Arms Deal

Spain and Venezuela have signed an arms deal. Despite apparent rumblings of discontent, the United States is unlikely to be too bothered. Post-Iraq, Zapatero’s government has no material interest in damaging relations further with the US, and probably sees itself as a sort of interlocutor between the United States and Latin American countries. To my mind, it seems fanciful to think that this is part of a strategy to create a counterweight to US power.

The sale of arms to Venezuela allows Spain to expand its influence in the region. For them, the fact that the arms are being sold to Hugo Chavez is probably not that important either, given the magnitude of the deal. There is some talk that the sale of arms to Venezuela will put the skids on the sale of 40 planes, in a bigger deal, to the United States. The Spanish government either knows that this is not going to happen, or that its material interests are best served by greater influence in its former colonies. For the latter, such influence would depend, to a large extent, on useful relations with the United States.

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November 2005

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