Foreign Policy Blogs

FARC Trades Cocaine for Arms from Venezuela

There is evidence that FARC has been trading cocaine for arms brokered by Venezuelan middlemen, entrepreneurs who are, at the same time, supplying weapons to Mexico.

These middlemen are almost certainly motivated by greed more than ideology, but US government insiders suggest that the arms flows between Nicaragua, Venezuela, Mexico, and the FARC are, at bottom, part of a larger ideological blueprint to destablize countries already weakened by social and political unrest: for the FARC, that country is Colombia.

The United States has warned that such actions–this increase in the import and sales of weapons–might “spark an arms race in Latin America,” but the fear must certainly be much broader than that.

What US policymakers should dread is another scenario, one in which the steady sale of arms to Venezuela from Russia, Iran, China, and Cuba–and the willingness of both Venezuela (Russian and Chinese arms) and Nicaragua (US-manufactured weapons) to resell firepower to criminal or insurgent elements throughout South and Central America (Mexico being the prize)–someday allows Chavez and Ortega to realize a common ambition: power over a Socialist Empire  encompassing the greater part of  Central and South America.

On April 5, 2010, Congressman Connie Mack (FL-14), the Ranking Republican of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, blasted Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for completing another $5 billion arms deal the day before.

Mack said:

“This isn’t the first arms deal between the two countries, and I doubt it will be the last. Since 2005, Venezuela has purchased $4 billion worth of Russian arms, including assault rifles, helicopters and fighter-bombers.”

Mack continued, “This deal is another example of Hugo Chavez’s dangerous alliances with the thugocrats of the world and other enemies of freedom like Iran and Cuba.”



Kathleen Millar

Kathleen Millar began her career in public affairs working for Lyn Nofziger, White House Communications Director. She has gone on to write about a wide range of enforcement and security issues for DHS, for the US Department of the Treasury (Customs & Border Patrol), for Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), then a Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and for top law enforcement officials in the United States and abroad.

A Founding Member of the Department of Homeland Security, Millar was also the deputy spokesperson-senior writer for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, Austria. She has authored numerous speeches, articles and opeds under her own and client bylines, and her work, focusing on trafficking, terrorism, border and national security, has appeared in both national and international outlets, including The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Financial Times, and Vital Speeches of the Day.

Kathleen Millar holds an MA from Georgetown University and was the recipient of a United Nations Fellowship, International Affairs, Oxford. She is a member of the Georgetown University Alumni Association, Women in International Security (GU), the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, and the American News Women’s Club in Washington, DC. Kathleen Millar is currently teaching and writing about efforts to combat transnational organized crime.