Via Fausta Wertz, we receive the ominous information that the Russian navy is holding joint exercises with the Venezuelans in the Carribean Ocean:
The exercises coincide with a visit to Caracas by the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, who is due in Venezuela on Wednesday, and are illustration of how close military ties between the two countries have grown in recent years.
Between 2005 and 2007, Venezuela spent around $4bn (£2.6bn) on military equipment - most of it from Russia.
But the Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Riabkov, said suggestions in the media that the naval exercises signal a return to Cold War politics in Latin America were misguided.
“There is no geo-political connotation whatsoever,” he told the BBC.
While the Russian government has been playing down any political dimension to the training, the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, has been doing just the opposite.
In recent speeches, he has referred to Venezuela’s “strategic partnership” with Russia and said the military ties were part of building a more “multi-polar world”.
Fausta also reports that some analysts see this move from Russia - a move that worries next door Colombia who fears an arms race with Venezuela - as something of a bluff given the poor state of the Russian economy:
Bluff or not, make no mistake: these visits and military maneuvers were timed to coincide with the US election and transition period, and also with the holiday weekend.
Another test for Obama? Russia and Venezuela have made noises about forming a "natural gas OPEC" that would set prices throughout most of the world. It is unlikely now that gas prices have dropped through the floor but bears watching nonetheless.