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April 11, 2005
Did Spain Sell WMD To Hugo Chavez?

Franco Alman at Barcepundit believes he has found a disturbing report that has yet to receive any attention in either the global media or the blogosphere. According to this report last week from the Europa Press, Spain sold a small amount of chemical and radioactive materials to Venezuela in 2004:

During the first semester of 2004 Spain sold chemical warfare agents and radioactive materials to Venezuela worth 539.603 according to a report entitled "Spanish exports of defence materials and related products and technologies". The report, produced by Spain's Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, was revealed to Europe Press. Venezuela appeared as the twelfth buyer of such defence material to Spain for the period that saw Jos Luis Rodrguez Zapatero winning the vote over Partido Popular.

Report's statistics show that Venezuela was the only country under the category "countries to which chemical warfare agents and radioactive materials were sold". Worth noting that the said category includes "biological and nerve agents destined to chemical warfare" of which Venezuela bought 30.374.

The financial worth of the materials implies that the amounts were small enough to probably be used only for testing and development, but that's bad enough in the hands of Hugo Chavez. Why would anyone sell this kind of material to Chavez, who has become increasingly unstable, accusing all sorts of people of conspiring to kill him and aligning himself ever closer to Fidel Castro? Barcepundit deduces in his post that while the date of the sale is not made clear in the Spanish-language documents, the reference to "first semester" of 2004 makes it more likely that the current Zapatero government sold the material and not the previous Aznar administration.

If Spain has decided to start exporting chemical and radioactive materials to unstable dictators like Chavez, then the US needs to reconsider its relationship with the Spaniards pronto. This report needs further investigation to determine its accuracy and the current status of the materials in question. Given Chavez' hostility of late to the US and his coziness to Cuba, we might find that material deployed against us in the near future.

UPDATE: These figures are hundreds of thousands of Euros, not hundreds (European notation uses decimals in place of commas) -- but for chemical and radiological material, it's still not a large number.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 11, 2005 6:31 AM

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