Chavez looks for Russian investment

AP/Washington Times:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called on Russian business leaders yesterday to boost their investment in his country, criticizing U.S. companies as "vampires" and inviting Russians to help develop a massive oil deposit.

Mr. Chavez, a firebrand leader and vehement U.S. critic, also reportedly confirmed that his country would be negotiating with Russia about purchasing submarines. Russian media speculated that one of Mr. Chavez's key goals during his trip to Moscow was to arrange a major purchase of Russian weaponry.

At a meeting with Russian lawmakers, Mr. Chavez again suggested that the United States had threatened Venezuela and was categorically opposed to Venezuela's buying submarines, according to Russian news agencies.

Mr. Chavez arrived Wednesday amid widespread speculation that he wanted to sign a major arms deal, and President Vladimir Putin said the weapons trade was among the topics of their talks late Thursday when he met with Mr. Chavez.

Earlier yesterday, an official with the Russian arms sales monopoly Rosoboronexport said the sides were in talks on the possible purchase of five Project 636 Kilo-class diesel submarines, according to a news report.

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He also wants the Russians to take up the slack left when two US companies rejected his new terms for developing the heavy crude in the Venezuela field. The Russians would be wise to take a pass on dealing with Chavez too. You can bet if the development is successful Chavez will steal it and if it fails they will bear all the cost. He is a egomaniac bully who should not be trusted in a business deal. The Russians would also be wise to make him pay cash in advance for any arms sales.

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