News and information about Venezuela and how to replace its dictatorship.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

US probes Venezuelan purchase of electronic voting firm

Federal authorities are investigation an Oakland, California-based software firm and its purchase by a Venezuelan-owned company tied to Hugo Chavez.

Concern is that the regime or its supporters could tamper with elections in the United States and in other countries by rigging the electronic balloting.

The New York Times picks up the story broken by the Miami Herald.

"The inquiry on the eve of the midterm elections is being conducted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, the same panel of 12 government agencies that reviewed the abortive attempt by a company in Dubai to take over operations at six American ports earlier this year," according to the Times.

"The committee’s formal inquiry into Smartmatic and its subsidiary, Sequoia Voting Systems of Oakland, Calif.," the Times reports. Smartmatic and the Venezuelan government deny any nefariousness.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bloggers credited with forcing EADS CASA to cancel Chavez sale

Bloggers are being credited with inducing EADS CASA to cancel its $600 million military aircraft contract with the Chavez regime.

Earth Times quotes this blogger as saying, "This is another example of the New Media's impact on international politics."

"Outside the blogosphere, this issue was off the radar screen. Bloggers publicized that EADS-CASA is lobbying Congress to buy its CN-235 and C-295 military planes while it was defying U.S. national security interests to sell the same planes to Chavez," this blogger said in the report.

The report cited another website,, through which hundreds of people flooded key congressional leaders with faxes and emails urging Congress to ban any US government purchases of EADS CASA aircraft.

"Lawmakers didn't have to say a thing to the company. The fact that they were alerted was enough," this blogger said in a report picked up by the technology site Sys-Con Media. "The guys who did the website that sent letters into Congress really made the difference."

Spain cancels military aircraft sale to Caracas

The Spanish government announced today that the EADS CASA sale to the Venezuelan regime has been canceled.

Spanish officials cited the company's lost profits, thanks to President Bush's January 2006 invocation of nonproliferation regulations that allow the US to veto the sale of foreign military equipment containing American-made parts. For the past 10 months, EADS CASA has been scrambling to circumvent the antiproliferation measure, trying to replace as many as four or five dozen components in the CN-235 and C-295 aircraft.

Critics denounced the sale, brokered by the Zapatero government last year, as a jobs program for the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers Party, whose stronghold is in Andalusia where the EADS CASA aircraft factories are located.

As has reported earlier, Spanish officials had predicted that the sale would go through despite US objections and cost overruns. The Zapatero government needed the sale for its political base, and officials reasoned that EADS CASA could recoup the lost profits by selling the same planes to the Pentagon.

Monday, October 16, 2006

UN rebuffs Chavez on Security Council

The United Nations appears to be handing the Chavez regime an unexpected defeat this week - thanks to Chavez's bizarre speech at the General Assembly last month. Members not only fail to give Venezuela the two-thirds vote needed to admit it to the Security Council, but hand a signficant and surprise majority to the US-backed candidate, Guatemala.

With neither side coming close to the two-thirds of the UN's 192 members, a compromise Latin American candidate is likely to emerge.

"Diplomats said that his firebrand speech to this year’s UN General Assembly session, in which he railed against against the United States and called President Bush 'the devil,' may have hurt his nation’s chances," the Times of London reports.

(Meanwhile, the Cuban Communist Party mouthpiece Granma says the US is waging a "dirty war" against Venezuela at the United Nations.)

Ministry of Culture sponsors Oliver Stone film

The Venezuelan Ministry of Culture is sponsoring the debut of Oliver Stone's second pro-Cuba propaganda film, Prensa Latina reports. The film is about supposed recent US plots against the Castro regime.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

CITGO owner aids Sandinistas in Nicaragua election

The owner of CITGO is mobilizing Chavez's oil diplomacy to aid the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in its bid to regain political control of Nicaragua.

FSLN presidential candidate Daniel Ortega, who headed the Sandinista junta when allied with the Soviet Union in the 1980s, stands to benefit from the Venezuelan government's generous terms for diesel fuel.

The FSLN "guaranteed the deal clinched in April . . . [with] the state-run company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA)," Cuba's Prensa Latina propaganda agency reports.


The first shipment of PDVSA diesel reportedly arrived in Nicaragua on October 8. Sixty percent of the shipment is to be paid in 90 days (after the election) at free market rates, "but the remaining 40 percent will have a 23-year credit with low interest rates," according to Prensa Latina.

