The Straits Times
Published on Nov 16, 2012

Venezuela buying new military planes from China


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Thursday that his air force has started receiving new Chinese-made military transport planes that his government decided to buy in response to a US ban on weapons deals with his country.

Mr Chavez said during a televised Cabinet meeting that the first two of the Y-8 planes that Venezuela has bought from China have arrived. He has said previously that Venezuela agreed to buy a total of eight planes from China last year for nearly US$353 million (S$433 million).

The US government in 2006 banned arms sales to Venezuela, citing the country's ties with Iran and Cuba and accusing it of not fully cooperating in counterterrorism efforts. Mr Chavez has instead turned to Russia and China, spending billions of dollars on fighter jets, transport planes, radar systems, helicopters and assault rifles.

"The United States refused to supply us with parts" for its older C-130 military planes, Mr Chavez said, calling that one reason for buying the Chinese planes.