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The Dissolution of the Axis of Evil and Other Naughty Neighbours

FARC rebels. (AP/Scott Dalton)

The last few days have been remarkable in the eyes of many in the West who see certain countries or rebel groups as the main source of conflict internationally. Despite Iran pushing against Israel and the US over its nuclear program, and Syrian rebels being crushed in Homs, the last few days resulted in North Korea renouncing its nuclear weapons program and the FARC in Colombia announcing they will no longer use kidnapping as a funding/terror source and will release the last remaining hostages, some being held for over fourteen years. These announcements came with Hugo Chavez struggling to keep healthy and possibly privately considering stepping down as President of Venezuela despite reporting he is recovering from cancer. While these announcements are certainly positive for the US and its allies, the result of diplomacy and armed intervention seems to have made a difference in North Korea and Colombia, but issues still exist of course.

Considering the influence Hugo Chavez has had on leftists in Latin America as well as abroad, the loss of President Chavez would certainly have a noted absence for the leftist movements in the region. While issues close to the hearts of leftists would not disappear, the voice of many of their causes would lose its most principal and known advocate in Latin America. With inequality still a major issue in the region and poverty an irresolvable issue, corruption and dignity will continue to clash in a region that has one of the largest disparities in income globally. Realistically, those who have experienced cancer in their lives or with relatives and friends know that aggressive treatment is not always successful and strength as well as luck is sometimes not enough. Despite this, Hugo Chavez has chosen to fight his illness as he has his opponents and this might make the difference in the end for his own personal health.

North Korea recently inherited a new leader in Kim Jong-un. No one really knows where Kim Jong-un will take North Korea, but what is known is that generals and officials in the country who worked under his father have a great deal of control and influence over the new young leader. Recently someone in North Korea’s top brass decided they are renouncing their nuclear weapons program. While this has happened in the past without a true reduction or stop to it’s nuclear program, it is hoped that this will not be the case this time. Like North Korea, Colombia’s FARC also announced they would stop kidnapping as a means of funding/terror. The last few years the FARC have been stripped of much of their leadership resulting from a combined and coordinated assault on their forces and means of conducting combat by the Colombian government. While there are still many violent attacks on Colombian society by the FARC and in the past offers to end kidnapping failed, the recent announcement is thought to be a move that may lead to a future peace talks between the government and the FARC. Despite reservations on North Korea and the FARC, these two new developments are still positive and welcomed for those in the West and in Colombia.

 
  • Reg

    Thank you for being optimistic. We need a healthy dose of optimism during these trying times. But are you not just a little bit skeptical about the North Koreans, FARC and Chaves? Actions speak louder than words.

    • Richard Basas

      Good Day,

      Thanks for your comments. I do not believe I am being too optimistic or skeptical, as my opinions are based on realistic expectations considering the history and attitudes of many of these countries. It may not occur, but there is a possibility it will. Regarding North Korea, in the past they announced the same, and then went the other way to push through their nuclear programs after announcing its end. This also occured with the FARC who announced in the 80s that kidnapping would end, and then went on to use it intensely since then. With Chavez, just from those I’ve known who have dealt with Cancer and the lack of info. on what is actually occuring to him in Venezuela, I do not think he is very healthy and there is certainly those who could do his job, but maybe not as effectively as they are not as popular as Hugo Chavez. If you read the articles linked to the blog post it goes into these issues in more depth.

      • Thessa

        Thank you i enjoyed this article…..

        • Richard Basas

          You are very welcome!

Author

Richard Basas
Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration

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