Brazil Tries to Change the US Mind on Plane Sale to Venezuela

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva assured Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, that the Brazilian government is negotiating with the United States (US) to permit the Brazilian Aeronautics Company, S.A. – Embraer – to sell military aircraft to the Venezuelan government.

The US nixed the deal on the grounds that the sale could destabilize Latin America.

"It is totally absurd, since everyone knows that the planes are for our cadets. We have had the Tucano model for a long time," Chávez commented as he was leaving the trilateral encounter between Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela.

"This is an example of the absurdity of the United States’ international policy. It is a jolt to Brazil and free trade. The United States has always adopted the strategy of undermining every effort to unite the South," he emphasized.

Chávez said he will be sorry if the US prohibition is maintained, since, according to him, the deal would give a lift to the Brazilian aeronautics industry. And he insisted that Venezuela will purchase the planes from Russia, China, India, or some other part of the world.

The Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, said that Brazil does not agree with the US position and that he has already conversed with US secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and is awaiting a response.

"This type of restriction is unjustified. Venezuela is not a country subject to international sanctions, nor is it being accused of sponsoring terrorism or subversive activities anywhere," he pointed out.

Amorim affirmed that he believes the US will change it position. "The good relationship that exists between Brazil and the United States should lead to a revision of what was initially indicated to us."

Agência Brasil

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