Girish Gupta

HOME

BY COUNTRY

Brazil
Colombia
Cuba
Ecuador
Egypt
Guyana
Iraq
Jordan
Lebanon
Mexico
United Kingdom
Venezuela

BY MEDIUM

Text
Photo
Radio
TV/Video

BY PUBLISHER

Al Jazeera
BBC
BuzzFeed
CBC
Christian Science Monitor
CNN
Daily Mail
Datum
Ecologist
Economist Intelligence Unit
Emerging Markets
Financial Times
Foreign Policy
France 24
Fusion
GlobalPost
Guardian
Independent
La Prensa (Panama)
LatinFinance
Mancunion
Monocle
National (Abu Dhabi)
New Internationalist
New Statesman
New York Times
New Yorker
NPR
PBS
PRI
Radio France Internationale
Reuters
RTE
Sky News
Sun
Sunday Times
Telegraph
TIME
Times of London
USA Today
Vice
WLRN

ABOUT

About
CV
Contact (PGP Key)

Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Venezuela’s generous Russian friend
Oct. 07, 2011

Published by Financial Times

In yet another bullish move that will prick up the ears of Washington, Venezuela has accepted a $4bn loan from Russia in order to purchase weapons, in return for access to heavy crude and offshore gas fields there. President Hugo Chávez and the visiting Russian delegation confirmed the loan around midnight Thursday on state television.

The two nations enjoy warm relations and this is not the first agreement between them. Chávez visited Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in 2008 and accepted a $1bn loan before he returned with $4bn from another visit to Moscow two years later. Since 2005, Venezuela has spent at least $5bn on Russian Sukhoi fighter jets, Mi-17 combat helicopters and Kalashnikov assault rifles.

“We are simply doing the task of defending the fatherland from the threat of empire and its allies,” Chávez said in Moscow last year. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin – who was in Venezuela this week – is known to be strongly anti-American and there are concerns among the US and its allies that Russia and Venezuela are attempting to counterbalance US influence in the region.

All Russia is doing is keeping up a relationship to remind Washington that it still has some influence, says Stratfor Latin America analyst Karen Hooper. “What you’re seeing now is the maintenance of that relationship because Russia isn’t going to walk away from Venezuela just like it’s not going to yield its relationship with Iran or North Korea or other countries that are a thorn in the United States’ side.”

The Russian loan follows a $4bn loan from China to Chávez’s government, which was announced in July. Rather than weapons, that loan is destined for social projects which are on the up as presidential elections loom in a year’s time [Oct 7 2012]. Many sceptics see this as money spent on votes. China has lent the Latin American nation $32bn in recent years, which is to be repaid in oil shipments – a common theme for Venezuela.

The latest loan from Russia will play to a domestic audience, especially Chávez’s fanbase keen to see their Comandante on the world stage after recent treatment for chemotherapy. “It’s a chance for Chávez to say, ‘Look at the new toys I’ve got you,” adds Hooper. “I don’t think Russia expects to get paid back on these loans… Essentially all Russia is doing is buying weapons from itself, essentially as a subsidy for their domestic arms industry.”

Chávez uses oil income to fund his Bolivarian revolution, which he has said is “peaceful, but armed,” adding that he and his top generals would resist orders of any post-Chávez government. With elections looming in October 2012, many are wondering exactly what the weapons are to be used for, with fears that that they may end up in the hands of Chávez’s own Bolivarian militia.




More...

Crisis-hit Venezuela halts publication of another major indicator
Mar. 21, 2017


Back in Venezuela, 'world's worst skier' proud of his performance
Feb. 26, 2017


Some poor Venezuelan parents give away children amid deep crisis
Dec. 15, 2016


Desperate to dump soon-worthless cash, Venezuelans flock to banks
Dec. 13, 2016


Inflation-hit Venezuela to pull largest bill from circulation
Dec. 11, 2016


Venezuela confirms bigger bills amid world's highest inflation
Dec. 04, 2016


Venezuela PDVSA awards $3.2 bln oil service contracts, protest brews
Sept. 21, 2016


Maduro revels in support from Zimbabwe, Iran as critics decry failed summit
Sept. 18, 2016


Venezuela summit draws few leaders in blow to Maduro
Sept. 17, 2016


Near Venezuela summit, pots-and-pans protest showed domestic tumult
Sept. 17, 2016


Once 'Pearl of Caribbean' gets new shine for Venezuela summit
Sept. 16, 2016


Maduro boasts start of Venezuela summit despite 'gringo pressure'
Sept. 13, 2016


Venezuela's troubles overshadow Non-Aligned Summit
Sept. 11, 2016


Venezuela renews drilling tender after earlier collapse - sources
Aug. 26, 2016


Hungry in a Venezuelan slum, a Facebook Live video
Aug. 04, 2016








© Girish Gupta