Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Says Russia Gave Him a $4 Billion Credit To Buy Weapons When He Visited Moscow Last Month
CHAVEZ: "We are simply doing the task of defending the fatherland from the threat of empire and its allies"
CARACAS, Nov 27 - Russia gave Venezuela a $4 billion credit to buy weapons when President Hugo Chavez visited Moscow last month, adding to billions the socialist leader has already spent on re-equipping the army.
Venezuela and Russia have forged deep ties in energy and defense, with Russian investment flowing into the OPEC member's oil fields at the same time as Chavez has become one of Moscow's most important weapons customers.
Washington views with suspicion Chavez's purchases of tanks, fighter jets and air defense systems in the last few years but the soldier-turned-president says he is merely modernizing Venezuela's aging kit.
"We were in Russia not long ago and the Russian government has now given us a $4 billion credit to help us with defense equipment," Chavez said on Saturday at a ceremony to celebrate 90 years of Venezuela's air force.
"We are simply doing the task of defending the fatherland from the threat of empire and its allies."