Archive for the ‘Venezuela’ Category

Pressuring Obama: International Actors Take Risks Amid Uncertainty

March 14, 2009

An international series of moves on the strategic map or chessborad is ongoing in an apparent effort to get the first move from America’s new president, Barack Obama.

Russia has orchestrated the closing of a key U.S. air base at Manas in Kyrgyzstan, China has seen fit to harass a U.S. naval vessel in the South China Sea and now Russia has failed to deny the possibility that Russian bombers could be based in Venezuela and or Cuba.

The problem with these moves is that it puts the president into a reactive rather than a proactive position and the incidents themselves lend themselves to escalation unintended and accidental.

When China wanted to send the “back-off” message to President George W. Bush early in his administration by harassing a U.S. Navy surveillance  aircrft using a Chinese PLA (Air Force) fighter, the aircaft collided, killing the Chinese pilot and leading to “detention” of the American aircrew.

One has to hope that the Obama Administration has made it perfectly clear to China and Russia that this kind of conduct is not helpful at the least and potentially very dangerous.

But no public mention of that effort has been made publically, which could mean other like Hugi Chavez in Venezuela get the wrong idea and take additional unnecassary risks and miscalcualtions we don’t need….
“Mark my words,” Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden warned last October. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking.”

“Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”


By DAVID NOWAK, Asssociated Press
MOSCOW – A Russian Air Force chief said Saturday that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has offered an island as a temporary base for strategic Russian bombers, the Interfax news agency reported.

The chief of staff of Russia‘s long range aviation, Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, also said Cuba could be used to base the aircraft, Interfax reported.

The Kremlin, however, said the situation was hypothetical.

“The military is speaking about technical possibilities, that’s all,” Alexei Pavlov, a Kremlin official, told The Associated Press. “If there will be a development of the situation, then we can comment,” he said.

Zhikharev said Chavez had offered “a whole island with an airdrome, which we can use as a temporary base for strategic bombers,” the agency reported. “If there is a corresponding political decision, then the use of the island … by the Russian Air Force is possible.”

Interfax reported he said earlier that Cuba has air bases with four or five runways long enough for the huge bombers and could be used to host the long-range planes.

Two Russian bombers landed in Venezuela last year in what experts said was the first Western Hemisphere touchdown of Russian military craft since the end of the Cold War.

Cuba has never permanently hosted Russian or Soviet strategic aircraft. But Soviet short-range bombers often made stopovers there during the Cold War.

Russia resumed long-range bomber patrols in 2007 after a 15-year hiatus.

Independent military analyst Alexander Golts said from a strategic point of view there was nothing for Russia to gain from basing long-range craft within relatively short range of U.S. shores.

“It has no military sense. The bombers don’t need any base. This is just a retaliatory gesture,” Golts said, saying Russia wanted to hit back after U.S. ships patrolled Black Sea waters.

Read the rest:

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In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, one of two Russian ... 
In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, one of two Russian Tupolev 95 Bear long rang bomber aircraft is seen near the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz on Feb. 9, 2008, south of Japan. The Interfax news agency reported Saturday March 14, 2009 that a Russian Air Force chief says Russian strategic bombers may be based in Cuba. Russia resumed long-range bomber patrols in 2007 after a 15-year hiatus. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy)

China Buying Oil, Uranium, Gold, Other Products At Bargain Prices

March 12, 2009

China is forging ahead with an overseas spending splurge, snapping up resources especially oil at bargain prices and strengthening its long-term prospects for growth before Western economies can bounce back.

A series of high-profile energy deals and mining bids in the past month marked an end to the nervousness that appeared to impinge on Communist Party leaders at the outset of the global financial crisis. Attention has turned from hoarding foreign exchange reserves worth close to $2 trillion to locking up future supplies. Oil has emerged at the top of China’s shopping list.

By Chris O’Brien
The Washington Times

In February, China secured oil supply deals totaling $41 billion with Russia, Brazil and Venezuela.

Among the most lucrative: an agreement reached with Russia, in which China will lend $25 billion to Russian oil giant Rosneft and oil pipeline company Transneft. In return, according to Russian news reports, China will receive 300,000 barrels of crude a day for the next 20 years at a rate of about $20 a barrel less than half the current price of $45.

