President Hugo Chavez said Monday that Venezuela has received thousands of Russian-made missiles and rocket launchers as part of his government’s military preparations for a possible armed conflict with neighboring Colombia.
“They are preparing a war against us,” Chavez said during a televised address, repeating a charge he has been making for months. “Preparing is one of the best ways to neutralize it.”
Both Colombia and Washington deny having any plans to attack Venezuela, but Chavez argues they are plotting together a military offensive against Venezuela. Chavez says his government is acquiring more weapons as a precaution.
“Thousands of missiles are arriving,” Chavez said. The former paratrooper-turned-president did not specify what type of missiles, but said Venezuela’s growing arsenal includes Russian-made Igla-1S surface-to-air missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.
Charming man, Chávez.
Noticias 24 has the report in Spanish, adding that Chávez said that he’s buying from the Russians because the US “won’t sell him replacements.”
Whether he’s yammering for public consumption, doing some saber rattling, or what, the fact remains, as Breitbart points out, that
Venezuela has bought more than $4 billion worth of Russian arms since 2005, including 24 Sukhoi fighter jets, dozens of attack helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles. In September, Russia opened a $2.2 billion line of credit for Venezuela to purchase more weapons.
His neighbors have plenty of reason to worry.