Photo: Gaddafi and Chavez
As leaders all around the world side with the people of Libya and not its leader, Moammar Gaddafi, leaders in Latin American are standing by his side, and it is even rumored that Gaddafi has fled to the country of one of these colleagues.
Fidel Castro, the former Cuban dictator, has long had relations with the Libyan leader, and has even stated that it is far too early to a criticize the government in Libya. Castro has even warned of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) invasion of Libya, and said U.S. “imperialism” is behind it.
“What for me is absolutely clear is that the U.S. government is not concerned with absolute peace in Libya and will not hesitate to give NATO the order to invade this rich country, perhaps within hours or very short days, Castro wrote in his column in the state-run newspaper Granma.
In Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega – who recently had to face his own protesters – has reportedly been calling the Libyan leader and offering his support of the battle he is raging against his own people, as thousands have taken to the streets, and demand Gaddafi step down.
What surprised many, was the relative silence from Gaddafi’s long-time friend, Venezuelan President Hugó Chavez. However, Thursday, Chavez tweeted, “Viva Libya and its independence. Kadafi* is facing a civil war!!!” It was even been rumored that the close relationship between the men has sent Gaddafi into hiding in Venezuela. (Those rumors were squelched
Chavez’s neighbors however, are not as friendly with the Libyan strongman, as Peru’s President Alan García has condemned Gaddafi’s actions.
The head of the Western Hemisphere studies at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University Riordan Roett, said the group of leaders is “an old boys club. They all believe in the same stuff – that they are in power for life, that their people love them, and that the U.S. is behind all their problems.”
Analyst Ray Walser adds, “They claim that they are on the side of popular change, that they stand with the people—and yet that’s not what they’re doing.”
*Arabic translations allow for a number of spellings of the Libyan leader’s name.