While touring Latin America, Vice President Xi Jinping signed a deal to lend $10 billion to Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras. China will receive up to 160,000 barrels a day, again over a 20-year period.

People sharing a scooter ride past oil rigs in Cangzhou on in northern China's Hebei Province, near Bohai Bay, the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea on the coast of northeast China, where PetroChina and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) drill for oil. AFP photo

People sharing a scooter ride past oil rigs in Cangzhou on in northern China’s Hebei Province, near Bohai Bay

A subsequent announcement from China’s National Energy Administration further clarified Beijing’s intentions. China is considering setting up a fund for China’s three state-owned energy giants PetroChina, Sinopec and the China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) to purchase oil and gas companies overseas. The firms will benefit from low-interest loans and direct capital injections, the announcement said.

The oil deals complement efforts to buy into the Australian mining industry. China’s biggest aluminum producer, Chinalco, has submitted a bid of $19.5 billion to buy an 18 percent stake in beleaguered mining company Rio Tinto. Chinese firm Minmetals has offered $1.7 billion for Oz Minerals.

China also is seeking diversification of its foreign exchange reserves, now heavily in dollars. The head of China’s energy bureau, Zhang Guobao, said earlier this week that China should accumulate more gold and uranium as well as other strategic commodities.

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Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

Venezuela’s Chavez Urges Obama, U.S. Down Socialist Path

March 7, 2009

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez comments on U.S. President Barack Obama and the state of the U.S. economy. He made the remarks today on Venezuelan state television.

“It’s regrettable the crisis that the U.S. is living through. Millions of workers are being left in the street, thousands of companies are closing, in the U.S. there isn’t a single new infrastructure project. Go look for a highway there, the country has gone bust.”

“Now President Obama arrived with some announcements, hopefully, but the capitalist model and its perverse values have failed.”

“I recommend to Obama — they’re criticizing him because they say he’s moving towards socialism — come Obama, ally with us on the path to socialism, it’s the only road.”

“Imagine a socialist revolution in the U.S. Nothing is impossible.”

By Dan Cancel, Bloomberg

Russia selling surface-to-air missiles to Libya, Syria

December 26, 2008

Russia has begun to fulfil a 250-million-dollar contract to deliver surface-to-air missiles to seven countries including Libya, Syria and Venezuela, the Vedomosti business daily reported Friday.

Russia will also deliver the S-125 Pechora-2M missile batteries to Egypt, Myanmar, Vietnam and Turkmenistan under the contract, the newspaper said, citing a source in the state-owned Russian Technologies corporation.

Contacted by AFP, a spokeswoman for the company declined to comment. Russian Technologies includes arms exporter Rosoboronexport among its holdings. The paper did not say which parties had signed the contract.


The Pechora-2M — known as the SA-3A Goa in NATO parlance — is an upgraded version of a surface-to-air missile originally developed in the 1960s that was widely shared with the Soviet Union‘s allies around the world.

Under the contract, 200 missiles are to be delivered including 70 for Egypt, an unnamed manager at a Russian defence-industry factory told Vedomosti. He added that most would be built at the Obukhov factory in Saint Petersburg.

“It is a simple but effective system, like the Kalashnikov assault rifle,” he said of the Pechora.

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Iran Ducks UN With Venezuela, Missiles, Terrorists, Syria

December 22, 2008

Iran is using its warm relations with Venezuela to dodge UN sanctions and use Venezuelan aircraft to ship missile parts to Syria, an Italian newspaper reported Sunday.
Citing US and other Western intelligence agencies, La Stampa said Iran is using aircraft from Venezuelan airline Conviasa to transport computers and engine components to Syria for use in missiles.

The material comes from Iranian industrial group Shahid Bagheri, listed in the annex of UN Security Council Resolution 1737, adopted in December 2006, for involvement in Iran’s ballistic missile programme.


In a file picture from 2007, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ... 
In a file picture from 2007, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (front) and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad listen to their national anthems during a welcoming ceremony in Tehran. Iran is using its warm relations with Venezuela to dodge UN sanctions and use Venezuelan aircraft to ship missile parts to Syria, an Italian newspaper reported Sunday.(AFP/File/Behrouz Mehri)

The resolution instructed all nations to “prevent the supply, sale or transfer” of all material or technology that could be used for Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme and the development of weapons to carry nuclear warheads.

