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U.S.: Venezuela after nuclear technology

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
Who didn't see this one coming? I think itw as Otis who called this one months ago, saying that we'd start hearing things soon about Venezuela going after WMD's.




Venezuela seeks nuclear technology
By Rowan Scarborough
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
October 17, 2005

The Venezuelan government has made overtures to various countries about obtaining nuclear technology, according to U.S. officials, who worry that President Hugo Chavez might be taking the first steps in a long road to develop nuclear weaponry.
A Bush administration official monitoring Latin America said the entreaties have included communications with Iran, with whom Venezuela maintains increasingly close ties. Washington has branded Iran a state sponsor of terrorism and accuses it of pursuing nuclear weapons through its atomic industry.
Russia has sold Iran a nuclear reactor from which Iran could eventually develop nuclear-grade materials. Russia has promised the West that it will collect all nuclear waste.
"We are keeping an eye on Venezuela," said one senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "My sense is that Venezuela has not been as successful with its nuclear entreaties with other countries as it would have liked."
The administration official said there is no clear evidence that Mr. Chavez wants to develop nuclear weapons. But, the source said, there is consistent intelligence reporting that his government has discussed obtaining technology from other countries.
Mr. Chavez, a populist who has ratcheted up anti-U.S. rhetoric as he forges ties with some of America's adversaries, is in the middle of a military buildup that some analysts in the Bush administration fear is a precursor to ending elections.
"Chavez would like to have everything. He has the money to do it," said the official, noting Venezuela's vast oil reserves. "He wants new fighter jets. He wants to put a satellite in space."
He has formed an alliance with Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who has sent thousands of government officials to Venezuela. Mr. Chavez is forming what Pentagon officials say are neighborhood militias modeled after Cuba's communist apparatus to maintain iron-fisted control.

The U.S. administration official said Venezuela has begun taking delivery of more than 100,000 Russian-made AK-47s, some of which will arm the militias. It is also ramping up production of small-arms rounds that the Bush administration fears will be shipped to rebels in democratic parts of Latin America.
But more troubling to the Bush administration is Mr. Chavez's close ties to the mullahs in Iran. He visited Tehran last year and held a series of meetings with Iran's ruling mullahs. He then publicly supported Iran's quest for a huge nuclear industry.
"They are quite kissy-kissy with Iran," said the U.S. official. "There is a lot of back and forth. Iranians show up at Venezuelan things. They are both pariah states that hang out together."
During an interview on Arab-language Al Jazeera television, Mr. Chavez, who had just completed his trip to Iran, was asked about his confrontation with the United States and whether he feared being deposed as Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was.
"I am on the offensive," Mr. Chavez responded, according to a transcript from the British Broadcasting Corp., "because attack is the best form of defense. We are waging an offensive battle. Yesterday, in Tehran, the spiritual guide [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei told me a true statement: power, power."
Mr. Chavez called the U.S. war on terrorism "terrorism itself."
Concern in Washington over Mr. Chavez's nuclear ambitions arose this week after the Argentine newspaper Clarin reported Sunday that Venezuela had asked Buenos Aires to sell it a nuclear reactor.
Two days later, the Latin News Daily quoted Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez as denying the report. He said Venezuela was merely in talks with Argentina and Brazil to explore the peaceful scientific uses of the atom. Mr. Chavez periodically has expressed an interest in building a nuclear reactor to generate electric power.
The senior U.S. official said Washington is confident that Argentina would not sell Venezuela a reactor or any technology that could lead to nuclear weapons.
When asked about the issue Tuesday, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said the U.S. expects all countries to adhere to nonproliferation treaties. Another department spokesman contacted by The Washington Times declined to discuss Venezuela beyond what Mr. Ereli said.
A person in the Venezuelan Embassy's press office in Washington said that only the ambassador talks to the press and that he was not available for comment.

http://www.washtimes.com/national/20051016-112537-4689r_page2.htm
 

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
This part was a little worrisome though...

