With a little help of a lot of money:
Ken Livingstone has signed an oil deal with Venezuela – providing cheap fuel for London’s buses and giving cut price travel for those on benefits.
V Crisis sums it up nicely: Dictator Hugo Chavez to give up to $32 million/year to Livingstone
Chavez is to give up to $32 million/year to Europe’s richest city.
World Politics Watch reports on the ongoing Venezuelan arms race, Venezuela Preparing for ‘Asymmetrical’ Showdown With U.S.
Venezuela is beefing up its military capabilities by land, sea and air in preparation for what one senior official called a possible “asymmetrical conflict” with the United States.
Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States Bernardo Alvarez said that while his country is preparing for possible warfare with the United States — a notion President Hugo Chavez has repeatedly asserted — Venezuela is nonetheless in complete compliance with international and regional non-proliferation treaties.
By characterizing a warfare scenario with the United States as “asymmetrical,” the ambassador was acknowledging the distinct firepower and personnel advantage of the United States, though he noted his country was preparing itself for defense nonetheless.
The ambassador’s remarks follow a recent report that Venezuela’s latest arms improvement will focus on the country’s navy, which is said to be interested in purchasing nine additional submarines.
Having already spent $3.4 billion on Russian arms, including assault rifles and fighter jets, the Venezuelan Navy is planning to spend $3 billion more to create the largest submarine fleet in the region by 2012, according to Venezuelan Navy Vice Adm. Armando Laguna.
The submarines will be the “diesel-electric variety,” said Laguna in a recent communiqué, quoted earlier this month by Brazil’s leading newspaper, Estado de Sao Paulo, and will weigh in at approximately 1,750 metric tons apiece. The Venezuelan Navy is currently considering bids from German, France and Russia, the odds-on favorite, for the new vessel contracts.
The French must really know how to forgive and forget.
Meanwhile, Venezuela to Al-Qaeda: Do not menace us, we are anti-imperialists!! (h/t MNM)