VIO News Blog

October 17, 2008

Chavez to US: We Need Dialogue, We Need Each Other

“The U.S. is a great country,” President Chavez said yesterday in a speech in which he emphasized the need for dialogue between nations. Dow Jones reports that Chavez dismissed the idea of U.S. energy independence as a myth and an impossibility. “They want to free themselves of what? What we need to do is talk, we need to reach agreements. We need each other,” Chavez said.

In related news, the AP reports that U.S. presidential hopefuls have vastly overestimated the amount of money the U.S. spends on foreign oil; just $246 billion in 2007, instead of the often cited figure of $700 billion. Meanwhile, Reuters refers to Venezuela’s Chavez as a “price hawk” in OPEC, when in fact he has consistently advocated for fair and stable prices. Chavez has at times deemed the price of oil too low, and at other times said that it has become exaggerated, particularly at the expense of poor nations and communities. Venezuela sends 300,000 barrels per day of subsidized oil to needy countries in the region through programs like Petrocaribe.

The government of Venezuela is negotiating the purchase of tanks from Russia. According to AFP, the equipment is intended “to replace aging ordnance and to improve the country’s security and defense capabilities.” Venezuela’s aging U.S.-made military goods have become difficult to maintain in the years since the U.S. imposed an arms embargo preventing further purchases.

Six suspects have been detained in the October 1st murder of a student in Venezuela’s Western state of Zulia. The investigation is pending and motives remain unknown, but the AP reports that those arrested include three army intelligence agents and a police officer. Zulia, which borders Colombia, is a notoriously violent part of Venezuela. Colombia’s paramilitary violence is the subject of two articles today; the AP and Washington Post report that Human Rights Watch research shows President Uribe has blocked investigations of ties between his government and paramilitary thugs.

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