Syria is a close ally of Iran in the Middle East, with the two nations having signed a military cooperation pact in June 2006.

In return for providing aircraft, Iran has made available to Caracas members of its Revolution Guards and the elite Al-Quds unit to train and reinforce the Venezuelan police and secret services, La Stampa reported.

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Bush Excluded by Latin Summit as China, Russia Loom

December 15, 2008

Latin American and Caribbean leaders gathering in Brazil tomorrow will mark a historic occasion: a region-wide summit that excludes the United States.

Almost two centuries after President James Monroe declared Latin America a U.S. sphere of influence, the region is breaking away. From socialist-leaning Venezuela to market-friendly Brazil, governments are expanding military, economic and diplomatic ties with potential U.S. adversaries such as China, Russia and Iran.

By Joshua Goodman

James Monroe
Above: James Monroe

“Monroe certainly would be rolling over in his grave,” says Julia Sweig, director of the Latin America program at the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington and author of the 2006 book “Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century.”

The U.S., she says, “is no longer the exclusive go-to power in the region, especially in South America, where U.S. economic ties are much less important.”

Since November, Russian warships have engaged in joint naval exercises with Venezuela, the first in the Caribbean since the Cold War; Chinese President Hu Jintao signed a free-trade agreement with Peru; and Brazil invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a state visit.

“While the U.S. remains aloof from a region it no longer sees as relevant to its strategic interests, other countries are making unprecedented….

Get the Feeling Russia and China Are Slicing Up The World and the U.S. Will Be Left Out?

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Russian warships to visit Cuba

December 15, 2008

he Russian navy says its warships will visit Cuba for the first time since the Soviet era.

The navy says a squadron that has been on a lengthy visit to Latin America will put in at Havana on Friday for a five-day stay.

Navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo says it will be the first visit by Russian warships to the Communist-led island just 90 miles (145 kilometers) from the United States since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

The nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great and the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko arrived in the Caribbean last month in a deployment also unprecedented since Soviet times. The voyage is widely seen as a response to the United States’ use of warships to deliver aid to Russia’s neighbor Georgia after their war in August.

Associated Press

In this photo released by Venezuelan Information Ministry on ...
Above: Russia’s “Peter the Great”

This is a July 2004 file photo of the Admiral Chabanenko, Russian ... 
This is a July 2004 file photo of the Admiral Chabanenko, Russian anti-submarine destroyer, seen in the Barents Sea, Russia. The Admiral Chabanenko sailed through the Panama Canal — the first Russian ship to do so since World War II.  The Russian Navy is on a symbolic projection of Moscow’s power in a traditional U.S. zone of influence.
(AP Photo/File)

Foes ready to test Obama overseas

December 13, 2008

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev chose the day after Barack Obama‘s election victory to brandish a threat of ballistic missiles. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said of the president-elect: “I hope he doesn’t end up being one more imperialist.”

As for Al-Qaida, it likened Barack Obama to a favored slave doing his master’s bidding.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, greets former U.S. ... 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, greets former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, left, during a meeting in the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Friday, Dec. 12, 2008.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)

Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, predicted the new president would quickly be tested by a dangerous world. That test might come from anywhere, but attention has focused on North Korea, Iran, Russia and Venezuela, and the al-Qaida terror group.

By PAUL HAVEN, Associated Press Writer

Obama’s Republican opponent, John McCain, called him too inexperienced to be president. So did Hillary Clinton, now his choice for secretary of state. Since his election, Obama has filled his national security team with centrists and relative hawks — a possible warning not to underestimate him.

“What Obama absolutely must prove early on in his administration is that he cannot be played for a patsy, that he has the strength … and that he understands his no. 1 duty is as commander in chief and protector of the United States,” said Robin Niblett, the director of Chatham House, the London-based think tank.

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Silver Lining Of Lower Oil Prices: Loudmouths Quieted (For a While…)

December 6, 2008

Inside every recession there’s a silver lining and in this one it’s falling oil prices, down from $147 a barrel in July to $48 this week and maybe headed toward $40.

