News / Americas

Russia, Venezuela Strengthen Economic, Political Ties

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (L) and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin receive military honors at the Presidential palace Miraflores in Caracas, 02 Apr 2010
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (L) and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin receive military honors at the Presidential palace Miraflores in Caracas, 02 Apr 2010
TEXT SIZE - +

Russia and Venezuela are forging closer ties. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced earlier this week (Monday) in Caracas that his country could sell Venezuela up to $5 billion worth of weapons.  That's on top of $4 billion in arms that Venezuela previously purchased from Russia. Some analysts are warning of where the close relationship will lead.

A welcoming ceremony decked out in red for the two leaders, meeting in Caracas.   Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on his first visit to the South American country and his host, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

They talked about cooperation on a satellite launch site to begin Venezuela's space program.  A joint venture on oil exploration in eastern Venezuela.  And, a nuclear power plant.

"We have talked about nuclear energy, and we're ready to start drawing up the first plan of a nuclear power plant, obviously with peaceful aims," Mr. Chavez said.

"One question, why nuclear?  Long term investment, very expensive," Peter DeShazo questioned the details. He's  the director of the Americas program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "There's not a whole lot of transparency in all this, so it's pretty hard to determine really how much money is being spent, has been spent, is to be spent, what the details of all these agreements really are.  None of this is all that clear," he added.

In the past five years, Venezuela has purchased $4 billion of Russian arms, including fighter jets, Mi-17 helicopters  and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles. The Russian prime minister said after this trip, Venezuela will buy $5 billion more in Russian weaponry.  The United States wants to know why. 

"We are hard pressed to see what legitimate defense needs Venezuela has for this equipment," State Department Assistant Secretary P.J. Crowley said.

Michael Shifter is president of a Washington foreign policy group.  He says the world should be concerned about Venezuelan motives for all that firepower. "It has sort of a belligerent quality to it and that can lead to I think reckless conduct, that can lead to serious consequences, so I think it is a problem," Shifter said.

Mr. Chavez has said the purchases are to counter U.S. influence in Latin America, especially in Colombia. But the Russian motivation is a bit different.  Experts, including Mr. Putin himself, say it's mainly a commercial venture and Russia is filling a void.

"If the United States does not want to sell its military equipment to other countries, and in particular Venezuela, well it's difficult for him to hear, but it's good for us, and long may it continue - as we say in Russia, there's always someone to fill a vacancy," Putin stated.

Some think Russia also wants to prove its strength, especially in America's backyard....Latin America. But the promises of more arms and agreements for space programs, oil and nuclear power come at a time when both Russia and Venezuela face monumental internal problems.

"There's no electricity and no water for the people Chavez represents, the poorest people," Shifter said. "I think it's very hard to take seriously that pledge that he's going to move in that direction."  

Meantime,  the two men are seriously reinforcing their relationship. Mr. Chavez, ended their Caracas meeting, by giving Mr. Putin the Simon Bolivar sword -- the symbol of Venezuela's independence.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Audit Finds US Housing Aid Program in Haiti Falls Short

Results show post-earthquake USAID program has delivered only a quarter of planned number of homes at nearly twice the budgeted cost
More

Mourning, Memories in Garcia Marquez's Languid Hometown

Nobel Prize-winning author, who died on Thursday, spent the first years of his life in Aracataca and drew on it for some of the characters and tales in 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'
More

Powerful Earthquake Rattles Mexico

US Geological Survey says quake measuring 7.5 on Richter scale, was centered in the western state of Guerrero, north of Acapulco beach resort
More

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support
More

Colombian Novelist Garcia Marquez Dies at 87

Author of 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982
More

Salsa Legend Cheo Feliciano Dies in Car Crash

Police say singer was alone in his jaguar when he hit a post before sunrise Thursday
More