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Too bad we can't ban oxygen from this moron's lungs...

Quote:U.S. bans weapons sales to Venezuela
Listed as ‘country of concern’ on terrorism; Chavez earlier ripped U.S.

MSNBC News Services
May 15, 2006WASHINGTON - The United States is imposing a ban on weapons sales to Venezuela because of what it claims is a lack of support by President Hugo Chavez’s leftist government on counterterrorism efforts, the State Department said Monday.

The Bush administration will also list Venezuela — the fifth-largest supplier of oil to the United States — as a “country of concern” in the war on terrorism, an official told NBC News, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The label is not as severe as being listed as a “state sponsor of terror,” but it reflects what the State Department reported in April about Venezuela in its annual terror report.

“Venezuelan cooperation in the international campaign against terrorism remained negligible,” the report said. “President Hugo Chavez persisted in public criticism of U.S. counterterrorism efforts, publicly championed Iraqi terrorists (and) deepened Venezuelan collaboration with such state sponsors of terrorism as Cuba and Iran.”

The report also accused Chavez of having an “ideological affinity” with two leftist guerrilla groups operating in neighboring Colombia, the FARC and the National Liberation Army. The United States considers both to be terrorist organizations.

‘ Doesn't matter to us’
Chavez brushed aside the arms ban, saying “this doesn’t matter to us at all.”

The Venezuelan leader, on a visit to London, also said his government would not respond with punitive measures such as travel restrictions.

“It’s the empire and it has a great capacity to do harm to the countries of the world,” he said, referring to the U.S. as “irrational."

For almost a year, there has been a nearly total lack of cooperation with anti-terrorism, State Department spokeswoman Darla Jordan said. As a result, U.S. sales and licensing for the export of defense articles and services to Venezuela, including the transfer of defense items, will not be permitted, she said.

War of words
Relations between Chavez and the Bush administration have sharply deteriorated. Chavez has called Bush a “terrorist,” and denounced the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Earlier Monday, Chavez rejected U.S. claims that Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at producing a nuclear bomb. “I don’t believe that the United States or anyone else has the right ... to prohibit that a country has nuclear energy,” he said at a news conference in London.

Chavez, an ally of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, has repeatedly accused the United States of trying to overthrow him to seize his country’s vast oil reserves. U.S. officials have denied that and accused him being a threat to democracies in the region.

‘Final hours of the North American empire’
Chavez counters that the United States is the country to be wary of.

In a two-hour speech Saturday while in Vienna, Austria, for a summit on Latin America, Chavez said that the “final hours of the North American empire have arrived.”

“So now we have to say to the empire: ‘We’re not afraid of you. You’re a paper tiger,’” he said.

The U.S. sanctions came the same day that the Bush administration said it was restoring diplomatic ties with Libya, whose president, Moammar Gadhafi, had once been vilified by the United States.

Coincidentally, Chavez and Gadhafi will be meeting in Tripoli on Tuesday.

Gadhafi, whose country is a major oil producer like Venezuela, has in recent years toned down fiery anti-American rhetoric and opened its industry to Western investment. Chavez, a self-styled socialist revolutionary, has by contrast led a campaign to tighten state control over his nation's energy sector.

‘No oil’ if U.S. attacks
Venezuela is the world’s No. 5 oil exporter and relies on crude sales for about half of state revenues. High oil prices have helped Chavez pour billions into projects for the poor as part of his proclaimed socialist revolution.

Chavez has said Venezuela will continue exporting petroleum to U.S. ports, “unless they attack us, in which case there will be no oil.”

But he is also looking to diversify away from the United States as he seeks to increase oil exports to Latin America, the Caribbean and energy-hungry China.
This keeps getting better and better...

Quote:CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela is considering selling its fleet of U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to another country, perhaps Iran, in response to a U.S. ban on arms sales to President Hugo Chavez's government, a military official said Tuesday.

Gen. Alberto Muller, a senior adviser to Chavez, told The Associated Press he had recommended to the defense minister that Venezuela consider selling the 21 jets to another country.

Muller said he thought it was worthwhile to consider "the feasibility of a negotiation with Iran for the sale of those planes."

Even before the U.S. announced the ban on arms sales Monday, Washington had stopped selling Venezuela sensitive upgrades for the F-16s.

Chavez has previously warned he could share the U.S. jets with Cuba if Washington does not supply parts for the planes. He also has said he may look into buying fighter jets from Russia or China instead.


and....!

