Posts Tagged ‘aircraft’

Chavez Purchases Chinese Military Aircraft Following Significant Purchase of Russian Arms

This week President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela formally received the first four of 18 K-8W aircraft purchased from China in 2007. This poses a significant security threat to the western hemisphere and especially to the United States.

During a speech on a military base in the northwestern state of Lara, Chavez called March 13 “a historic day for the Bolivarian anti-imperialist air force”. During this televised ceremony, Chavez wore a Bolivarian military uniform.

Armed with free-fall bombs, air-to-ground missiles and guided weapons, the Chinese-built airplane acquisition follows Venezuela’s purchases of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles (2009) and fighter jets, military helicopters and assault rifles (2006) from Russia. It has been reported that Chavez has secured financing of $2.2 billion from President Dmitri Medvedev for 92 model T-72 tanks and the Igla-S mobile anti-aircraft system.

The Venezuelan leader claims these purchases were made to defend “the sovereignty of this sacred land and of this revolution” to guard “the country’s riches of water, oil, energy, gas, geographic location and its role as the cradle of the first great revolution of the 21st century”. Chavez has tripled Venezuela’s defense budget since 2000, with $3.3 billion allocated in 2008.

U.S. government officials are growing increasingly concerned that these weapons will fall into the hands of Colombian terrorists, especially in light of reports that top Venezuelan officials offered to finance FARC rebels with money to purchase anti-aircraft missiles in 2007.

Equally concerning is Chavez’s relationship with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as both have a shared contempt for the United States. In 2007 the BBC appropriately designated the pair “soul mates”, with Chavez a committed socialist and Ahmadinejad a fervent believer in the principles behind the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Chavez and Ahmadinejad founded The Iran-Venezuela Joint Bank, where each made an initial deposit of $100 million. The bank is currently under sanctions from the international community and the U.S. Treasury for its alleged participation in Iran’s nuclear program. If unchecked, the Iranian-Venezuelan agenda will become increasingly autonomous from the international finance system.

The two leaders have established an extensive network of international trade and influence in which they openly oppose the United States. Known as ALBA, the anti-free-trade agreement is symptomatic of a rising alternative economic system that is a direct threat to capitalistic countries.

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