• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Chavez to Putin: "I Want to Be Your Friend"

    Almost a year ago, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez told President Obama, “I want to be your friend.”  Today the much-photographed handshake at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad has become a cold shoulder.   Sadly like much of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy, relations with arch-anti-American Hugo Chavez have fallen well short of expectations.  Good intentions, positive gestures, and, a little naïveté has not stopped Hugo Chavez from pursuing his mission to consolidate authoritarian rule in Venezuela and undermine U.S. leadership and influence in the Americas.

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s visit to Caracas on April 2 is designed to show that Russia is once again a strategic player in the Americas.   It highlights the fact that Putin and Chavez share common objectives. They are united in hostility toward the U.S. and aim to trim U.S. global influence for democracy, economic freedom, and stable security.

    The two countries enjoy an increasingly cozy buyer-seller relationship in advanced arms.  Russia has sold billions of dollars worth of sophisticated arms to Venezuela.  AK-47s, attack jets, tanks, armored personnel carrier, S-300 missile systems, and surface-to-air missiles have fattened Chavez’s arsenals and helped ignite a regional arms race.  More are on the way.  Finally, as major oil and gas producers, Chavez and Putin want to exploit the energy vulnerabilities of Western importers in order to keep prices high and drain off the resources needed to sustain their political and military ambitions.

    While in Caracas, Putin is also scheduled to meet with Bolivia’s Evo Morales.

    Some in Moscow and elsewhere might find it cruelly ironic that in the aftermath of the Moscow subway bombings, Putin still agrees to meet with a terror-friendly leader who has praised the career of Carlos “The Jackal” Ramirez, supported the narco-terrorism of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and stands on intimate terms with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.

    While most Americans find these growing Russian-Venezuelan ties troublesome, the Department of State and the Obama Administration have adopted a rather relaxed attitude.

    When asked if the arms build-up in Venezuela was cause for concern, acting press spokesman Mark Toner answered “I think we’ve voiced our concerns, if you will, but our opinions about Venezuela’s need for these kinds of defense systems previously from the podium. Beyond that, Venezuela, Bolivia, any country, is entitled to pursue its own bilateral relationship with any other country, clearly.

    Perhaps Congress and the American need to take a closer look at the Obama Administration’s laissez-faire, perhaps negligent, approach to security issues in the region.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Chavez to Putin: "I Want to Be Your Friend"

    1. Brian, Auburn CA says:

      Are we sure this isn't just a Facebook thing?

    2. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      What is the old saying?? "Birds of a feather flock togetjher" Just don't turn your back on either one of them.

    3. Frederico Ferreira says:

      American leadership is the sole remedy to balance against Chavez. The Latin countrie are either unwilling or incapable of tackling Chavez head on.

    4. Drew Page, IL says:

      The next time they meet in Venezula, Mr. Chavez can tell Mr. Obama "say hello to my little friend".

    5. randy sa tx says:

      why do we need to ''balance'' Chavez? lets first worry about our own country. and not intervene in other countries.Venezuela is not a threat to our country.

    6. Brandon Barnes says:

      "When asked if the arms build-up in Venezuela was cause for concern, acting press spokesman Mark Toner answered “I think we’ve voiced our concerns, if you will, but our opinions about Venezuela’s need for these kinds of defense systems previously from the podium. Beyond that, Venezuela, Bolivia, any country, is entitled to pursue its own bilateral relationship with any other country, clearly."

      I think I agree with them. Any country is entitled to pursue it's own relationship. Just like we're entitled to pursue relationships with other countries without the intervening of another country. How would we like it if another country dictated to us who we are to deal and trade with?

    7. bill Oregon says:

      Why would a small country like Venezuela ever have the need for " AK-47s, attack jets, tanks, armored personnel carrier, S-300 missile systems, and surface-to-air missiles". Who do they plan on attacking, or repel for that matter? Who do they want to threaten or protect themselves from? Weren't some Russian strategic bombers spotted in Venezuela around a year ago? I hope someone is paying attention to all this because nothing good is going to come out of it.

