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Hugo Chávez's Military Buildup and Iranian Ties

1:05 PM, Oct 19, 2010 • By VANESSA NEUMANN
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While these budding alliances between Moscow, Tehran and Caracas are of serious concern to the international community, it is unclear what will come of the nuclear deal with Russia. Among other things, since Venezuela isn’t meeting its OPEC quotas, it doesn’t seem to have the money to pay for the reactors; moreover, as I wrote last week, there is evidence that Chávez may find himself out of office with the 2012 elections.

Indeed, it’s not clear how these commercial, military and energy accords will play domestically. Chávez rationalizes that the nuclear program is necessary in a country like Venezuela that regularly suffers energy shortages. But those shortages result from a lack of investment in infrastructure. After all, in addition to enormous oil and natural gas reserves, Venezuela has some of the greatest hydroelectric dams in the world—which are poorly maintained and often not working properly. And now instead of fixing things at home, Chávez is spending Venezuelans’ patrimony abroad in order to project power, not Venezuela’s, but his own. 

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