innocent than the revelations about the Venezuelan government connections to the FARC found on the now famous laptop computer taken from the Ecuadorian encampment of the FARC by Colombian troops. I guess that's not 'meddling' in the affairs of Colombia.
Or the revelations coming to light in the 'maletagate' (suitcase-gate) case in Miami where Venezuelans were detained in Argentina with a suitcase of $800,000 (and reportedly millions more that went unfound) bound for the presidential campaign of Cristina Kirchner. Nope, that's not meddling either. That's just good old graft.
Nor the money funneled to Daniel Ortega's presidential campaign in Nicaragua, or to similar efforts in Peru, Ecuador, or Bolivia to name a few. Nope, these aren't meddling in affairs. Not at all. These are just good business.
Aside - I wonder if Chavez has attempted to funnel money to Barack Obama's campaign fund. I'm sure that it would be easier to do up here, don't even have to try to sneak a suitcase full of money into the country. In no way am I making an accusation, just would be very curious to know if an attempt has been made, and by which means.
Chavez loves to use the word 'imperialist' in reference to the US. In effect, he's setting up his own empire in Latin America by selling oil to nations in the region at a preferential rate, financing guerrilla groups in countries that oppose him, pledging troops to places like Bolivia where uprisings are threatening the presidency of Chavez' puppet Evo Morales, and on, and on, and on. Chavez isn't building his empire by war, he's building it by rhetoric, and money. Money talks loudly in Latin America. Always has, and always will.
For instance, in Nicaragua, Venezuelan aid has gone missing. Suspicion is that it has gone into President Ortega's coffers someplace. Even Ortega himself doesn't know exactly how much his country has received from Venezuela. On may he said it was over $500 million. Someone must have told him that over half that had been siphoned off into his own personal bank accounts, because in July, the amount he reported in a speech with Chavez by his said dropped to just over $200 million. Regardless, the aid isn't showing up in the Nicaraguan budget, leading some to think it's going directly to President Ortega.