the Spain Herald is full of Venezuela news, translated by me. Our man Rodriguez Zapatero is no goddamn help at all; Spain just made a €1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) arms deal with Hugo Chavez after canceling a similar deal with Colombia made by the former Aznar administration on the ground it would add to the arms race between Venezuela and Colombia. See, this stuff Spain is selling Chavez is for peace.
The latest fiendish addition to this collection is the Prime Minister’s current trip to Venezuela: an official visit whose only goal is to sell weapons to populist Hugo Chavez. Mr. Chavez is busy rearming his country and could end up causing an authentic military and political tragedy. And even though Mr. Zapatero has tried to disguise the trip by visting Colombian President Uribe in Bogota, it is well known his tour’s priority is to tie up the loose ends left over from Defence Minister Bono’s “secret visit” to Caracas a few months back: everything else window dressing.
While here in the USA the TV cable and network stations have obsessively stood on death watches all this week, apparently having no time to spare for international news, Zapatero sold Chávez not only more machine guns than there are troops in Venezuela, but also 10 C-295 transport planes, two CN-235 naval patrol planes, and eight coast patrol boats, all paid by oil money, claiming “it would benefit the people”, while Chávez stated that the transaction “is destined toward the development of social tasks.”
Hugo Chávez, meanwhile, claimed that the arms Zapatero sold him “will transport poor people in the interior of Venezuela, and food and medicine. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for this support for our social labor. We will use them in the war against poverty and misery, since they are transport planes, not for combat. We already have F-16s the US sold us.”
I guess that makes it all right, Hugo? A complacent USA, financing indirectly all of this activity and selling Venezuela combat planes, is wrong.
Venezuelans and Spaniards are indignant, Venezuelan Socialists: Zapatero “ignores democracy principles”
that both Zapatero and the PSOE [Partido Socialista Obrero Español – Zapatero’s party) are aware of the condemnations AD has made of the Chavez regime and “what is happening in Venezuela. They both know that there is a deficit of democracy in Venezuela, that the Chavez government is in violation of democratic principles, and that it is authoritarian.”
The arms sales have angered both the Spanish and Venezuelan opposition; Spanish PP leader Mariano Rajoy called them “a monstrous error”. PP secretary general Ángel Acebes, at a press conference, asked Rodríguez Zapatero whether “the best way to achieve your infinite desires for peace is to rearm Chavez.”
After all, Chávez has plans. That much is clear.
(*with apologies to any Rowan Atkinson fans)