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Venezuela`s MiGs 29 Fulcrums

On April 2, 2004, Petroleumworld published the story "Venezuela´s oil revenue to buy MIG 29 Fulcrums", on June 26, 04 in Petroleumworld en Español, published "Los MIG 29 Fulcrums"

Well it seem that the Russian MIGs are ready to be pick up.

A UPI story, presents a complete analysis on the subject:

Analysis: Venezuela eyes Russian MiGs

Venezuela plans to acquire 50 of Russia's most advanced warplanes, according to U.S., European and Latin American military intelligence officials who are concerned about regional ambitions harbored by President Hugo Chavez.

Chavez's plans to use oil revenues to upgrade his military were reported last May by CNN, which quoted Pentagon sources as saying that Venezuela would spend an estimated $5 billion to obtain sophisticated hardware.

United Press International has details of agreements being negotiated with Russian defense contractors for a large number of super jet fighters fitted with state-of-the-art weaponry. In letters addressed last year to the director general of Russian Aeronautic Corp., Nicolai F. Nikitin, the Venezuelan air force requested the "latest version" of the MiG 29 SMT equipped with high-tech weaponry, including radar-guided missiles and 2,000-pound bombs.

"The plane must have the capacity to carry no less than 4 tons of bombs," says the document signed by the Venezuelan air force commander, Maj. Gen. Regulo Anselini Espin, a copy of which has been obtained by UPI. Venezuelan generals have told European diplomatic officials that they need the MiGs to protect the Panama Canal. When asked against whom, the air chiefs wouldn't specify.

Venezuelan defense officials tell UPI that they are turning to new defense partners because of deteriorating military relations with the United States and the supply of military pilots from Cuba, if necessary. More than half of Venezuela's 22 F-16s are currently grounded due lack of maintenance and spare parts. But Colombia and other neighboring countries fear that the new arms would enable Chavez to impose his geopolitical and ideological agenda.

The MiG purchase order asks for various types of offensive air-to-surface missiles, including anti- radar Kh-31A, Kh-31P and Kh-29T "for use against ships." Radar-guided KAB-500 KR bombs as well as RVV-AE, R-27 T1, R27 R1, R27 ER1 and R-73E air-to- air systems are also specified in the inventory, as are multifunctional Zhuk-M cockpit radars for "over the horizon" combat operations.

"The total quantity of airplanes provided is of 40 single-seat planes and 10 twin-seat planes," Venezuelan air force documents state. Defense analysts point out that two-seat MiGs are normaly used for deep, surgical bombing missions.

Ten aircraft are due to be delivered within 18 months of signing the contract, which also involves setting up a MiG 29 maintenance center in Venezuela, according to air force officials who outline plans for long-term supply and maintenance. "Future deliveries will be made with the participation of the specialists of the Venezuelan air force in the joint assembly of the planes and their test flights following their assembly on Venezuelan territory," say letters of intent with Russia.

Several MiGs already are in Venezuela, according to Colombian defense officials who have shown UPI photographs of the planes being prepared for flight testing at the Libertador air base in Maracaibo. A U.S. intelligence source also claims that MiGs have been spotted flying near the Caribbean island of Curcao.

Members of Venezuela's military say handpicked pilots are undergoing flight training in Cuba, which has six MiG 29s. Cuba is the only country in Latin America, except Peru, to be equipped with the advanced Russian model. Fidel Castro offers various types of security assistance to Venezuela in exchange for oil.

Russian and Cuban military officials enjoy warm relations with the Venezuelan Defense ministry, according to American and EU diplomatic sources who believe that Russia is prepared to sell the full MiG package. The sources say that Russia's defense attache, air force Col. Oleg Krajotin, holds regular meetings with Venezuelan Defense Minister Garcia Carneiro.

Venezuelan contracts are also being drawn up for Russian Mi-17 heavy-lift helicopters as well as radar systems from China, according to U.S. intelligence reports.

The arms give Chavez the military muscle to project regional leadership following his presidency's reaffirmation through a national referendum held last Aug. 15. He also is strengthening ties with Iran.

"This is battle not only for Venezuela but for all of Latin America and the Third World," Chavez told a cheering crowd of followers when he kicked off his referendum campaign last July. He warned about worldwide retaliation against American interests if the United States intervened against Venezuela's " irreversible revolutionary process" and called on all Latin Americans to unite against the "empire from the north."

Domestic political opponents accuse Chavez of using fraud to win last month's referendum. The Organization of American States is investigating the allegations.

Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage conditioned improved American relations with Venezuela on a "toning down of anti-American rhetoric" and a "modification of policies prejudicial to U.S. interests".

Chavez has granted American oil companies important offshore oil drilling concessions. But his foreign minister was in Tehran just two weeks ago to arrange a state visit, which would be Chavez's second official trip to Iran since 2001. He also enjoyed close relations with Saddam Hussein before the Iraqi regime was toppled by a U.S. invasion.

Colombian officials fear that a Venezuelan military buildup might embolden Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) guerrillas who hailed Chavez's referendum victory as "a stimulus for liberation movements in all of Latin America".

"FARC forms part of our Bolivarian Revolutionary Army," says Ileana Ibarra, a local leader of the Circulos Bolivarianos in Caracas. "We are forming the Great Colombia" she says, referring to a project for integrating both countries that was proposed in the 19th century by Venezuela's independence hero, Simon Bolivar.

Colombia has received billions of dollars in U.S. military assistance for counterinsurgency operations, including a fleet a of Blackhawk helicopters. But Colombia has nothing to match the MiG 29s, which would give Venezuela "the largest and most potent air force in Latin America," according former Colombian air force chief, Gen. Nestor Ramirez.

The Colombian government alleges that Venezuelan aircraft have flown incursions to support leftist FARC guerrilla units along border areas. Chavez, in turn, accuses Colombian right-wing paramilitary groups of conspiring with domestic opponents to destabilize his government.

Other longstanding territorial disputes have caused Bogota to raise a protest against Caracas this week. According to the news agency EFE, the Colombian government has complained that Venezuelan offshore concessions just granted to international oil companies infringe on Colombian territorial waters.

"We are heading toward a war with Colombia," said a Venezuelan military intelligence officer who claims that contingency plans are being drawn up for a potential conflict with the neighboring country.

Venezuela also is backing Bolivia's historical claims on Chilean Pacific ocean ports. At a meeting of Latin American presidents held last year, Chavez called for the return of a stretch of coastline annexed by Chile during a war in 1879. He just gave 11 armed T-34 jet trainers to the Bolivian air force and has offered to train its combat pilots.

Bolivia's main leftist opposition leader, Evo Morales, who is a close friend of Chavez, has been heading a campaign to block gas exports to Chile. U.S. intelligence sources maintain that Venezuela's ruling Revolutionary Movement channeled $15 million to Bolivian leftist organizations that toppled a pro-U.S. government last year.

United Press International
CARACAS, Venezuela, Sep 14, 2004

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Petroleumworld News 09/15/ 04 Cortesia de Jose Luis Fernandez


Cuba, España y los Estados Unidos | Organización Auténtica | Política Exterior de la O/A | Temas Auténticos | Líderes Auténticos | Figuras del Autenticismo | Símbolos de la Patria | Nuestros Próceres | Martirologio |

Presidio Político de Cuba Comunista | Costumbres Comunistas | Temática Cubana | Brigada 2506 | La Iglesia | Cuba y el Terrorismo | Cuba - Inteligencia y Espionaje | Cuba y Venezuela | Clandestinidad | United States Politics | Honduras vs. Marxismo | Bibliografía | Puentes Electrónicos |

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