Hugo has not only left Spanish officials in love with Venezuela's gas. He has now also put a fat arms order with the Russian Federation. He will get rockets with a 300-kilometre range and a lot of T-72 and T-90 tanks (BBC on this here). Hugo declared his toys are for "defence only" and added "they never fail".
In reality: what will those weapons be used for?
There is a continuous tension with Colombia particularly because of Hugo's support for the Farc and Colombia's new deal with the USA military, but: could these new weapons be really "useful" in this issue if diplomacy failed and stupidity prevailed? Venezuela's borders are mostly mountains and jungle. Most people think Hugo's purchase of over 100000 Kalashnikovs from Russians some years ago and the Kalashnikov factory set up in Venezuela could indeed be used for an asymmetrical warfare in a hypothetical war with the US or with our cousins next-door. Those tanks and those rockets, on the other hand, seem to make little sense. The rockets would be destroyed in a jiffy if the US or Uribe were to attack Venezuela (which I doubt) and the tanks would be also destroyed or could not get anywhere.
In reality these new weapons could be used for one main purpose: making some Boliburgueses a wee bit richer. Are Torres Ciliberto and Arne Chacon now going to buy even more banks? Or will some other revolutionary buy a new factory or just have a fatter bank account?
It is a pity. Our state primary and secondary schools are badly equipped. The normal set of books for a schoolgirl costs the equivalent of the minimum wage. Lots of people work in the informal sector earning less than that and most have more than 2 children. We could better use that money in order to provide books for primary schools. In Belgium and Germany, Finland and many other countries in Europe children in primary school get their books from their state schools as a loan. Those pupils get the top results in the international PISA programme of academic evaluation. Venezuelan pupils, unlike other pupils in South America, do not even take part in any international evaluation programme since this government is in power. The regime refuses to accept accountability. Still, based on the last tests Venezuelan pupils took part in in 1998 and on many reports from real teachers, not government officials, we know our pupils are bottom of the bottom.