Quote:Venezuela Charges U.S. Blocking Arms Sales Is Meant to Weaken Country in Preparation for Attack

By FABIOLA SANCHEZ


CARACAS, Venezuela May 16, 2006 (AP)— Venezuela charged Tuesday that a U.S. decision to block arms sales to President Hugo Chavez's government was meant to weaken it in preparation for an attack.
The Foreign Ministry rejected Washington's explanation of the decision; that the Chavez government was failing to support counterterrorism activities.
The State Department on Monday cited Venezuela's close relations with Iran and Cuba, both of which are on the department's list of state sponsors of terror.
It also expressed concern about ties between Venezuela the fifth-largest supplier of oil to the United States and two leftist guerrilla groups in Colombia.
"These despicable accusations are based on a futile campaign to discredit and isolate Venezuela, to destabilize its democratic government and prepare the political conditions for an attack," the ministry said in a statement early Tuesday. "They want to put Venezuela under conditions so it's incapable of defending itself."
Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez said Monday that the allegations were "oft-repeated but never demonstrated" by Washington.
Chavez has called President Bush a terrorist and often accused the United States of plotting to overthrow him charges denied by U.S. officials, who call the Venezuelan leader a destabilizing influence in the region.
The State Department has objected to Venezuelan arms deals involving equipment incorporating U.S.-made components, and it has tried to block Venezuela's purchase of 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles from Russia.
Venezuela says such purchases are meant solely for self-defense.
State Department figures show Venezuelan purchases of U.S. defense equipment in 2005 came to $33.9 million, of which $30.5 million was for C-130 cargo plane spare parts. It was not clear whether such purchases will be barred under the new rules.
The U.S. action signaled further deterioration in relations with Venezuela. The Bush administration has already "decertified" Venezuela for alleged lack of cooperation in combating drug trafficking.
All this high tech equipment requires a lot of replacement parts, which constantly break down. Uncle Hugo has realized that he will have to obtain these parts from the Black market, which will be considerably more costly than direct purchases.

Plus, the PRC and Russia will gladly see him new jets for a GREAT Price. Since they are not as high tech, they are less expensive up front, and in replacement parts. Of course, they do not perform as well either.

Perhaps this is what the US would rather see.
I'd love to see Chavez sell them to Iran and we shot them down the minute they left Venezuelan airspace. I might forgive Bush for his other failures if he did that.
Stratfor is not overly impressed with the announcement.

Quote:A transfer of the F-16s to a third country such as Iran would not have a huge effect on U.S. security. The Venezuelan air force's 1980s-vintage F-16s are obsolete. Although outwardly similar, the older F-16A possessed by Caracas has practically nothing in common with the F-16C recently produced in the United States for export to customers like the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Moreover, the 20-plus-year-old avionics and flight systems in Venezuela's F-16s is already available to other countries.

Thus, if Venezuelan F-16s end up in Iran, they will not significantly enhance Iran's air force. Iran already has the newer MiG-29 Fulcrums, which are more capable than the old F-16s. In the Persian Gulf region, the Venezuelan F-16s would be outmatched by the newer F-16s flown by the UAE, Oman, and Bahrain, as well as Kuwait's F-18Cs and the Saudi air force's F-15Cs.

The only significant technology in Venezuela's F-16s is fly-by-wire controls, but even so, this technology is somewhat outmoded. Pakistan has had F-16s with fly-by-wire since the 1980s, and Islamabad's close military and technical cooperation with China has certainly made that technology available to Beijing.

This is not the first time Chavez has threatened to sell his fighter jets. In November 2005, Chavez said he would give away the planes to Cuba or any other country if the United States did not provide the necessary parts for the proper maintenance of Venezuela's fleet. Following that, the U.S. agreed during the same month to honor its maintenance agreement with the Venezuelan air force.

More worrying for Washington than the potential transfer of the F-16s, there has been talk of Venezuela's acquiring jets from countries other than the United States. If Venezuela acquired Su-35 Flankers from Russia, for example, Caracas would enjoy the most powerful air force in the region, given the Su-35's significantly greater performance and much longer range. The F-16 announcement, in contrast, represents another of Chavez's exchanges of bravado with the United States; following through on his threat to sell the planes would not pose a major danger to the United States or nations in the Middle East.
I think that your last post hints at this, but from what I remember when I was an aircraft mechanic in the Marines, the aircraft that we sell to other countries do not carry the state of the art avionics that our armed forces fly with. I remember a squadron of F/A-18's that stopped at the base I was stationed at before being transfered to some South Pacific or Southeast Asian country. We had to assist with some inspections and preflight stuff and I remember having to find out how to check something because the avionics were completely different from what was in our own F/A-18's. When I asked about that it was explained to me that while we allowed the sale of fighters to some foreign countries we didn't allow all the state of the art avionics and weaponry that we used to go to just anybody. I imagine that the avionics in those aircraft were old by the standards of the day when we sold them in the first place.
My problem with this is that Chavez is dealing with Iran. He is willing to give them planes we sold to him.
ghoullio Wrote:My problem with this is that Chavez is dealing with Iran. He is willing to give them planes we sold to him.

Read the report from Stratfor. Further, all those aircraft have to be maintained. For all I care, they can do what they wish with those old and antiquated hunks of metal.