Venezuela is running for a UN Security Council, after defeating Guatemala in Monday’s elections for five open UN Security Council seats.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, up for reelection in December, has campaigned hard for the seat in 2007-2008, sending assistance to Latin American countries as well as contributing to food aid in Africa.
And Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro left no doubt during a visit to the United Nations last month his government sees the race as one against the United States.
“Our debate is not with Guatemala,”‘ Maduro told reporters. “Our debate is with Secretary of State of Condoleezza Rice. We are calling for an end to the unipolar world that has been so damaging.”
According to a report of Forecast International (link in Spanish), consulting firm of the militar industry and global intelligence, the self-named “revitalization plan” of the three components of FAN (Venezuelan National Force in Spanish), could cost around $30,700 millions during the period 2006-2012. The cost can double itself if it continues till 2020 and Chávez is still on power, according to a study by Brazilian newspaper O Estado. This way Venezuela would lead the list of countries buying weapons in this decade.
Among all the equipment, Chávez is searching for, there are 150 supersonic airplanes, between 10/15 missile-launchers’s submarines, 138 ships, radar defense systems and around 600.000 bombs, both commons and intelligent, guided by lasers and GPS.
The Venezuelan Government has already spent $3.000 millions as part of this revitalization plan, for the acquisition of, among other equipment, war-airplanes Sukoi, 100.000 Russian rifles AK-103 and AK-104 and a tridimensional radar system of Chinese fabrication, which cost $150 millions.
Chávez has defended in his program “Aló Presidente” (Hello, President) of last week, this plan to revitalize the Venezuelan Army, saying that the program is basically defensive and that is just a consequence of their sovereignty, because of the “possible” invasion of the country by USA.
Opposition candidate, Rosales, has remarked that this could be a foolish act, taking into account the levels of unemployment and poverty nowadays Venezuela has.
There are also experts who point out that Venezuelan purchases of weapons are far greater than the ones made by Colombia, Brazil or Chile, what can lead to a arm race in the region.
So where is the love?