The kidnapping and rescue of American baseball player, Wilson Ramos, who was visiting his native Venezuela, brought that country back into the spotlight.
2012 is also an election year for Venezuela and the episode highlighted one of the major failings of the Hugo Chavez regime, his inability to get a grip on spiraling crime.
The Venezuelan attempt to place the blame on Colombian gangs sought to shift the blame while capitalizing on the success of the commando operation that rescued Ramos unscathed. It, however, raises the question of why 90% of the kidnappings remain unsolved while in this high profile case police action provided immediate success. This will feed suspicion that the police themselves are involved in crime.
Florida Congressman Connie Mack, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the Senate, called upon Americans to cease travel to Venezuela and for businesses to cease their operations to protect the safety of their employees.
At the same time he attacked the Obama administration for a weak-kneed policy towards Venezuela. Mack, chairman of the Congressional subcommittee for the Western Hemisphere, has tried to have the State Department label Venezuela a state sponsor of terrorism due to its support for Hizbullah and Iran.
While the Ramos kidnapping generated global headlines, the major factor in the Venezuelan situation is the state of Hugo Chavez's health.
Roger Noriega, US ambassador to the Organization of American States under George W. Bush, published an article entitled "Hugo Chavez's Big Lie and Washington's Apathy". In his article Noriega claims that Chavez will not make it to the October 12, 2012 elections because the cancer that has stricken him was spreading more rapidly than anticipated.
Chavez and his physicians have claimed that he has been totally cured of cancer following treatment in Cuba. He has been minimizing his chemotherapy treatments to avoid absenting himself from the job. Chavez's physicians have no other course but to follow the president's wishes although the defective regimen is suicidal.
Noriega predicted that the Chavez supporters would have a problem when the big lie would be exposed upon Chavez' death. A Venezuelan doctor who made the same assessment to an opposition newspaper has fled the country with his family.