Does Dubya have time to get rid of Hugo Chavez before he leaves office? Probably not -- but never fear! Both Dem candidates seem okay with the Bush policy toward Venezuela. After Colombia's recent cross-border incursion into Ecuador and Chavez' saber-rattling reaction, Obama issued a vague anti-terrorism statement, and Hillary sided strongly with our client state Colombia, while calling Chavez the provocateur. See http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/03/06/7520.
A few observations:
(1) In crossing into Ecuador to kill FARC leaders, Colombia took a page from America's pre-emptive strike doctrine. This policy, with roots in the Reagan and Clinton years (and much earlier, if you count CIA black ops), reached its zenith in Iraq. More recently, after killing Al Qaeda leaders on Pakistani soil with missiles from a pilotless drone, we sat on our hands and allowed our Turkish allies to cross into Iraq to clean out Kurdish rebels.
The Bush Doctrine effectively entitles any country in the world to send troops across its neighbors' borders to kill "terrorists." It appears to have supplanted international law and is now the established way of conducting international relations worldwide.
(2) Colombia claims to have seized notebook computers in the raid, containing evidence that FARC is being supported by Hugo Chavez, and is seeking uranium, perhaps for making a "dirty bomb" (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/world/5596097.html). By implication this makes Venezuela a state sponsor of terrorism. Recall what our policy is toward countries that harbor or support terrorists.
Doesn't this sound just the slightest bit like Saddam's Al Qaeda connections and WMD programs? Or the uranium-for-terrorism charges we're now leveling against Iran?
(3) The White House says it's "a little bit premature" to consider US military aid for Colombia in its defense against Venezuelan and Ecuadorean aggression. See http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/03/06/7520.
Stay tuned. This just might be The Next Big Thing.