Joining Ortega at the fuel arrival celebration was PDVSA-Caribe President Alejandro Granados "and other important Venezuelan officials," the report says.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The force behind Senator Shelby's push for EADS CASA

Why has Senator Richard Shelby been so single-mindedly pushing EADS CASA planes on the Coast Guard and Pentagon?

First he pushed the CN-235 on the Coast Guard, only to have top Coast Guard admirals express misgivings and budget the funds for programs they said they really needed.

Then EADS CASA pledged to build an assembly plant and maintenance facility in Alabama. But that place would create only 150 jobs - not enough to merit a US senator's time and trouble.

Perhaps the answer to our question lies behind the Wall Street Journal's article about how a former Shelby staffer, Stewart Hall, has turned his contacts into cash through defense contracts and lobbying.

The story of Stewart Hall is just another Washington success story of an ex-congressional aide cashing in big on his Capitol contacts. Nothing unusual there.

Correspondent Brody Mullins, in his October 7 story, "Dialing for Dollars: A Lobbyist's New Twist," focuses on Hall's ownership of a defense contracting company in the Huntsville area.

There's another aspect that Mullins or another journalist might investigate: Hall is a lobbyist for EADS North America, which has pushed successfully for Congress to earmark money for the Coast Guard to buy its CN-235 planes, and is on a big offensive now to get a multibillion-dollar Pentagon contract to provide its C-295 as the new Army-Air Force Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA).

Shelby personally inserted the legislation for the earmarks.

He seems unconcerned that the CN-235 and C-295 aircraft, built in Spain by EADS CASA, are an employment program for Spain's Socialist Workers Party, which is harshly anti-American. For someone with as strong a national security record as he, Senator Shelby is out of character pushing for a foreign defense company, dominated by the French government and partially owned by the Russian government, which is seeking a blocking stake in the enterprise.

Senator Shelby has been silent about EADS CASA's sale of both aircraft to the Chavez regime in Venezuela, even though the Bush administration tried to block the sale on national security grounds.

Shelby has said nothing publicly about EADS CASA's deliberate circumvention of American non-proliferation law, and its open defiance - along with Russia - of the US military embargo on the Venezuelan regime.

He did not join his bipartisan colleagues in a June letter to President Bush, where senators expressed concern about EADS CASA and its modernization of Chavez's military.

Our Capitol Hill sources tell us that EADS North America lobbyists have lied about the nature of the Venezuela sale, saying that the US shouldn't be worried as the sale to Chavez won't go through.

But the Venezuelan government has said all along - as recently as this week - that the sale, despite snags, is still on the way.

Now the Wall Street Journal points out that Shelby's former staffer Stewart Hall is a defense lobbyist.

Dig a little deeper and we find that Hall lobbies for EADS North America, which in turn is representing EADS CASA and leads "Team JCA" - the EADS-led group of companies competing to build the Joint Cargo Aircraft.

As a reporter for Roll Call in 2004, Mullins noted that the Federalist Group, headed by Hall and another former Senate staffer, "signed up EADS North America" which had "a lot at stake" in the buy-America provisions of that year's defense authorization bill.

Hall's biography boasts of his expertise in "defense policy" and "appropriations," and that "he has been instrumental in altering and amending federal policy in the areas of . . . defense . . . ."

EADS spent $1.64 million to lobby Congress

As a new foreign defense company with its hands out for American tax dollars, the French/German/Spanish/Russian-owned EADS spent $1.64 million to influence Congress between 2002 and 2004, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

About one-quarter of that sum - $400,000 - went to the Federalist Group, the company owned by Senator Richard Shelby's former staffer Stewart Hall.

More recent figures are not yet available.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Chavez envoy reiterates interest in EADS CASA deal

The Chavez regime is still interested in the EADS CASA aircraft sale, and says that the plans to purchase the CN-235 and C-295 "continue" because Venezuela "wants those planes."

Venezuela's Ambassador to Spain, Arévalo Méndez Romero, tells Europa Press that Caracas is still interested in going through with the purchase. "The purchase of these airplanes goes forward, and therefore, continues," he says.

Ambassador Méndez Romero spoke to reporters in Seville, home of EADS CASA, after being received by Manuel Chaves, the socialist president of the Junta of Andalucia. The Venezuelan envoy called the meeting "very positive for the ties that are consolidating between Venezuela and Andalucia."

