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Venezuela bolsters military against U.S.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ColtCarbine, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Venezuela bolsters military against U.S.

    By Carmen Gentile
    February 19, 2007

    MIAMI -- Venezuela says it is beefing up its military capabilities -- including plans to develop the region's largest submarine fleet -- in preparation for any "asymmetrical conflict" with the United States.

    The buildup, which also includes small arms, jet fighters and potentially air-defense missiles, is being carried out in compliance with all international and regional nonproliferation treaties, Venezuela's ambassador to Washington said in a telephone interview.

    But by repeatedly characterizing any conflict with the United States as "asymmetrical," Bernardo Alvarez made clear that his government was contemplating the need to defend itself against the world's lone superpower, a nation with vastly greater military resources.

    "We have simply been trying to upgrade our military equipment and maintain our defense while preserving balance in the hemisphere," said Mr. Alvarez, who insisted that Venezuela's Latin American neighbors need not worry about the buildup.

    Caracas is reported to have spent $3.4 billion on Russian arms, including assault rifles and fighter jets, and to be negotiating to buy a $290 million Russian air-defense system.

    Now, according to remarks attributed to Vice Adm. Armando Laguna, Venezuela is planning to spend another $3 billion for nine submarines, giving it the region's largest submarine fleet by 2012. Mr. Alvarez could not confirm the report.

    A Pentagon report estimated that Venezuela had spent about $4.3 billion on arms since 2005 alone, more than countries such as Iran, Pakistan and even China. Venezuela also is pursuing an estimated $2 billion worth of military-transport ships and aircraft from Spain.

    The Spanish deal was delayed last year after the United States objected, noting that foreign companies must seek Washington's approval when selling U.S.-made military technology. Venezuela now is trying to work out a deal with Spain to swap out the U.S. parts in the 10 aircraft and eight vessels.

    Though Venezuelan officials maintain the efforts to bolster the country's military capabilities are essential, some consider the expenditure a waste of revenue that could be used to alleviate the strain of chronic poverty in Venezuela.

    President Hugo Chavez is eager to build up his country's defenses using a windfall of oil revenues. Having already spent a significant portion of that money on education and health programs for Venezuela's poor, the leftist leader has set his sights on becoming the continent's military superpower.

    Venezuela could use a fleet of submarines to protect its interests in its exclusive economic zone, which in Caracas' view includes a large portion of the Caribbean Sea.

    Protecting an area that large would require far more vessels than the two German submarines -- both more than 30 years old -- that the Venezuelan military now employs.

    The addition of nine vessels would give Venezuela the largest submarine fleet in Latin America, surpassing those of Peru, Brazil and Chile with six, five and four submarines, respectively.

    The submarines will be the "diesel-electric variety," Adm. Laguna said in a communique quoted this month by Brazil's leading newspaper, O Estado de Sao Paulo, and will weigh in at approximately 1,750 metric tons apiece. The navy is considering bids from Germany, France and Russia, the odds-on favorite.

    Venezuela already has conducted billions of dollars in business with Russia, purchasing 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 24 Sukhoi-30 fighters and about 35 helicopters.

    Most recently, Caracas has its sights set on buying Russian air-defense missiles known as the Tor-M1 system, which consists of eight missiles in a battery mounted to a launch vehicle. The short-range system is designed for use against low-flying aircraft and incoming missiles.

    A Venezuela military official told the Associated Press last month that the missiles were wanted for "air defense" only -- a notion in keeping with Mr. Chavez's repeated warnings about the threat of a U.S. invasion. The Bush administration regularly denies it has any such intentions.

    Washington has expressed concerns that the Russian assault rifles could wind up in the hands of leftist rebels in neighboring Colombia or be used to further the Venezuelan leader's socialist agenda in the region.

    "I can see why Chavez wants to militarize Venezuela. ... He's a military man, just like Bolivar was a military man," said John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org. Simon Bolivar, whom Mr. Chavez idolizes, liberated several Latin American nations from Spain during the 19th century.

    But waging war with the United States "would be a foolish thing to do," he said, noting that even a minor skirmish would jeopardize Venezuela's oil sales to its largest customer.

  2. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    It sounds like after killing the Iranian sattelite, we could continue the party by scuttling a few "das boot's" I wonder if they still use the enigma machines?
  3. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    [LMAO] [fnny] [ROFL] [rofllmao] :lol: biglaff laff

    [mex] [sawgunner] [sniper66] = [sinking] [sinking]
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    1800 metric tons (tonnes) are rather small. Certainly suitable for coastal patrol and defenses, but not for aggressive warfare. I'd bet a couple will sink before seeing action unless their training is far more extensive than I think it will be. Our ASRs are ready to assist with the recovery, and maybe even Seacowboys will get involved. That would be trick.
  5. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    I wonder if we'll suck his wells dry before his maniacal plan unfolds [LMAO]
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Joe Kennedy is helping that. His program is painting (Chavez and) "our friends at Citgo and Venezuela" :sick:helping the less privileged with home heating oil.
  7. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    If Chavez was smart, he would just claim to be protecting his citizenry from the potential terrorist attacks. And if that wasn't reason enough, all he has to do is stage a few bombings in his country to solidify his claims.