    8. Anthony says:

      Wrong! I have Lived in Colombia and Honduras to ignore this problem is like ignoring Cancer, its going to spread! Many of you must not know that Chavez is a sponsor of the Colombian Farc and other terror organizations, I have witnessed Bombs going off around me in Colombia , believe me its not a pleasant feeling! Chavez is also a supporter of Cubas Fidel Castro and is also allies with Iran,Ortega in Nicaragua. and Bolivas Morales .Chavez is buying arms , he is not selling bananas.

      This guy hates every thing freedom stands for, he was on Hondurian TelevisonCommercials asking them to change their constitution, and when the Hondurenos said no to the then president and strong Chavez allie Morales ,they ousted him, something that this adminstration did not approve of,

      Believe me! After Chavez kisses Sean Penns picture each night before he goes to bed he does not pray for your well being or that of your children

    9. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      I agree. Chavez is just feathering his own nest. He is like a little Iran over in our neighborhood. Hugo knows we won't use the Bomb on him, and Obama is just going to look the other way, abandon our friends in Latin America while the Commies take over in a replay of the Domino Theory.

      All good because I just realized this is the First American Communist Government, so I suppose Obama thinks they will be our friends?

    10. felipe Tamayo Calle, says:

      Venezuela its an strategic supplier of oil for The United States, its in fact its number 1. Venezuela cant stop selling its oil to the US because they would naturally have to crash him plus his economy cant do that. But when I watch the news I can see that he is building a deterrence strategy for a future conflict. China with whom chavez has a lot of empathy is demanding a lot of oil and will with no doubt compete for these resources with the united states. The military treaty of the United States with Colombia points towards that future situation. Now how does colombia fit in all this issue. Well Colombia has been a close ally to the US trying to put the FARC down but for Chavez FARC is part of the plan because in an eventual conventional war with the United States they would help developing an insurgent type of war (iregular war) to discourage the US in a vietnam type of war, in a very difficult to fight territory. take in consideration that chavez will speak hard and disrepctfully to united states while the us is in 2 wars because he being a militia man believes the us wont engage in more than 2 wars at a time.

      Adding more to this picture is the fact that many of PDVSA old technicians are developing Colombias Oil industry….you will see in the coming years the upraisal of colombia as a more relevant oil producing country (check pacific rubiales) and much of this is behind US strategy to weaken Chavez position. that is his need for conventional war weapons his need to defend his position as an oil leading force in the region . I dont think the US doesnt care about the issue I believe that when problems are big it is more important to act than to speak. But unfortunately the problem will eventually build up.

    11. Her Imperial Highnes says:

      Prime Minister Vladimar Putin May I call you Vladimar I canKt wait to get To Russia and begin my governing, ruling and lawmaking and I just found my great grandfather married to only surviving daughter to my great grandmother Beatrice Edna (Anna) Romanov(Fullerton)was a member of Danish King Vladimar II of Helgioland american name Hoagland of Wolfgang so you Vladimar may be my cousin if your relatives name is really Vladimar. I will now need to reclaim that territory also. I look forward to working with you.I just hate to have to go through War crime court as a victim my family is.Her Imperial Highness Empress Margaret

    12. Vladimar We need to work together

      When I get to Russia in November if

      New amendment to Procurement

      I just completed after working 10 hours

      On it and wiLl send you a copy at

      Llanka Moscow by Friday I am concerned

      About the alchol amendment of Leg Garant

      Just posted people can't be drinking

      Ethyl alcohol. I want the program

      To work how us treasury finally atf

      mastered the alcohol program.Review

      procurementmHer Imperial Highness Margaret

    13. Pingback: Note to Calderon: Look to Venezuela and Nicaragua for Smuggled Weapons | Global Organized Crime

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×