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Spain violates EU regulations in arms sales to Venezuela

By Aleksander Boyd

London 09.04.05 | In view of the utter silence of the anglo phone MSM with respect to recent announcements of chemical warfare agents and other weapons sold by Spain to Venezuela [1] I decided to dig a little and the findings, as usual, are rather grim. It turns out that Venezuela has been spending, since 2000 [2], substantial amounts of money in the procurement of defence and "Double Use" materials. According to Spain's Customs and Special Taxes Department of the Treasury €247.509 and €2.812.827 worth of defence and 'Double Use' materials were acquired by the Hugo Chavez administration in that year; in 2001 the figure dropped to €30.000 in defence [3] and augmented in 'Double Use' to €3.26 million [4]; then in 2002 the numbers were €3.63 million in category 7 (defence materials such as bombs, grenades, torpedoes, land mines and missiles) and €3.76 million respectively [5]; 2003 saw a decrease to €2.527.029 and €3.139.238 [6]; and lastly in 2004 reportedly Venezuela was the only country under the category "countries to which chemical warfare agents and radioactive materials were sold". Worth noting that the said category includes "biological and nerve agents destined to chemical warfare" of which Venezuela bought €30.374. Another €509.229 consisted of "paramilitary and security material" which encompasses "firearms or gas weapons, bombs, grenades, explosives, armoured and all terrain vehicles, water canons, telescopic sights and night vision devices, etc."

It remains unclear as yet whether or not the Chavez regime has definitely bought chemical warfare agents and radioactive materials for this year's report will not be available until May according to Pedro Mejia, Spain's Secretary of State for Tourism and Commerce [7]. However it is, indeed, extremely worrying to learn about Hugo Chavez' spending spree in defence materials and even more so when one adds to the equation the ships, rifles, planes and helicopters recently ordered to Spain, Russia and Brazil and the covert conversations about missiles with North Korea. Further his announcement of the formation of a 1.5 million strong reservists army that will repel potential US military attacks and destroy Venezuela's oil installations if an invasion were ever to materialize coupled with the increasingly antagonistic and belligerent attitude towards those who have dared to criticized him in the international arena should have been enough for Spain and the EU to block the aforementioned weapons sales in compliance to the existing European Union Code of Conduct on Arms Exports [8], whose criteria to allow arms sales contains the following jewels:


The respect of human rights in the country of final destination


The internal situation in the country of final destination, as a function of the existence of tensions or armed conflicts


Preservation of regional peace, security and stability


The behaviour of the buyer country with regard to the international community, as regards in particular to its attitude to terrorism, the nature of its alliances and respect for international law


The existence of a risk that the equipment will be diverted within the buyer country or reexported under undesirable conditions

There are other very interesting and just premises in the Code but, of course, to expect that spineless EU bureaucrats sitting in Brussels or immensely-grateful-towards-terrorists elected officials show any consideration for the well being of citizens of a Latin American banana republic and its neighbours is mere wishful thinking for one must not forget the widely espoused and ever appeasing behaviour of Europeans when it comes to dealing with third world ruthless rulers. What a rotten place this is...

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