|For the Venezuelan Vice-President, Rumsfeld's statements are part of a “routine” that show the U.S. government's interventionist character that fortunately all Latin America rejects.|
Credit: Venezuelanalysis - file
Caracas, Venezuela. April 25, 2005 (Venezuelanalysis.com).- Venezuelan Vice-President José Vicente Rangel, responded today to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's renewed criticisms of Venezuela's recent weapons purchase.
"I don't see any logic for such an appetite for weapons at this moment," Rumsfeld was quoted in an interview with Brazilian daily Veja.
“His cynicism is unlimited,” Rangel said in a statement released today, highlighting the U.S. war-related expenditures, which according to him reaches 300 billion dollars. “The U.S. Congress is debating the approval of 80 billion dollars for war,” he added.
The U.S. government has expressed opposition to Venezuela's recent purchase of weapons, which includes AK-47 rifles and 10 military helicopters from Russia, as well as Super Tucano light-attack propeller planes from Brazil, which are supposed to improve patrol efforts along the porous and extensive border with Colombia.
Rumsfeld avoided mentioning the Brazilian weapons sale to Venezuela directly, both during this interview and during his visit to Brazil last month.
The U.S. criticisms of Venezuela's weapons purchase does not seem to be shared by other governments in the region. Last February, Colombian Foreign Minister Carolina Barco dismissed a possible arms race saying that Venezuela's arms purchases respond to Venezuela's internal needs. Other Colombian government officials have also stated that they saw no signs of an arms race.
Last week, during a visit to Russia, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the U.S. is "concerned" about some Russian arms sales in Latin America and specifically to Venezuela. The Russian government responded by saying that the sales do not violate any international agreements.
Recent criticisms of Venezuela by Rumsfeld have also been rejected by Brazil's ruling Workers Party, which issued a statement in defense of Venezuela during Rumsfeld's recent visit to Brazil, asserting that Latin America is no longer an extension of the Unites States.
"Venezuela has not received any complaints or protests for the re-equipment of its Armed Force from any county in the region," Rangel said.
A non-official translation of Rangel's statement is reproduced below:
“As soon as I read the statements by Mr. Rumsfeld, I played the cassette tape that I have made to respond to U.S. spokespersons each time they attack Venezuela. The recording is the following:
Venezuela re-equips its Armed Force in order to address the needs of the institution and the defense of the constitutional and democratic regime, and it does so exercising its sovereignty.
Venezuela does not re-equip its Armed Force with war purposes because it is a peaceful country that profoundly respects international order and the sovereignty of all countries.
Venezuela has not received any complaint, protest, or observations for the re-equipment of its Armed Force from any county in the region. Actually, all countries have had an attitude of respect and understanding.
Mr. Rumsfeld himself recognizes the will of all countries in the region, which obviously includes Venezuela, to work in harmony.
Just as with other spokespersons for the U.S. Government, once again there has been a reckless and impertinent statement, which is part of the routine of Washington bureaucrats, and which shows that their position has an interventionist character that fortunately all Latin America rejects.
Finally, with regard to the preoccupation shown by The War Lord -Mr. Rumsfeld- for what he describes as "Venezuela´s appetite for war," it is worth mentioning that currently the U.S. Congress is debating the approval of 80 billion dollars for war, which the total cost for such purpose in that nation reaches 300 billion dollars. Obviously, when the U.S. Defense Secretary speaks about an "appetite for weapons in Venezuela," his cynicism is unlimited.
For the Venezuelan Vice-President, Rumsfeld's statements are part of a “routine”that shows its “interventionist character that fortunately all Latin America rejects”.
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