Andalucia is the region of Spain that is a stronghold of the ruling Socialist Workers Party.

Europa Press reports, "With respect to the contract of the twelve airplanes, that will be assembled in the EADS factory in Seville, the ambassador manifested that his country 'wants those planes' and assured that 'with time the problem of switching the technology [from American-made to non-US parts] will be resolved.'"

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

EADS CASA workers rip Israel as a terrorist state

EADS CASA workers in Spain are part of a radical labor union that beats the stuffing out of Israel.

It's pretty dramatic stuff. Here are some specific examples from the newsletter of their union, the anarchist General Confederation of Labor, known by its Spanish initials CGT:

August 17: CGT sponsors protest in Vigo, with CGT activists holding banner calling on President Zapatero to sever diplomatic relations with Israel. The banner - shown above - says, "Zapatero - Break with Israel!"

September 5: CGT announces boycott of new Spanish postage stamps commemorating the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Israel.

September 5: The CGT says there is "nothing to celebrate about Israel" and alleges that the Jewish state is responsible for "thousands of civilians murdered indiscriminately, among them hundreds of children." Israel, according to the CGT, has condemned its neighbors "to live in poverty and submission, in the midst of constant violence."

We thank the folks at for pointing out the contents of the newsletter of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) at the EADS CASA plants in Spain.

For EADS CASA union, 'terrorism' is workplace accidents - and Iran is OK

The workers who build the C-295 and CN-235s in Spain belong to a labor union that equates workplace accidents with terrorism, bitterly opposes the war on terrorism, and says that the Iranian government is just fine.

The General Confederation of Labor (CGT)'s view of terrorism is peculiar: for the union, the real terrorism is workplace accidents. The CGT newsletter's terrorism section is simply a list of accidents on the workplace.. Other parts of the newsletter accuse the United States and Israel of committing terrorism.

On September 4, the CGT denounced the "demonization of Iran." A heading in its newsletter says, "The United States Foments Terrorism Against Iran."

The CGT calls concerns about Iran's nuclear program a "lie," saying that "atomic weapons have been condemned by Islam in Iran." It quotes Ayatollah Khamenei as saying, "the manufacture, possession and use of the atomic bom are against the Islamic ethic."

This from the workers who want to build the planes for the US Coast Guard's Deepwater program and the Army and Air Force Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA)!

Venezuela says EADS CASA sale is still in works

While its lobbyists try to keep it ambiguous in Washington, EADS CASA continues actively to pursue its sale of 12 military aircraft to the Venezuelan government.

Venezuelan Vice President Luis Vicente Rangel tells a Spanish newspaper that despite US attempts to block the sale of EADS CASA C-295 and CN-235 planes to Caracas, the deal is still on.

The regime's recent announcement that it will buy 24 Russian Antonov transport planes does not mean that the EADS CASA sale is off. Venezuelan "government sources" tell El Diario de Cadiz that the Chavez government "is not renouncing the purchase of the planes of the EADS CASA enterprise."

"Nevertheless, the commercial operation is in serious difficulties because CASA is moving ahead on a path to sell CASA-295 [planes] to the United States."

Rangel says that Venezuela's relations with Spain are excellent, noting that "President . . . José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero supports us . . . with a valiant and intelligent posture and without prejudice."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Chavez official blasts US for blocking EADS CASA sale

A top Venezuelan official broadsided the United States for blocking the sale of 12 EADS CASA military planes to the Chavez regime.

Foreign Trade Minister Gustavo Márquez blasted what he called Washington's "deplorable pressure" on the Spanish Socialist Workers Party government to "block" the sale of 10 C-295 and 2 CN-235 military transport and patrol aircraft. He said the sale has been "paralyzed" for 20 months since the US moved to veto the transfer of EADS CASA planes that contain American technology.

Márquez made the comments in a meeting with Spanish journalists on October 2, adding that the Bolivarian regime "wishes to expand its commercial relations with Spain." The Barcelona-based business website has the story.

Venezuela militarization a 'concern,' says Rumsfeld

Venezuela's militarization is a troublesome development, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says at a hemispheric meeting in Managua. "I can understand neighbors being concerned," he tells reporters, according to AP.

Gen. Bantz Craddock, chief of the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), adds that Venezuela's accusations of an American plot against the regime are "mindless" and "way over the top." Craddock notes that other countries in the region are worried about Chavez's purchase of Russian warplanes.

