Fresh from his grand tour of Argentina, Portugal, Belarus, Russia, Qatar, Iran, Vietnam, Mali and Benin (no stop in Cuba, and no stop in North Korea, either), where Hugo went asking for support to the Venezuelan candidacy to a UN Security Council seat, Chavez recalls ambassador to Israel
to show his “indignation” over the military offensive in Lebanon.
“We have ordered the withdrawal of our ambassador in Israel,” Chavez said in a televised speech, calling Israeli attacks in Lebanon “genocide.”
El Universal quotes Hugo in yet more slurs:
“It is outrageous to witness how the Israeli state continues using gringo airplanes and its big power to cut apart so many innocents in Lebanon,” he lamented.
James Keller, co-pastor of the Providence Presybyterian Church, believes that “Venezuela deserves U.S. respect”. Jim just came back from a chaperoned tour of Hugoland. Jim probably believes Hugo when he says that if Venezuela gets a Security Council seat he will not indulge in ideological grandstanding.
- Argentina: $112 million for two oil tankers to be built in Argentina, instead of the $72 million it would cost to build them in Venezuela.
- Belarus: the amount is not clear, but
seven agreements on military-technical cooperation, trade and economic ties would be signed. Bilateral trade was nearly $16 million in 2005.
Energy-wise, Belarus is part of a loose union, the Russia-Belarus union
- Russia: $3 billion for 24 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and 53 helicopters and the installation of factories to produce Kalashnikov rifles and ammunition, among other things.
- Iran: $55 million Samand car factory; $4 billion in the explorations and developments of two oil fields in Venezuela
- Mali: $100m a year in petroleum products.
- Benin: $2.9 million in aid for a housing and microfinance program.
Bilateral trade last year between Iran and Venezuela was valued at about $1 billion.
The Vietnamese dollar amount apparently has not been made public. The Vietnamese, however, were not pleased over Hugo’s “radical, left-wing” rethoric, to use the Beeb’s own words.
I couldn’t find how much Hugo spent in Portugal, or in Qatar, but,
Following a short visit to Qatar and an appearance on the Al-Jazeera television network, Chavez arrived in Iran where he reiterated that Venezuela would “stand by Iran at any time and under any condition.” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described him as a “brother and trench mate.” Affinities between these two leaders go beyond their countries’ shared interests as oil producers and members of OPEC. They both have military backgrounds, an authoritarian vein and a self-aggrandized vision of their roles in shaping the world’s fate by defeating “imperialism.” More dangerously, Chavez, who also held talks with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supports the most radical positions of the Islamist extremists.
The Venezuelan regime’s praise of Hezbollah and condemnation of Israel has been expressed in more radical terms than that of some Arab governments. Chavez has extolled the virtues of Hezbollah’s asymmetric warfare, as an example of resistance against a superior military force, and stated his aim to model the Venezuelan reserves and the militias under his direct control after them.
Hugo also has plans that
Venezuela will install an advanced air-defense system with anti-aircraft missiles capable of shooting down approaching enemy warplanes, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Thursday.
. . .
“We’re going to armor Venezuela.”
Apparently with parts from Russia, Belarus and Iran. Nothing personal, says Vlad:
Significantly, Russian arms deliveries to Venezuela have nothing to do with Chavez’s anti-Americanism or his striving to spite Washington. Russian defense producers say this is business, nothing personal, as the meeting between the Venezuelan leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin showed.
Unlike in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, or Volgograd and Izhevsk in Russia, which Chavez visited before coming to Moscow, no political statements or criticism of the U.S. was permitted in the Kremlin. Putin is strictly adhering to his policy of avoiding membership in any “holy alliances”.
I wonder what Vlad thinks of Hugo’s hopes for Russia’s aid in the construction of a $20-billion natural gas pipeline.
Next in Hugo’s plans: Hugovision USA!
In more postive news, Saab stops Venezuela arms sales
The Swedes have in the past sold anti-aircraft missiles, rocket launchers and anti-tank rifles to Venezuela worth around $150m (£80m).
Update Venezuela News and Views sheds some light on the subject.
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(technorati tags Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, Latin America, Hezbollah, Argentina, Portugal, Belarus, Russia, Qatar, Iran, Vietnam, Mali, Benin)