Chavez to Start Kalashnikov Factory.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ government has struck a deal with
Russia to build Latin America’s first factory making Kalashnikov rifles.
Venezuela has already taken delivery of 30,000 new Kalashnikov AK-103
assault rifles from Russia, part of a contract for 100,000 of the
weapons favored by guerrillas worldwide, the Financial Times reports.
The license to build the weapons factory in Venezuela comes after the
U.S. announced a ban on arm sales to Caracas, saying Chavez’s government
was failing to cooperate in counterterrorism efforts.
Chavez has insisted that the U.S. has plans to invade Venezuela and is
seeking to modernize his armed forces.
"We will be ready to do anything to defend our sovereignty,” he recently
The country is also reportedly buying patrol vessels from Spain and
Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia.
The U.S. is concerned that Venezuelan arms could fall into the hands of
rebels fighting the government in Colombia, an American ally, according
to the Times.
Army Brigadier General Frederick Rudesheim said of Venezuela’s arms
buys: "When you have that sort of wholesale purchase by a government
that is so out of balance with the needs of that government, it can be
nothing other than destabilizing.”
June 8, 2006