by: Alessia Lai
Caracas and Moscow forge ties, deepen an already strong friendship. And the reaction in Washington not long in coming. Punctual, on the eve of the first visit of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Venezuela signed several bilateral agreements, press rumors leaked cleverly sent a clear message Venezuelan Russian axis.
Thursday, the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo, revealed contacts “high level” between the Government of Brasilia and Washington directed the signing of a negotiated to create a joint military base in Rio de Janeiro. The base will be part of a triangle between the United States, Portugal and Brazil, will cover the South Atlantic area and will, officially, for multinational cooperation “against drug trafficking and terrorism.” The plot is always the same: the fight against drug used as a smokescreen to cover the strategic moves aimed at U.S. control of Latin America.
What better way to disrupt the first summit between Vladimir Putin and Hugo Chavez? The centrality of Lula, pointing to the leadership of the Latin American continent, cleverly used by the U.S. threatens to undermine the regional integration in Latin America is so hard trying to build.
However the two leaders – who could also count on the presence of their Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales, who also spoke specifically to engage in fruitful relations with Moscow – were not intimidated and have made great strides towards proceeded to the signing of agreements finance, agriculture, aerospace and atomic energy. It was addressed the implementation of binational bank between Russia and Venezuela and the opportunity has been exploited for delivery of the last 4 Mi-17 helicopters, of the 38 sold by Moscow to Caracas in 2006. In package-defense “even an agreement for 92 Russian T-72 tanks and missile launchers marketing. In the energy sector, on Wednesday, attended by Russian Vice Premier Igor Sechin, was signed – at the seventh meeting of the Intergovernmental Russian-Venezuelan high-level – a major deal to create a Russian-Venezuelan oil company to operate in Junín Bloque 6 of fault Orinoco.
The joint venture will be made up to 60% by PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company, and 40% by the Consortium National Petroleum (CNP), Russian oil formed by Rosneft, Lukoil, TNK-BP, Gazprom and Surgutneftegaz. With this agreement, Moscow and Caracas hope to start producing in 2010 already 50 thousand barrels of oil a day, aiming to increase production to 450 thousand.
Venezuela is now for years a major economic and political partners of Russia in Latin America. A union which will also join the Bolivia: Putin spoke at the summit, Chavez, Evo Morales has signed loan agreements with Moscow on energy, finance and defense. He probably discussed a Russian loan of $ 100 million for the Bolivian armed forces and a technical mission to Bolivia’s Gazprom to explore oil and gas reserves.
Ties of this sort can not intimidate Washington, in line with the approach of “democratic” the current administration does, however, the voice as big as some would have happened years ago with Bush in command. The tactic is more subtle but no less predictable: the U.S. trying to sell pieces in strategic places in Latin America.
However, attention began to appear just under the previous Republican administration in 2006 Caracas was accused of not cooperating “sufficiently to the fight against terrorism” and Washington imposed the ban on selling weapons to Venezuela U.S. and international companies that use technology U.S.. As a result the government of Hugo Chavez turned to new partners impervious to threats from Washington on defense. Moscow was the natural ally. Since then Venezuela has bought arms from Russia for a total of 4,000 million dollars.
Given its 2006 restoration of the U.S. Fourth Fleet in the Caribbean. While in the White House last fall signed a pact with Bogotá for the use of seven bases in Colombia. Shortly after the end of 2009, an agreement with Panama has allowed Washington to establish 11 military bases operational again for the “fight against drug trafficking.” A “game” which now seems to want to join Brazil.