During an interview on Arab-language Al Jazeera television, Mr. Chavez, who had just completed his trip to Iran, was asked about his confrontation with the United States and whether he feared being deposed as Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was.
"I am on the offensive," Mr. Chavez responded, according to a transcript from the British Broadcasting Corp., "because attack is the best form of defense. We are waging an offensive battle. Yesterday, in Tehran, the spiritual guide [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei told me a true statement: power, power."
 

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
hmmm... this is strange, I can't find anything about that interview (about being on the offensive) on either the BBC or Al Jazeera websites.
 

man_slut

TRIBE Member
Mugabe, Chavez slam U.S. at U.N. event

In other related news:

Mugabe, Chavez slam U.S. at U.N. event
Zimbabwe leader compares Bush, Blair to Hitler, Mussolini

ROME, Italy (AP) -- The leaders of Zimbabwe and Venezuela on Monday denounced President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair as "unholy men," and blamed the United States and other developed countries for world hunger, pollution and war.

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez turned their speeches at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization into tirades, with the African leader describing Blair and Bush as "two unholy men of our millennium."

Chavez accused what he called "the North American empire" of threatening "all life on the planet," while Mugabe compared Bush and Blair, for their alliance in the war in Iraq, to Germany's Adolf Hitler and Italy's Benito Mussolini, who were World War II allies.

U.S. representatives at the U.N. organization's gathering in Rome said Mugabe and Chavez made "a mockery" of the occasion with their scathing remarks.

The gathering, a day after the United Nations marked World Food Day, commemorated the organization's 60th anniversary.

The verbal attacks by Chavez and Mugabe drew cheers and applause from many of the delegates. The organization has 188 members.

"These leaders chose to politicize an event that was meant to be about feeding the hungry people of the world," Tony Hall, the U.S. ambassador to U.N. food agencies, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

"Mugabe, especially, should not have been invited," Hall said. "He would be the last person, I think, an organization should invite to talk about hunger."

A defiant Mugabe defended the land reforms blamed for ruining the country's agriculture-based economy and contributing to widespread famine there.

Agreement avoids restrictions
The European Union has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe's political elite that include travel restrictions. But an agreement between Italy and the U.N. agency allows all delegations to go to the organization's headquarters, FAO spokesman Nick Parsons said.

Despite the restrictions, Mugabe has been allowed to do some travel in the countries that imposed the sanctions, including U.N. General Assembly sessions in New York.

The seizure of white-owned commercial farms in the past five years and prolonged drought have crippled Zimbabwe's agriculture-based economy. About 4 million Zimbabweans are in urgent need of food aid in what was once a regional breadbasket, according to U.N. estimates.

Recent constitutional changes in Zimbabwe will prevent white owners of confiscated farms from recovering their land and could be used to strip critics of their passports and the right to travel.

Mugabe defended the land reforms as "redressing the past gross imbalances in land ownership which were institutionalized by British colonialism."

"Countries such as the U.S. and Britain have taken it upon themselves to decide for us in the developing world, even to interfere in our domestic affairs and to bring about what they call regime change," he said.

Chavez praised Mugabe's land reform, saying the African leader had been "demonized" and that similar reforms were being enacted in his own country.

The Venezuelan leader used his speech to rail against woes that he blamed on rich countries -- including climate change, agricultural trade barriers and debt interest payments by developing nations. He called for wealthy nations to cancel debt, or give poor countries a grace period of at least a year on the interest payments.

Brazilian president focuses on hunger
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva appealed to rich countries to put hunger on their political agendas. He also suggested poor countries should stamp out the corruption that often diverts aid.

"The poor countries must give an example of honesty, of ethics, so that we truly deserve the solidarity from millions and millions of people who would like to contribute but sometimes are not sure their money will go where it should go," the Brazilian leader said.

The U.N. agency said it had signed a deal with Brazil to run food programs for schoolchildren in developing countries around the world.CNN YO!
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
The verbal attacks by Chavez and Mugabe drew cheers and applause from many of the delegates.
Rumour has it that Chavez and Mugabe also gave a "shout out" to Kanye West in their speeches.
 

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
^^ haha!

What the heck does Chavez think he's doing by associating himself with Mugabe?

He's the last man I'd want to be standing next to saying "yeah, he's right!".
 
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