Banner Ad
Blog

Chávez Vows to Start Nuclear Energy Project with Russian Assistance

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez repeated yesterday his intention to jumpstart a nuclear energy program and announced the creation of an atomic energy commission between Venezuela and Russia. Chávez attempted to dismiss concerns over the possible future militarization of the proposed program: “We’re not going to make an atomic bomb, so don’t bother us like with Iran.”

The pronouncement follows news of a $2.2 billion loan from Russia that Venezuela will use to finance arms purchases, including 92 Soviet-era T-72 tanks, short-range missiles and anti-aircraft weapons systems. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the issue saying Venezuelan arms purchases  “outpace all other countries in South America and certainly raise the question as to whether there is going to be an arms race in the region.” Venezuela has already bought more than $4 billion worth of Russian arms since 2005.

Earlier this month, President Chávez met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to discuss a possible nuclear partnership. Talk of nuclear energy development, coupled with news of major conventional arms purchases has fueled fears in the United States that Chávez’ actions pose “a serious challenge to stability in the Western Hemisphere,” according to State Department spokesman Ian Kelly.

Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, Nuclear energy, Hillary Clinton, Russia, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Venezuelan Military

blog comments powered by Disqus


Like what you're reading?

Subscribe to Americas Quarterly's free Week in Review newsletter and stay up-to-date on politics, business and culture in the Americas.