Neither official is on record criticizing EADS CASA for helping the Russians arm Chavez.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Center for Security Policy says, Boycott EADS CASA

An influential Washington think-tank with close ties to the White House and Pentagon is calling for the US to blacklist EADS CASA for its attempts, over US national security objections, to help Chavez modernize his military aircraft fleet.

The Center for Security Policy devoted its September 27 Decision Brief to Venezuelan issuues. It singled out EADS CASA:

"EADS CASA, the French-German-Spanish-Russian aerospace company, has gone out of its way to ignore repeated U.S. requests not to sell C-295 military aircraft to Caracas. The company has circumvented the U.S. nonproliferation law and willfully broken the U.S. arms embargo against Venezuela. It has also misled Congress about the nature of the Venezuela deal. EADS CASA planned to recoup any losses incurred in its Venezuela sale by getting Congress to buy the C-295 for the new Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) program. Therefore, Congress and the Administration must declare that the U.S. will not purchase any EADS CASA aircraft until the Chavez regime is gone. That means removing the EADS CASA C-295 from consideration in the JCA program and removing funding for purchase of the aircraft by the Coast Guard Deepwater program."

Venezuela action items from the Center for Security Policy

The Center for Security Policy issued a list of policy recommendations for how the US should deal with Venezuela.

Those recommendations include:

1. Issue a presidential finding that would allow covert action against the Venezuelan regime.
2. Create an Inter-Agency Working Group on Venezuela that is run from the National Security Council.
3. Create a bipartisan White House Working Group on Venezuela for working with non-governmental organizations.
4. Systematically collect intelligence on Venezuelan leaders and officials, and use the information for psychological warfare campaigns to undermine the regime.
5. Ramp up a surrogate radio, TV and Internet media outlet for Venezuela, along the lines of Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, so they will be in place by the time the regime has extinguished the opposition media.
6. Ban all US government purchases of CITGO fuel and products, to stop transfers of US tax dollars to the Venezuelan government.
7. Ban all US government purchases of EADS CASA aircraft, in response for EADS CASA's insistence on selling military aircraft to Caracas.
8. Work with Latin American governments, even those on the left, to isolate the Chavez regime.

These policy recommendations are important, because the Center for Security Policy has been highly influential behind the scenes at the Pentagon, in Congress and in the intelligence community. Last week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, other senior officials from the Department of Defense, intelligence community and White House, and several congressmen and senators attended the Center's annual awards dinner. The Venezuela paper is the Center's first product since that event.

For the full text of the Center for Security Policy paper, click here.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

7-Eleven drops CITGO from its 2,100 stations

The 7-Eleven convenience store chain is dropping CITGO from its 2,100 gas stations and will replace the Venezuelan-owned supplier with its own independent brand.

7-Eleven spokesman Margaret Chabris tells AP, "Regardless of politics, we sympathize with many Americans' concern over derogatory comments about our country and its leadership recently made by Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez."

According to AP, "Chabris said a boycott of Citgo gasoline would hurt the 4,000 employees of the US subsidiary, who have no connection to Venezuela."

Friday, September 22, 2006

Blogger on Fox News to comment on Chavez

While Chavez was in Harlem haranguing a crowd at a local church, this blogger was on Fox News "Dayside" program giving a different perspective.

On the other side of the issue was a hysterical woman named Fanny who gave a pro-Chavez rant to the hoots of the studio audience. Fanny didn't say it on the program, but she is a representative of Casa de Maryland, an illegal alien advocacy group.

To read the rather chaotic transcript and view the video, click here:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Poll shows Venezuelans less supportive of Chavez

The latest election poll shows a weakening of support among Venezuelans for Hugo Chavez as he runs for another term as president. The numbers indicate that his support has dipped below 50 percent, Reuters reports. Even so, the opposition remains fragmented, meaning that even Chavez would win by plurality.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Opposition candidate says Chavez might have him killed

After being attacked by the regime's Bolivarian Circle mobs while campaigning in a poor area of Caracas, opposition presidential candidate Manuel Rosales said September 14 that Chavez might have him killed.

"I want to tell Venezuela that if something happens to me, if I am killed during any of those ambushes that are being laid, this was ordered by Chavez."

The threat could be very real: Rosales is reportedly tied with Chavez in the polls, according to El Universal.

