Venezuela buys more weapons, now from Spain

Monday, April 4, 2005

The Spanish government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has reached an agreement with Venezuela for the sale of 10 C-295 medium transport military airplanes, two CN-235 Persuader maritime vigilance airplanes, and eleven ships, eight of them exclusively for military use.

The total value of the sales is about 1,3 billion euros. The agreement represents the biggest military sale ever made by Spain.

Several political and Spanish newspapers criticized Zapatero's decision. Mariano Rajoy, PP party leader, labeled the decision "a monstrous mistake". The Spanish newspaper Diario de Sevilla editorialized that "the destination of the weapon bought legally on the international market should not fraudulently go to armed, terrorist, and paramilitary groups, etc, that could use them unduly."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said that "the weapons are not instruments of war but instruments of peace". According to Chávez, the ships will be used to step up Venezuela's coastal patrols against the drug trade.