U.S. Advises Venezuela Against Purchase of Russian Fighter Jets
On Tuesday, November 30, a senior U.S. official expressed a dim view of
Venezuela possibly buying Russian MiG-29 fighter jets to replace its U.S.-made F-16 jets.
ďWe shoot down MiGs,Ē threatened the Bush administration official quoted by Reuters. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.
Venezuela, which is enjoying record budget revenues from high world oil prices, plans to buy large amounts of arms from Russia, the countryís leftist
president Hugo Chavez said last week after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. At the end of his visit Chavez said his government
would take delivery of 40 helicopters from Russia and he had agreed to buy 100,000 semi-automatic rifles.
Chavez did not mention fighter jets, but Venezuela is looking at the MiG-29 as a possible replacement for its current fleet of F-16s. This is not
making the U.S. administration happy.
ďIt should be an issue of concern to the Venezuelan people,Ē said the official, speaking at a briefing for reporters accompanying President Bush on
his first official visit to Canada. ďMillions of dollars are going to be spent on Russian weapons for ill-defined purposes.Ē Pressed further, he
replied: ďLet me put it this way: we shoot down MiGs.Ē
A White House National Security Council spokesman later sought to clarify the officialís remarks. ďItís clearly an issue that we would monitor,Ē Sean
McCormack said. ďHe didnít mean to imply anything more or less.Ē
And while Chavez claims that the current arms build-up is purely defensive, the United States is strongly opposed to it, seeing Venezuela as a
de-stabilizing force in the region. The prospective Mig purchase comes at a testing time for Washington-Moscow relations, the Britainís Financial
The US and former Spanish PM Aznar have recently been trying to destabilize the democratic governement of Venezuela by staging an unsuccesful faked
coup. I wonder what this new strategy of threats against Venezuela amounts to.