The New York Times | 8/6/2009 12:00:00 AM
Chavez: Venezuela to Buy More Tanks Over US Threat
Aug 06--President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday his government will buy dozens of Russian tanks because Venezuela feels threatened by a pending deal for the U.S. military to increase its presence in neighboring Colombia.
''We're going to buy several battalions of Russian tanks,'' Chavez said at a news conference, saying the deal is among accords he hopes to conclude during a visit to Russia in September.
Chavez's government has already bought more than $4 billion worth of Russian arms since 2005, including helicopters, fighter jets and Kalashnikov assault rifles.
The socialist leader called Colombia's plan to host more U.S. soldiers a ''hostile act'' and a ''true threat'' to Venezuela and its leftist allies. He warned that a possible U.S. buildup could lead to the ''start of a war in South America,'' but gave no indication that Venezuela's military is mobilizing in preparation for any conflict.
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