“Since 2005 Caracas has spent 3.4 billion dollars (2.6 billion euros) on arms from Russia, including 24 fighter planes, 35 military helicopters, air defence systems and 100,000 kalashnikov rifles…”
New Submarines And Fighters Enable Chavez To Project Regional Power
The “new Cuba” in the Caribbean is using oil revenues to arm itself in ways that Castro never could. Venezuela’s nine new Russian submarines are not the diesel subs of the movies or the cold war. The new ones can stay submerged for days and are quieter than their nuclear-powered big brothers.
These subs significantly alter the military balance of power in the Caribbean. Looks like the Dutch had better keep their squadron of F16s in the region because the very purchase of these submarines shows that, no matter what Chavez says at the moment, he has desires other than simple defense.
Venezuela’s Chavez To Finalise Russian Submarines Deal
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is expected to finalise a deal on buying up to nine Russian submarines during a visit here later this month, a Russian newspaper reported on Thursday.
Caracas has already ordered five 636-type diesel submarines and four of a new model of diesel submarine, the 677E Amur, the Kommersant broadsheet said, quoting unnamed sources in the ship-building and arms export sectors.
Chavez may have to settle for the older 636 submarines for the time being as the new 677E Amur has not yet been presented to Russia’s own navy, a source at the arms export agency Rosoboronexport said.
“To start off with they were insisting on only the Amurs but were then persuaded to take the 636 vessels,” the source told Kommersant.
The paper said Chavez planned to visit Russia on June 29, less than a year after a visit last July, the paper said.
If it goes ahead, the deal is likely to become a “new irritant in relations between Moscow and Washington,” the paper commented.
Venezuela has become a major buyer of Russian arms in recent years, angering the United States, which worries about Chavez’s anti-American tone…
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