US blocks Spanish planes deal with Caracas

13th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

13 January 2006, MADRID — The U.S. government has blocked a planned sale of 12 military aircraft from Spain to Venezuela, reigniting the row between Washington and Caracas.

13 January 2006

MADRID — The U.S. government has blocked a planned sale of 12 military aircraft from Spain to Venezuela, reigniting the row between Washington and Caracas.

The U.S. blocked the deal on the grounds that the planes contain U.S. military technology, and cannot be transferred without approval from Washington, a U.S. embassy spokesman said.

Spain has argued that the planes were not for offensive military purposes, but were part of a military equipment package that also includes patrol boats. The boats were unaffected by the U.S. block.

Depending on how the planes were configured, they could possibly have contained a significant amount of U.S. military technology.

Relations between the Bush administration and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have soured in recent years, and the discord has grown since Bush began his second term.

U.S. officials have expressed concern over Chavez's policies, his friendship with Cuban President Fidel Castro and his crackdown on the news media, whose owners have largely opposed his rule.

In notifying Spain of the decision,  the U.S. government repeated a previous Bush administration claim that Chavez, while democratically elected, uses his country's democratic institutions to impose authoritarian rule.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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