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Venezuela to Buy Military Planes, Patrol Boats From Spain

Venezuela says it will purchase 10 military transport planes and eight patrol boats from Spain despite U.S. attempts to block the deal.

Venezuelan navy commander Angel Lopez says a team will head to Spain to supervise construction of the aircraft and vessels by the companies EADS-Casa and Navantia.

He told the state-run news agency (ABN) that the firms have fulfilled all the requirements in order to start the work and that Venezuela expects to take delivery of the first vessel in 2008.

Earlier this year, the United States denied Spain the licenses to sell Venezuela 12 transport and maritime surveillance planes which contained U.S. equipment or technology. Spain vowed to replace the U.S. technology and honor its contract with Venezuela.

The U.S. says it blocked the planned sale because of concerns the move would destabilize Latin America. President Hugo Chavez condemned the move as an act of imperialism.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.