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Chavez particularly is unhappy with the re-formation of the U.S. Navy's 4th Fleet, based in Mayport, Fla., which has just begun patrolling the Caribbean after having been disbanded in 1953.
Officials at the U.S. military's Southern Command in Miami have said the 4th Fleet's re-creation is organizational in purpose and is not a response to tensions with Chavez. It involves no addition to forces already stationed at Mayport, Southern Command said.
The announcement of the November exercises did not come as a total surprise. Chavez said during a visit to Russia in July that its ships and airplanes were welcome in Venezuela. In today's statement, the Chavez government said an adjutant to Russian Adm. Popov Fedorovich had been in Venezuela to plan the exercise.
Adm. Cammarata also indicated that Russian vessels may appear in the region before the exercises.
The announcement came shortly after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's deployment of several warships to the Black Sea in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Georgia last month would not go unanswered. It was not immediately clear whether there was a connection between the two events.