    But, how much of this news is readied and cultivated by the corporate media? I see a clear motive here, and it looks like Venezuela is being primed for something big. Perhaps they might be blamed for a few attacks on the US in the future?

    This is a dangerous game they are playing. I don't even know if Chavez is CIA groomed or not, but I wouldn't doubt it.
  8. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Additionally, I wonder what will transpire once Castro kicks the bucket.

    A couple of scenarios may unfold, and I wouldn't doubt that another Russian/Venezuelan pact with Cuba could spurn another missile crisis within the next 4 years.

    Tell me what you think.
  9. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Yeah, I saw an article about that the other day. We sure have a way of providing our friends with the financial means to build up arsenals. [beat]

    Kennedy Criticized Over Chavez Link

    Kennedy Oil Program Is Blasted As `propaganda' for Venezuelan President Chavez


    BOSTON Feb 16, 2007 (AP)— In a TV commercial, former Rep. Joseph Kennedy stands aboard an oil tanker moving across the Boston skyline and promises that millions of gallons of discounted heating oil are on their way to poor, shivering families, courtesy of "our good friends in Venezuela."

    What he doesn't mention is that those "good friends" include Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a socialist and staunch U.S. critic who famously called President Bush "the devil" in a speech last year at the United Nations.

    The reference to Venezuela has led to accusations that Kennedy is a shill for Chavez.

    Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., fired off a letter to Kennedy this week accusing him of working with "a sworn enemy of the United States" and betraying the legacy of President John F. Kennedy, his uncle, who spoke of the perils of communism.

    "Hugo Chavez is providing your company `low-cost heating oil' not to help the American people, but rather to exploit his apologists in the name of public relations. Sadly, you have chosen to actively participate in his charade," Mack wrote.

    In an interview this week with The Associated Press, Mack went further, calling the ad "part of a propaganda message from Hugo Chavez."

    Kennedy fired back by saying that if Mack wants to create a moral litmus test for oil-exporting countries and other trade partners, the congressman should hold Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and China to the same standard.

    "Once we've followed the Mack Doctrine and refused oil from every country that fails to meet our disciplined moral standards, I'm sure you'll enjoy your walks to Washington, because there certainly won't be fuel to fly you there," Kennedy wrote to Mack.

    In an interview with the AP, Kennedy defended his decision to refer to "our good friends in Venezuela."

    Kennedy said he approached other oil companies but only Citgo, the Venezuelan government's Texas-based oil subsidiary, responded with an offer of aid. He said nothing in his contracts require him to publicly thank Citgo and Venezuela. That was his decision, he said.

    "I think it would be the height of arrogance to accept the help and assistance of Citgo, the only oil company to respond to my plea to help, and never even mention them in the ad," said Kennedy, who served in Congress from 1987 to 1999.

    Although he declined to offer an opinion on Chavez, Kennedy did say he had "significant disagreement with the kind of personal politics that have characterized the relationship" between Chavez and Bush, on both sides. He also said "there have been many changes in Venezuela since I started going there 25 years ago, some of them for the better."

    Citizens Energy was founded by Kennedy in 1979 in the wake of the energy crisis of the late 1970s with the goal of reducing the cost of home heating oil for the poor and elderly.

    The corporation signed its first crude oil contract with Venezuela that year, and in its first 18 months, Citizens Energy had delivered more than 13 million gallons of home heating oil from Venezuela to families in Massachusetts. Citizens Energy has since expanded to 16 states and this year will deliver low-cost oil to between 300,000 and 400,000 households.

    Washington resident Lucille Benjamin lives in one of those households. "It doesn't matter to me where it comes from as long as it keeps me warm," she said, "and right now I'm warm."

    This is not the first time Massachusetts has found itself debating Chavez. Last year a Boston City Council member called for the demolition of the famous neon Citgo sign above Fenway Park in a protest over Chavez's "devil" insult. The sign remains.

    Kennedy's energy-assistance program has won praise from some Republicans, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is running for president.

    In 2005 Romney extended his thanks to "all of those around the world working to get lower-priced energy to us," but refused to answer a question about the propriety of doing business with Chavez.

    A spokesman for Romney said he is a staunch critic of Chavez, noting Romney denounced Chavez as a "cartoon character" in a TV interview in August.

    Chavez is "trying to play politics, of course, with oil prices," Romney said in that interview. "The reality is we buy a lot of oil from Venezuela. We ought to get as much oil we can for as cheap a price as we possibly can and suck it dry if we possibly could."

  10. MicroBalrog

    MicroBalrog Monkey+++

    I'm seeing this as a propaganda trick by Chavez.​
    He knows – he must – that he can't fight <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">America</st1:place></st1:country-region> due to the immense military disparity. And the weapons ordered and bought are not going to enable him to do so.​
    I think this is a lie for internal consumption to drum up patriotism, while simultaneously using the military to fight the economic problems in his nation (think of it – how many unemployed are now going to be soldiers?) and also beefing it up to suppress internal resistance (which is what armies in Latin America are often used for).​
    This fits in well with what we know about our friend Hugo.​
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