With Fidel too ill to lead, Chavez dominates Havana Non-Aligned Summit

Hugo Chavez "dominated the summit opening" of the rejuvenated Non-Aligned Movement in Havana, pledging total support for Iran and teaming with North Korea and other designated state-sponsors of terrorism to rebuild the 118-member movement.

"The United States is attempting to deprive other countries of even their legitimate right to peaceful nuclear activities," said the second-ranking leader of North Korea, Kim Yong-nam.

Kim blamed the US for "threatening Korea using all sorts of maneuvers, accusing it of being part of an 'Axis of Evil.'"

Friday, September 15, 2006

Chavez pledges military support for Cuba and Iran

"Iran is under threat; there are plans to invade Iran, hopefully it won't happen, but we are with you," Chavez tells Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Havana.

"Under any scenario we are with you just like we are with Cuba," Chavez says in an AP report from the Cuban capital. "If the United States invades Cuba, blood will run. . . We will not have our arms crossed while bombs are falling in Havana or they carry Raul off in a plane."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Venezuela not recognizing Mexico’s new government

The Caracas regime is refusing to recognize the incoming government Mexican President-elect Felipe Calderon.

"The foreign minister Nicolas Maduro said it first, and I second him," says Chavez in an article of his regime’s mouthpiece, "We are evaluating. Venezuela has not recognized the new Mexican government."

As suspected during the Mexican presidential campaign, the Venezuelan government was covertly supporting leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who lost very narrowly in elections certified by international observers. Lopez Obrador has indicated that he will not accept losing and that he might form a parallel "government." It appears that Venezuela is waiting for Lopez Obrador’s next move.

Cuban 'doctors' on Chavez delegation to UN

Cubans "doctors" are among the 200 people Hugo Chavez wants to bring with him to New York when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly next week.

Chavez claims that the US is deliberately denying visas to his security and medical aides, but the US says it has not denied a single visa request for the UN visit. The Venezuelan government has made many last-minute requests and, complicating things further, some of the people on the Venezuelan delegation requesting visas are Cuban nationals.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Der Spiegel likens Venezuelan oil to blood transfusion for ‘bedridden man’

In a commentary about the Chavez cultural phenomenon, the German magazine Der Spiegel says that the ostentatious way in which Venezuela is providing oil to Cuba makes Fidel Castro look "rather like a bedridden old man kept alive after a blood transfusion."

Chavez: 9/11 might have been inside job

Speaking after the fifth anniversary of the Islamist terrorist attacks on the United States, the Venezuelan leader says the US government might have planned the 9/11 attacks.

Chavez says that a TV report that the Bush administration blew up New York’s World Trade Center is "plausible."

"The hypothesis is not absurd ... that those towers could have been dynamited," Chavez said in a speech to supporters. "A building never collapses like that, unless it’s with an implosion."

"The hypothesis that is gaining strength ... is that it was the same U.S. imperial power that planned and carried out this terrible terrorist attack or act against its own people and against citizens of all over the world," Chavez said. "Why? To justify the aggressions. . . ."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Heritage: Venezuela’s state terror ties are ‘alarming’

Venezuela’s cutoff of military cooperation with the US, its militarization, and its network of relationships with state sponsors of terrorism are "alarming" and must be countered, three Heritage Foundation analysts argue.

"His new military muscle portends another decade of bloodshed, misery, and lost economic opportunity in Latin America. America and its allies need to be ready to confront those plans — probably sooner rather than later," say Heritage’s Stephen Johnson, Ariel Cohen and William L. T. Schirano. The authors offer general guidelines for a US strategy.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman calls Venezuela 'adversarial regime'

Comparing Venezuela to Iran, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar said that the Chavez government is an "adversarial regime" that uses energy as a "weapon."

This is an important development, as Lugar - one of the most powerful foreign policy figures in the United States - is known as a political moderate who weighs his words very carefully.

Lugar made the comment in a written keynote speech at the Richard G. Lugar-Purdue University Summit on Energy Security on August 29. The full text of his speech appears on his homepage at:

Chavez hints at being president for life

Pounding his populist bandwagon to mobs of supporters, Hugo Chavez said he might work toward changing his new constitution so he can become president-for-life. The MercoPress agency carries the report.

Venezuela seen financing Mexican extremism

The Venezuelan government has been financing the huge mobs assembling in Mexico City to protest the official electoral outcome that is expected to affirm the presidential election of Felipe Calderon.

