Friday, 10 December 2010

The thing about the Wikileaks, the weapons and the misery

I was puzzled by some articles announcing as big news details about the purchase of weapons by the Venezuelan military junta.

Wikileaks has provided indeed some interesting details about several topics and some journalists have known how to explain things through, but a lot of the information expressed in most of the articles worldwide are about things you can find out yourself if you just follow up German or Russian or Arabic media and try to make sense of what you can, all with a pinch of caution.

I just browsed for a couple of minutes on a well-known Russian site, Lenta. Below you have some of the hits. I am sure there are more details if you just search a bit in the Net.

Venezuela wasted 4.4 billion dollars in Russian weapons between 2005 and 2007. Among other things: 24 Sukhoi-30. 500 million dollars went for 20 helicopters Ми-17-В5, 10 Ми-35М, 3 Ми-26Т, 3 Ми-172-3 and 2 Ми-172.

Venezuela got credit for 2.2 billion dollars to buy weapons. 92 tanks T-72 and some missile systems from the type Smerch (apparently $22 million for each complex). You just have to do the maths if you check out the average price for a T-72.

There is actually a reference to Associated Press about the Igla-1S and reactive grenades that the military junta also bought.

Here you find out Venezuela is buying from Russia weapons for 5 billion dollars. They say that includes the credit for 2.2 billion dollars. If I understand well, it is thus 2.8 billion more.

And so it goes.

But meanwhile Venezuelan patients are suffering a lot because of lack of basic medicine, in spite of the propaganda you can watch in the state (i.e. Chávez) media. And millions of Venezuelans are living in primitive houses like the one you see at the start of this post...and some even keep believing in the man on that poster. Perhaps the great disparity between hope of some and reality is the reason why that military man ordered his employees to stop using his image.


  1. You're right. Most people were already peripherally aware of the things that Wikileaks has published. What a radio host said though, was that it was significant for these things to be, "called out" like they were. Before, everybody just turned a blind eye, now it's been made an issue.

  2. Hanny,

    I agree these Wikileaks have put the details of a lot of world issues in the front lines in the Western media now.

    Now, I am not sure most people were aware and that is because the most followed media outlets (I hate the word "main stream, as it is so fluffly a concept) are not discussing these things. I believe - and some US friends tell me the same- that the average English-speaking media had been talking much less about these issues than the media from other places (things are much much worse in Russia or China, mind). I wish someone would count the percentage of pages dedicated to "foreign news" in, say, the 2 most read newspapers in UK, Canada and the US to those of the 2 most read newspapers in Germany or the Netherlands. To a certain extent this is understandable: the US is as big as Europe. To a certain extent it is not: the UK is not.

    Those who did know about these issues were looking for them.
    You know how to find your way around the Internet. Believe it or not, a lot of people don't.

    I will come up with a couple of very concrete examples in another post.

    Now, those issues are being put in some of the best known newspapers in the West.

    Of course, there are new details coming out, we haven't got but a fraction.


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