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Venezuela’s Weapons Purchases

Peter Brookes, a former US deputy assistant secretary of defense who also served in the Navy, with the CIA and on Capitol Hill, writes in the Armed Forces Journal:

One of the most eye-popping elements of Chavismo is Venezuela’s arms purchases. Flush with oil profits, Chavez, a former army lieutenant colonel, has been buying as much shiny military hardware as possible.

Since 2005, he’s spent more than $4 billion on foreign weapons, making tiny Venezuela one of the world’s most aggressive arms purchasers. In 2006 alone, arms spending was up 13 percent, according to some estimates.

…Russia is Chavez’s favorite arms outlet. Having spent more than $3 billion, Caracas is already under contract to buy 24 Su-30 fighters, 50 helicopters/gunships and 100,000 AK103 (AK47 follow-on) assault rifles from Moscow. It has also inked a deal to build the Kalashnikov rifle under Russian license in Venezuela.

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