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10 September 2008

Russian Bombers Train in Venezuela

Hugo Chavez, the socialist leader of Venezuela, invited Russian Tu-160 bombers to train in Venezuela and over international waters. This is the first time since the cold war ended that Russian strategic bombers have landed in the Western Hemisphere. NATO fighters escorted the Russian bombers on their 13-hour flight over the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans to Venezuela. Russia also has plans to send a naval squadron with long-range patrol planes to Venezuela in November for joint military exercises in the Caribbean Sea.

Chavez has sided with Russia over the Russian invasion of Georgia. Chavez has spent large sums of oil money on Russian weapons such as Sukhoi jet fighters, helicopters, and Kalashnikov rifles. He hopes to add Russian submarines to his arsenal. He is having Russia set up an air-defense system with rockets and long-range radar as well. Chavez also claims that he will be buying 24 K-8 light attack aircraft from China.

He has been using a flight simulator in hopes of being allowed to fly one of the Russian bombers. He says he wants to fly low past his friend Fidel Castro.

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