Chavismo without Chavez: Challenges for Regional and National Security


The Center for Security Policy’s Menges Hemispheric Security Project’s
Third Annual Symposium on Latin America:

Chavismo without Chavez | Anticipated Challenges for Regional and U.S. National Security
Capitol Visitors Center, Washington DC
North Congressional Meeting Room, House Side

Panel 1

  • Luis Fleischman, PhD, Senior Adviser to the Menges Hemispheric Security Project, Adjunct Professor at the FAU Wilkes Honors College, and author of the upcoming book, Latin America in the Post-Chavez Era. Topic: The Venezuelan Regime as is likely after Chavez and how Chavismo operates on a regional level as well as how Brazil and Argentina have responded.
  • Jon Perdue, Director of Latin American Programs at the Fund for American Studies and author of War of All the People: the Nexus of Latin American Radicalism and Middle Eastern Terrorism. Topic: Asymmetric Warfare as carried out by the Bolivarian Revolution and its implications for regional and U.S. national security.
  • Martin Rodil, Senior Policy Analyst, Vision Americas. Topic: Iranian Activities inside Venezuela and the Alba Countries
  • Moderator: Frank Gaffney, President and CEO, the Center for Security Policy

Panel 2

  • Douglas Farah, Senior Fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, president of IBI Consultants and former investigative reporter and foreign correspondent for the Washington Post. Topic: The connections to the Bolivarian revolution of Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina in relation to the trafficking of drugs.
  • Michael Braun, Former Assistant Administrator and Chief of Operations, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Topic: Hezbollah-Iran’s Most Important Proxy; Venezuela’s Most Important Criminal Partner.
  • Roger Noriega, former Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere and President of Vision Americas. Topic: The Impact of the Venezuelan Narco-terrorist State on Latin America and U.S. National Security
  • Moderator: Frank Gaffney, President and CEO, the Center for Security Policy

Whether liked or despised, Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez was a transformative figure.

During his fourteen years in power he changed Venezuela from a poor country with democratic institutions, a rule of law and freedom of the press to an even poorer country with a quasi-dictatorship, no rule of law and no freedom of the press. Unlike his soul mates, the Castro brothers in Cuba, Chavez was able to use his country’s vast oil wealth to spread his Bolivarian revolution to other countries in Latin America by influencing their elections and building loyalty amongst segments of their populations. As a result, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua are firmly in the Chavez camp with Argentina now strongly leaning in that direction. His revolution had two other noted components: his strong hatred for and desire to counter the influence of the United States led to his forming strong alliances with Iran, Russia and China. All three countries now have a strong presence in the Hemisphere.

Moreover, Chavez’s tight connection and support of the drug cartel and narco-terrorist group known as the FARC led to Venezuela becoming a huge trans-shipment hub for drugs being transported into Africa, Europe and the United States. The drug business not only brought significant amounts of crime to Venezuela but coupled criminal and terrorist elements. Even though Chavez is no longer living, his chosen successor, Nicolas Maduro, the newly elected Venezuelan president will try his best, perhaps helped by the many Cuban operatives now in Venezuela, to further the revolution.

These developments have had significant repercussions and provide both challenges and opportunities for the region and for the United States. Our distinguished speakers will discuss all aspects of Chavismo without Chavez and what lies ahead.