The Chavez regime, Mexican sources tell, is channeling the funds through the large Cuban embassy in Mexico City. Mexico and Venezuela have all but broken diplomatic relations over Chavez's intereference in the electoral campaign.

Calderon's opponent, Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has called for mass mob action in the event the election results don't go his way. and other radical websites have been championing Lopez Obrador and the mobs.

Calderon, of the center-right PAN party, won the July election by a fraction. European and other international election monitors say the voting process was clean and efficient.

The concern now is that Chavez-backed forces might try to prevent a democratic transfer of power and plunge Mexico into a constitutional crisis - or worse, police action against the protesters that could result in bloodshed and a propaganda victory for the pro-Bolivarian side.

China and Venezuela announce $5 billion development fund

US global influence was pushed another step backward September 3 when the Venezuelan regime announced a joint $5 billion development fund with the People's Republic of China.

Beijing reportedly will put up 60 percent, or $3 billion, of the fund, according to the Associated Press. The PRC also is said to plan to invest up to $5 billion in Venezuela's oil exploration and production infrastructure.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Report: Hezbollah in Venezuela radicalizing Indian tribe

Hezbollah operatives are working with an indigenous tribe on the Colombia-Venezuela border to convert them to Islam, according to a Venezuelan opposition website.

The Wayuu tribe, which has lived for centuries on the Guajira peninsula that forms the Colombia-Venezuela border. The tribesmen are free to cross to and from each country. According to the report on, Hezbollah is working on the Venezuelan side, "indoctrinating the members of this tribe, to convert them into Islamic fanatics."

Chavez alleges another coup plot

As Fidel Castro has done over the decades to legitimize his grip on power, Hugo Chavez piles claim upon claim of US-backed plots to assassinate him and/or overthrow his government.

The latest comes on September 2, when he accused opposition candidates for the December presidential election of conspiring with the US to oust his regime, UPI reports.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Regime honors Cuban troops in Angola

On a five-hour visit to Luanda, Hugo Chavez established diplomatic ties with Angola and praised the Cuban troops who fought to install the Marxist-Leninist regime in the 1970s and '80s.

"The South American head of State remembered the first Angolan President Agostihno Neto and then mentioned the island s martyrs, who shed their blood for the definitive freedom of the African nation, and Cuban top leader Fidel Castro," the Cuban propaganda agency Prensa Latina reports.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Chavez proposes anti-US unity with Syria

Visiting Damascus where he received a "hero's welcome," Hugo Chavez proposed unity against the United States with Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

"We have the same political vision and we will resist together the American imperialist aggression," Chavez said, according to AP.

An orchestrated welcome of Chavez included thousands of Syrians lining the streets waving Venezuelan flags.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Satirical 'Team JCA' gear available online

Someone has created satirical "Team JCA" buttons, T-shirts and other merchandise that makes fun of EADS CASA and its backers on the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA).

We think it's pretty funny. It's reminiscent of satirical art we've pulled from other websites. The set of four coasters, like the one pictured, is a must for anyone interested in Venezuela and US national security. The stuff is available online at: Team JCA Store. For fun we'll keep a link permanently in our right-hand column.

Slim chances seen for EADS CASA-Chavez deal

A Spanish report says that Madrid's plan to sell EADS CASA military aircraft to Venezuela has a slim chance of materializing, thanks to the US embargo of American-made parts in the CN-235 and C-295 aircraft.

Citing Spanish sources familiar with the deal, Europa Press reports in Spanish that the contract's process is proceeding "very badly" and has "few possibilities of coming to fruition."

Meanwhile in Washington, momentum continues to punish EADS CASA for trying to arm Chavez over US objections. EADS CASA lobbyists are pushing for the the Pentagon and Congress to buy the C-295 as the new Army-Air Force Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA).

National security hawks in the nation's capital are moving ahead to make an example of EADS CASA by banning it from consideration for the multibillion-dollar JCA deal.

Kuwait: 'Chavez pledges oil to support China's rise'

Visiting Beijing, Chavez proclaims that he wants to help the People's Republic of China become a great power to counter the United States.

"We need a China which grows more important and stronger by the day, because China is demonstrating to the world that you don't have to be an empire to be a great country," Chavez said in a report in the Kuwait Times.

Chavez told reporters he hopes to help the PRC build a petrochemical base in Venezuela.

