CARACAS, January 12 (Itar-Tass) — Venezuela has broke through the ring of technological dependence on the world’s largest arms manufacturers, thanks to the armament from Russia, China and Spain, Venezuelan Defence Minister Gen. Henry Rangel Silva said on Tuesday in an interview with local Uni·n Radio.
“We were able to protect our sovereignty in the air, at sea and on land thanks to Russian, Chinese and Spanish armaments,” he said. Venezuela has a “wonderful weapons systems manufactured in Russia,” as well as modern ships built in the shipyards of Spain, the defence minister said. “We are a peaceful country, but we need weapons systems that can prevent any hostile action,” he stressed.
The minister also expressed confidence that in today’s Venezuela, the repetition of a coup d’etat attempt like the one that was staged by the political opposition with the support of the army in April 2002, when President Hugo Chavez for two days was removed from power, is impossible. “The people and the army are united at present, and we remember that bitter experience when the former generals tried to violate the Constitution,” Silva said.
Henry de Jes·s Rangel Silva (born in 1961) was previously the head of Operational Strategic Command of the Venezuelan Armed Forces. Rangel Silva took part in the military coup of 1992 together with Hugo Chavez. In 2008 the US Department of the Treasury asked for Rangel Silva’s US accounts to be frozen on the charge that he had helped the FARC in narco- traffic activities.
In November 2010, Rangel Silva declared that the military forces are “married to the political, socialist project” lead by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Then he added that the arrival of a government different to Chavez would be unacceptable: “the hypothesis (of an opposition government) is difficult, it would mean to sell off the country, people won't accept that, the Armed Forces won't and the people less.” Shortly after that, Chavez promoted Rangel to General-in-Chief.