Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Venezuelan radioactivity: Iran, no, Russia! Iran, Russia! (and more on weapons)

A few days ago the West revealed Iran had secretly built a nuclear facility in Qom. Iran rushed to admit it had but added it has done nothing illegal. I won't go into the discussion on that but BBC says Iran goes now weakened to negotiations.

At the same time, Venezuelan Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz declared Iran was helping Venezuela prospect for uranium. Blogger Quico has written on his fears about that here and here.

As soon as Sanz said Iran was helping Venezuela, another Venezuelan minister, Jesse Chacon (brother of billionaire revolutionary Arne Chacon), stated it was not Iran, but Russia (Iran, Russia: three letters in common, would you not mix them up as well?). What is going on? Is it chaos? Are they trying to confuse people? Both?

Well, I was browsing a wee bit through Russian sites and I found this. It does not talk about Iran at all. It is a post from August of this year referring to Venezuelan-Russian negotiations on nuclear power research.

Some bits:
  • Bank "Национальный кредит" (National credit)» is working on the restructuring of the assets and liabilities of a Venezuelan-Russian agreement.
  • The ones to sign the agreement were Russian Director General of the State Nuclear Energy Corporation (Rosatom), Sergei Kiriyenko, and the Minister of Energy and Petroleum Rafael Ramirez.
  • The agreement is about uranium and thorium and it was based on the agreement on nuclear energy cooperation signed by Medvedev and Chavez in November 2008 (when Medvedev was in Venezuela).
  • The temporary administrator of the National Credit bank said "As far as the bank's obligations to customers, we also offer a choice of two options: a refund in installments, or the extension of deposit contracts".
A news agency, BaltInfo, reports about how the Venezuelan (Hugo's) National Assembly voted on the agreement for confidentiality on Russian technology, an agreement that would be valid for some 5 years and would basically enable them to hide away the details about the whole agreement, as far as I see. El Universal had reported on this earlier on. Now, in the Russian article I read again Venezuela got 92 T-72 tanks plus "some rocket launcher systems Smerch". We don't know how many. Now this says 38+24 such systems were delivered to India for 750 million dollars.

My strong hunch is there is a huge overprice and somebody is getting richer. In any case: transparency is not something you will ever associate with Venezuela's government.

I chose as post picture not one of uranium or thorium but one showing the proportion of the urban population in slums per country. Venezuela, the land of the Blackberry, is at the level of Congo while Chile is eliminating its last slums right now.

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