I was listening to NPR on my way to work this morning. They did a short piece on the presence of Russia’s Navy in the Caribbean for the first time since the Cold War. Russia has apparently accepted an invitation from Hugo Chavez to perform naval maneuvers with the Venezuelan Navy. The media is all a-titter about it.
The NPR correspondent attended, and recorded, a brief ceremony at La Guaira, the port city near the capital, Caracas. President Chavez spoke at the ceremony, as did one or more Russian naval officers. During the course of the piece, NPR played various marches performed by the Venezuelan military band whose performance preceded the talks.
The band sounded eerily similar to my son’s middle school band. The horn section, in particular, created a jovial dissonance with its off-key harmonies. I imagined uniforms with buttons missing, hats askew and soldiers wearing two different boots.
If the competence and professionalism of the Venezuelan Navy is at all comparable to that of the Venezuelan Navy Band, I think we don’t have much to worry about. Chavez has got some work to do before their Naval breast-beating is something to take seriously.