"Deals to provide the oil include one with China National Petroleum Corp for the mature Zumano field which produces 50,000 bpd, one with Sinopec for a second field that can pump 20,000 barrels per day and a block in the Orinoco heavy oil belt," according to the Kuwait Times.

Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez underscored Chavez's words, saying that nearly half of Venezuela's new tanker fleet will be built in the PRC: "By 2012 we should have a fleet of 40 new tankers, 18 of which will come from China."

Friday, August 25, 2006

Venezuela illegally seizes US diplomatic bags

In a breach of protocol and international law, Venezuelan authorities have seized official US diplomatic bags from four American Embassy vehicles in Caracas.

The US Embassy protested the action, saying that American authorities followed all legal procedures in unloading the diplomatic cargo from US military aircraft. Regime officials accuse the US of smuggling weapons. The AP report about the incident appears in the China Post.

The Chavez regime accuses the US of smuggling "contraband."

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sweden's Saab will honor US military embargo

Sweden's Saab defense group Saab said August 4 that it would honor the US military embargo on the Bolivarian regime in Venezuela.

The move contrasts with the French-German-Spanish EADS CASA group, which is defying the embargo and trying to circumvent US nonproliferation laws, even as it lobbies the US Congress for a multibillion-dollar contract.

"The United States has imposed an arms embargo that affects products with American components and we have said that we intend to comply with it," Saab spokesman Peter Larsson says in a Spanish-language Reuters report.

The Saab products affected by the embargo include the Carl Gustaf missile-launcher and the Robot 70 antiaircraft system, Larsson said.

Venezuela to build missile-based air defense system

As it puts in place South America's largest offensive air force fleet, the Bolivarian regime announces its intent to build a missile-based anti-aircraft system.

"We are going to install in Venezuela a system of aerial defense ... [with] equipment that detects a target from 200 kilometers [124 miles)] away and fires heat-guided missiles," Chavez announced in a speech, Reuters reports. "We're going to shield Venezuela."

Chavez contradicted his defense minister, Raul Beduel, who had denied press reports in Russia that the regime was seeking such weapons. The Venezuelan leader inspected an air defense system while visiting Belarus.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Chavez aircraft supplier turns to Bolivia

The controversial European supplier of military aircraft to the Chavez regime now has a new customer: The Venezuelan-backed revolutionary government of Evo Morales in Bolivia.

EADS CASA's latest Latin American customer is the militantly anti-US government led by the democratically elected former chief of the coca growers' union - a linchpin in international organized crime's cocaine trafficking industry. Morales has spurned the US and allied himself with Caracas and state sponsors of terrorism.

"The Ministry of National Defense, the Bolivian Air Force and the Army, signed an agreement with the Spanish 'EADS CASA' enterprise, for the acquisition of three CASA C-212 S-100 aircraft, two for the Bolivian Air Force and one for the Army," reports.

The small military cargo planes, which were formerly owned by the Spanish army, are excellent for Bolivia's many short and unpaved airstrips. They can be reconfigured to haul cargo, serve as medevac craft, or hold up to 21 paratroopers. The C-212 can also be converted into a gunship.

Venezuelan leader Hugo Chaves has said he plans to distribute Kalashnikov assault rifles throughout Bolivia to prop up the Morales government.

Bolivian President Morales, pictured with Chavez and Fidel Castro, is considered the most extremist South American leader after Chavez.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Is Spain distancing itself from EADS CASA deal?

Spain's Socialist Workers Party government, which brokered the $600 million EADS CASA deal with Venezuela, looks as if it's distancing itself from the project.

With EADS CASA unable to find adequate replacement parts for all 58 US-made components, it finds itself in the embarrassing situation of not being able to deliver for the Hugo Chavez regime - its biggest foreign client - while it tries to compete for the Pentagon's multibillion-dollar Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) contract.

Un-named Spanish officials responded to questions from the EFE news agency about the statement of retired Venezuelan General Alberto Muller that the deal was falling through.

"Sources in the Spanish government told EFE that they don't have any confirmation of Muller's declarations relative to the cancelation of the purchase, and underlined that the operation is a question that affects a private business.

Spanish Foreign Ministry source told EFE that the government "treats the operation as 'purely commercial' between the EADS CASA company and Venezuelan authorities."

If true, that means that EADS CASA lobbyists in Washington were lying when they said the Venezuela deal was beyond the company's control and was the responsibility of CASA, the formerly state-owned Spanish aircraft manufacturer that was privatized when it was incorporated into EADS.

