President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday that Venezuela would consider buying Russian-built MiG warplanes if the United States fails to honor a contract to supply his country with parts for its F-16 jets.
Chavez also accused Washington of blocking Venezuela’s acquisition of Super Tucano military planes from Brazil because the jets are built with U.S. technology and suggested he could turn to China.
"The contract for Brazil to make us some planes, which are for training, could not be signed because of the United States," said Chavez, speaking to hundreds of soldiers at military fort in Caracas.
"We will have to wait to see if Brazil can resolve the problem. If not, well, they produce fighter jets and bombers in China too," he added.
Chavez said the United States has failed to supply the parts needed to keep Venezuela’s F-16s flying, but U.S. officials said replacement parts for U.S.-made warplanes have recently been sent to the South American nation.
"If we have to substitute the fleet of F-16s with a modern fleet of MiGs we will do it, nothing is going to stop us," said Chavez, an ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Brian Penn, a U.S. embassy official, denied the United States has failed to send replacement parts.
Pravda – www.pravda.ru