And inside falling oil prices there’s another silver lining: It shuts up people like Iranian President Mahmoud  Ahmadinejad. Oh, he’s still ranting away in Tehran but he lacks that old anti-U.S. fire and focus. For one thing, he is in danger of losing his job.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has congratulated President-elect Barack Obama. Formal diplomatic relations were cut in 1979.
Above: Iran’s Ahmadinejad.  Photo by Getty Images

By Dale McFeathers
The Washington Times

He looked like a genius in July but now that oil revenues have slackened Iranians can see what a shambles he has made of the economy. Unemployment is high, inflation even higher and Mr. Ahmadinejad, having squandered the oil revenues when times were good, is forced to consider cutting spending and raising taxes, which should make his real popular with the bazaar crowd. He is up for re-election in June, and without oil money to throw around and the United States to kick around he may face a second career driving a cab.

Another silver lining is that Russia, also overly dependent on oil revenues, has become notably less grandiose along with its new best friend in Latin America, Venezuelan blowhard Hugo Chavez.

In Moscow, work has stopped on what was to be Europe’s largest and tallest — 1,968 feet – office building. The Associated Press quoted the developer as saying that because of the credit crisis there was no money to pay for the building and no demand from tenants to fill it. That’ll do it to you.

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An oil pump works away at sunset Friday, Dec. 5, 2008, in the ... 
(AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Get the Feeling Russia and China Are Slicing Up The World and the U.S. Will Be Left Out?

December 6, 2008

The world is about competition.

Do you get the feeling that China and Russia are slicing up the world pie?  Or want to?

At Peace and Freedom, we get the feeling that Russia and China are grabbing all the economic value from the world and leaving the U.S. to happily make subsidized cars in Detroit. Case in point is the current global foray of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev  who is wrapping up a gigantic business trip to nations like Venezuela and India.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) waves as Indian Prime ... 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) waves as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh looks on at a welcome ceremony in New Delhi. Singh hailed a landmark nuclear deal signed with Russia on Friday as a “milestone in the history of our cooperation” after meeting in India with Medvedev.(AFP/Raveendran)

Like it or not, where the U.S. isn’t, China and Russia thrive.

Earlier this year China’s President Hu Jintao completed a multi-nation trip to Africa.  Mostly, he seized opportunities to cheaply exploit raw materials desperately needed by China’s industrial dragon.  President Hu even went to Sudan despite international condemnation of the genocide in Darfur.

A Chinese bank employee counts stacks of hundred yuan notes ...

China also has recently completed the largest seaport in the world at Gwadar in Pakistan.

Russia and China often work in tandem — as they do in behalf of  Iran.  China and russia have the lions share of the business dealing with Iran, so when the U.S. proposes sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program, China and Russia block the effort together.

Human rights takes a back seat in Russian and Chinese business.  And both nations have their top guy out there globally beating the bushes in favor of homeland businesses.

When the U.S. was agast at human rights abuses in Myanmar, China objected and protested the junta.  China wants Myanmar’s oil.

Homeless, displaced refugees in Darfur.  But China still pours money into Sudan in exchange for oil….

Add this to the many challenges of Barack Obama.  Sitting in the U.S. watching the United Auto Workers kill off the car industry as we gear up to produce environmentally pure “Made in the U.S.A.” windmills might be fine for some; but we’d like to add our voice to those that believe the U.S. needs to be a major global business.

We need to think big.  We need to redevelop  the U.S. infrastructure with jobs and billions of dollars of spending.  But we also need to hunt out and drag home a lot more of the global market.

Wherever the U.S. is shy to go in the world: Medvedev and Hu Jintao do not fear to tread.  They have been — or they plan to go.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom



China Now Holds Most of U.S. Debt

China passed Japan to become the U.S. government’s largest foreign creditor in September, the Treasury Department announced yesterday, reflecting the dramatic expansion of Beijing’s economic influence over the American economy.
China’s new status — it now owns nearly $1 out of every $10 in U.S. public debt — means Washington will be increasingly forced to rely on Beijing as it seeks to raise money to cover the cost of a $700 billion bailout. China, in fact, may be the government’s largest creditor, period. The Treasury does not keep records on domestic bond holders. But analysts said China’s holdings are so vast that the existence of a larger stakeholder in the United States now seems unlikely.

By Anthony Faiola and Zachary A. Goldfarb
The Washington Post

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