Bush: Regime is a threat to democracy

President George W. Bush, in response to a reporter's question, says that the Venezuelan regime is not a military threat to the United States, but that it is a threat to peaceful and civil government.

Concerning the Venezuelan dictator, Bush tells Fox News, "I view him as a threat of undermining democracy."

Chavez: "Viva Fidel Castro!"

From Vietnam, where he is working to build an anti-US alliance, Hugo Chavez comments on the grave medical condition of the dictator of Cuba, pronouncing, "Viva Fidel Castro!"

Reuters reports from Hanoi: "'With my heart, I wish that President Fidel Castro will quickly recover to always stay with us,' Chavez said at a meeting of Vietnamese businesses during an official visit to Hanoi, which also maintains close ties with Havana.

"He then raised his fist and shouted: 'Long live Fidel Castro!'"

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ahmadinejad gives Chavez Iran's highest medal

Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bestowed Hugo Chavez with the Islamic Republic Medal,

"The medal was awarded as an expression of gratitude for Chavez's support for Iran's stance on the international scene, especially its opposition to a resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency," Iran's state-run television said.

"He is the one who has resisted imperialism for years and has defended the interests of his and other Latin American countries," Ahmadinejad said, according to AP.

Team JCA - Joint Chavez Aircraft

Congressional staff who follow Venezuela are having fun watching EADS North America CEO Ralph Crosby squirm over EADS CASA's $600 million sale of military aircraft to Hugo Chavez.

Some staffers say that Crosby denied that the deal would go through - at the very time his parent company in Europe was accepting Venezuela's cash deposits for the plane.

Now, Crosby is facing the embarrassment of having to explain why he made such a denial when Venezuelan Defense Minister Raul Baduel says the deal's still on.

EADS CASA is lobbying hard to sell the exact same planes to the US to serve as the new Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA). It even has a new front group - "Team JCA" - designed to make the EADS CASA-led consortium look more American, by putting junior partner Raytheon front and center.

Some wags on Capitol Hill are saying "Team JCA" is for "Joint Chavez Aircraft" and are circulating a satirical picture montage, shown above, of Crosby and Chavez.

Critics of EADS CASA's help for Chavez set up their own satirical website,

EADS CASA still working with Chavez regime to circumvent US law, Baduel affirms

EADS CASA and the Spanish government continue to work closely with the Chavez regime to circumvent US nonproliferation law.

That's what Venezuelan Defense Minister Raul Baduel affirmed in a July 28 news conference. EADS CASA and Spain are working hard to replace all American-made components from the planes they are selling the regime to get around the US International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) law designed to stop weapons proliferation to "bad actors" abroad.

"The Defense Minister said in a news conference that EADS CASA and the Venezuelan government agreed to maintain the acquisition of the ten C-29 transport planes and two C2-195 [sic] maritime patrol planes, with a 'margin that allows for alternatives in the substitution of components of non-European origin,'" AP reports in Spanish from Caracas.

Defense Minister says EADS CASA deal is still on track

The Venezuelan Defense Ministry has officially declared that the EADS CASA airplane deal is still on track.

A top military aide to Hugo Chavez had thrown the matter into confusion when he said the deal was off because the planes, shorn of their US-made components to circumvent American nonproliferation law, were becoming too expensive.

EADS CASA's sale of CN-235 and C-295 military patrol and transport planes has been an embarrassment for its lobbyists in Washington, who want to sell the same aircraft to the Pentagon to serve as the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA).

General Raúl Isías Baduel (pictured), Venezuela's minister of defense, announced at a July 28 news conference that "the negotiation that is proceeding with the Spanish enterprise [EADS CASA] is for 496 million euros for the purchase of ten C-295 medium-transport aircraft and two [CN-235] maritime patrol aircraft," Spain's ABC newspaper reports from Caracas.

According to the Spanish report, Baduel "indicated that the contract was 'certified by the contraloría [accounting tribunal] of the Ministry of Defense on the 28th of November of last year.' The minister added that the Spanish enterprise 'still has not presented the guarantees.' In saying that, he referred to two deposits of 20 percent, for a value of 99 million euros each."

Ayatollah Khameni and Chavez meet

During his visit to Iran, Hugo Chavez met with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, where they "exchanged talks of bilateral and international interest," the Cuban Prensa Latina propaganda agency reports.