don't let a seppo replace ziggy

  1. 2,785 Posts.
    We're already an obedient client state

    Washington opposes Venezuela arms build-up
    By James Harding in Ottawa and Andy Webb-Vidal in Bogotá
    Published: December 1 2004 00:34 | Last updated: December 1 2004 00:34

    The Bush administration on Tuesday made plain its opposition to Hugo Chávez's arms procurement programme, in particular the Venezuelan president's plans to buy Russian fighter jets.

    “Let me put it this way: we shoot down Migs,” a senior administration official said when asked whether the intended purchase concerned the US government.

    The forthright remark was quickly clarified by Sean McCormack, the National Security Council spokesman at the White House, who said the comment simply reflected the fact that Venezuela's arms build-up “is clearly an issue that we monitor closely”.

    But the unequivocal criticism of Venezuela's arms purchases underscores Washington's hostility towards the Chávez government and concern that Russia is arming a country viewed by the US as a destabilising force in the region.

    At the end of a visit to Moscow last weekend, Mr Chávez said his government would take delivery of 40 helicopters from Russia and he had agreed to buy 100,000 semi-automatic rifles. The move is expected to be followed by Venezuela's acquisition of the most advanced model of the Mig-29 fighter jet.

    Reports in recent weeks suggest Mr Chávez wants as many as 50. The senior Bush administration official, who was briefing on President George W. Bush's meetings with Paul Martin, Canada's prime minister, answered a question about whether the US was concerned about Venezuelan arms purchases by saying: “It should be an issue of concern to the Venezuelan people. Millions of dollars are going to be spent on Russian weapons for ill-defined purposes.”

    Anxieties have already been voiced in Colombia about the arms build-up in neighbouring Venezuela, a concern to the rightwing government of President Alvaro Uribe as it seeks to defeat the insurgent army of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).

    The US strongly supports the Colombian army. Mr Chávez, a left-leaning former army officer whose government has faced strong opposition for much of the past six years, has said the new armaments are defensive: “Venezuela is not going to attack anyone.” Mr Chávez has opposed the US since being briefly unseated in a coup in 2002 which he insists was planned by the Bush government. The prospective Mig purchase comes at a testing time for Washington-Moscow relations. Mr Bush has grown alarmed at the apparent deterioration of democracy in Vladimir Putin's Russia and finds himself on the opposite side to the Russian president over the disputed Ukraine elections.
arrow-down-2 Created with Sketch. arrow-down-2 Created with Sketch.