Skip to comments.Defying US, Chavez pushes for Spanish military deal
Posted on 11/25/2005 2:41:18 PM PST by Alex Marko
CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his government will go ahead with the purchase of Spanish military aircraft and naval vessels even as he accused the U.S. government of pressuring Madrid to halt the transaction.
Chavez, closely allied to U.S. foe Cuba, has stepped up military spending this year with a slew of deals for Russian automatic rifles and helicopters, Brazilian aircraft and Spanish patrol ships and aircraft.
U.S. officials, who brand the leftist leader a threat to the region's stability, say they are worried some of the Venezuelan weapons could fall into the hands of Marxist Colombian rebels Washington calls terrorists.
The U.S. ambassador to Spain said on Wednesday Washington was still considering whether to allow Spain to sell aircraft with U.S. technology to Venezuela. But Chavez said Spain's Defense Minister, Jose Bono, would arrive in Venezuela next week to sign the deal.
"Next Monday Don Pepe Bono will be with us signing the contracts for the planes and the boats," he said in a speech broadcast late Wednesday.
Since Chavez's election in 1998, relations between oil producer Venezuela and its main petroleum client, the United States, have deteriorated steadily.
Chavez has also downgraded military cooperation with the United States and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Spain plans to sell 1.3 billion euros of equipment to Venezuela, including four coastal patrol ships, four corvettes, 10 C-295 transport planes and two maritime surveillance planes.
The aircraft Spain wants to sell to Venezuela have 50 to 60 percent U.S. components and require a U.S. export license.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has built up friendly relations with Chavez. Bono has not scheduled a visit to Caracas but that could change, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.
The contracts may get signed, but the aircraft will not ship. Spain, despite all the posturing, will in the end conclude that the price they will pay is not worth the price they will get.
This seems like one of those times in history, sort of like 1936, where one man with a whimpy 38 could save a lot of lives with one well placed close range "suggestion".
Pat Robertson was right.
Time to dst off the Monroe Doctrine. I would shoot down or sink any prohibited hardware delivered to Chavez.
Pat Robertson was right.
Oh, let's think positively. Perhaps he will have a tragic accident, and save all of us a great deal of trouble.
One train bombing and Spain ran up the white flag. One hotel bombing and Jordan has gone into high gear to get the terrorists. If thats the ally Hugo wants I say go for it.
It's an interesting contrast (for all I don't want to tar the millions of patriotic Spainards who voted against the current government). Spain has a bombing and immediately changes its entire government and foreign policy. Jordan has a bombing and the country unites to fight the terrorists - even al-Zarqawi's own tribsmen (in effect his extended family) renounced him and went on the hunt.
Seems to be a match between the imperlialists and isolationists. Hard to say who is winning (the battle - the war is another story).
Q: Id like to ask. Are your governments concerned about charges of political meddling or perhaps trouble-making by President Chavez in the region? Are you worried about the purchase of 100,000 AK-47assault rifles?
Rumsfeld: Certainly Im concerned. If one thinks about it, the discussion thats taking place, as I understand it, is concerning something in the neighborhood of 100,000 AK-47s to be moved from Russia possibly to Venezuela. I dont know if its firm, but Ive read about it and heard it discussed. Not just in the press, but bilaterally. I cant imagine whats going to happen to 100,000 AK-47s. I cant imagine why Venezuela needs 100, 000 AK-47s. I just hope that, personally hope, that it doesnt happen. I cant imagine that if it did happen, that it would be good for the hemisphere.
Hey Hugo! Bite Me!
I don't know where you are seeing these serious calls for war with France and Spain and Germany and Russia and China. In any event, you'd be hard-pressed to find one percent of people on this forum who are doing so. We do tend to be very pro-US around here, though. Why is the Monroe Doctrine imperialist? Root for Chavez if you want to -- most leftists do -- but having the foresight to put the squeeze on this dangerous demagogue is hardly an act of war, just prudent diplomacy.
Imperialism is in the eye of the beholder. The US Governments duty to protect the interests of the US and its citizens does not stop at the border.
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