Investor's Business Daily highlights the very problematic private South American diplomatic initiative of Bill Richardson, who has endorse Barack Obama and is generally considered as a possible running mate on the Democrats' ticket, or perhaps a Secretary of State in an Obama Administration.
Ostensibly he is seeking release of several hostages being held by the FARC guerillas in Colombia's jungle. But, against the wishes of the Colombian government, a democratic ally of the United States led by very popular President Uribe, Richardson is insisting on meeting with Venezuela's Marxist dictator wannabe, Hugo Chavez.IBD writes:
Winning the release of U.S. hostages held for five years in Colombia's jungle would demonstrate his diplomatic chops. But because Richardson insists on meeting with Venezuelan dictator Chavez, it also might not be in America's or Colombia's interests. [....]
Colombia President Alvaro Uribe declared over the weekend that Chavez had no place in the mediation of hostage releases. But Richardson insisted on meeting him anyway, and then publicly declared that Chavez "can have a role."
Such disrespect for Colombia raises questions about the governor's judgment and, worse still, what he might have offered Chavez and FARC in behalf of a future U.S. administration.
It's not that Chavez can't win the release of the hostages. Despite his denials, he's likely in touch with, among others, FARC's Ivan Marquez, who reportedly lives in Venezuela.
Chavez is also in a position to shut down FARC by destroying its bases in Venezuela and ending its drug-trade flyovers. So his leverage over the terrorists is huge. Only a naif, however, would imagine Chavez gives such things away to ambitious Americans for free.
Most likely, Chavez will exact policy changes from Richardson that American voters won't know about until Obama gets elected.
What is Richardson offering in exchange for U.S. hostages?
What indeed? It is time for Barack Obama to address US policy toward Colombia and Venezuela. Is Richardson part of his shadow cabinet and acting on his behalf?
Recall that captured documents indicate that the FARC narcoterrorists have met with someone they consider to be a representative of Obama. It would behoove Richardson to be very careful about whom he talks to.
Ed Morrissey of Hotair.com notices
something equally bizarre about Richardson's visit: he seems to bring back Hugo Chavez's endorsement of Obama.
Bill Richardson brings all the campaign talent to Team Obama that took him from the most-experienced candidate to an embarrassing also-ran. In this clip, Richardson works his magic on several topics. He keeps emphasizing that Barack Obama is "bringing people together", a "fresh voice", and "change" - but he can't offer any specifics about any of those qualities. But when he talks about Obama's foreign policy, Richardson really hits bottom:
"We're going to need to see who is going to be the strongest candidate against Senator McCain. And I believe that is Senator Obama with his emphasis on change and bringing people together, a fresh voice internationally, somebody that is able, in my judgment..to bring.... at least I just got back from Latin America, from Venezuela, where he has enormous support, where people really want to see a change in American foreign policy and they see Obama as that agent of change."
Yes, you read that correctly. Richardson went to Venezuela to work on gaining the release of American hostages taken by FARC, the Colombian terrorists who have received material support from Venezuelan wannabe dictator Hugo Chavez. When Richardson speaks about Venezuelans who want to see a change in American foreign policy, one has to remember that the only Venezuelans Richardson meets are Chavez and his regime's diplomats. Richardson certainly isn't meeting with Venezuelan dissidents while trying to wheedle Chavez into getting his terrorist supporters to release the three Americans.