Spain is pressing ahead with plans to sell aircraft to Venezuela’s left-wing government, despite strong opposition from the United States. The row has made headlines in the Spanish media, with reports that the US has refused Madrid permission to go ahead. Washington has a say as the planes contain US technology. Undeterred, Spain insists the sale will take place. Reports say contacts have been made with French firms, with a view to them providing replacement components.
Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de La Vega said the contract must be honoured and that substitute technology would be sought. The deal is for 10 transport planes, two maritime surveillance planes as well as four Spanish coastal patrol ships and four corvettes. Signed in November, the agreement immediately ruffled feathers in the United States, which is increasingly at odds with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez over his self-proclaimed socialist revolution. Caracas maintains the boats and planes are for peaceful purposes.