Nothing apparently stops Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez
After the U.S. said it would ban arm sales to his country, Chávez actively began looking for a new place to buy them. He found cooperation among Russia and China.
Chávez announced this week that he would begin receiving new Chinese-made military transport planes – shrugging off U.S.’s attempt to choke off Venezuela’s weapons supply.
The Venezuelan president said during a televised Cabinet meeting that the first two of the Y-8 planes that Venezuela has bought from China have arrived. He has said previously that Venezuela agreed to buy a total of eight planes from China last year for nearly $353 million.
The U.S. government in 2006 banned arms sales to Venezuela, citing the country’s ties with Iran and Cuba and accusing it of not fully cooperating in counterterrorism efforts. Chávez has instead turned to Russia and China, spending billions of dollars on fighter jets, transport planes, radar systems, helicopters and assault rifles.
“The United States refused to supply us with parts” for its older C-130 military planes, Chávez said, calling that one reason for buying the Chinese planes.
Chávez has built close ties with China, which has agreed to lend Venezuela more than $36 billion in exchange for oil shipments in recent years.
Venezuela also has long had tense relations with the U.S. government. The U.S. Embassy in Caracas has been without an ambassador since July 2010, with Chávez rejecting Washington’s nominee for ambassador and accusing him of making disrespectful remarks about Venezuela’s government. That led Washington to revoke the visa of the Venezuelan ambassador to the U.S. [Fox]