Hugo Chavez returned to Venezuela on Friday, concluding his visits to several countries - including Syria, Libya, Algeria and Russia - with the announcement
of his purchase of "some little rockets" from Russia.
Chavez spoke on Venezuelan television, saying the rockets had a range of roughly 185 miles. He said the rockets were for defensive purposes, meant to thwart "any threat."
The Venezuelan president's controversial tour covered 9 countries, ending in a visit to Spain. While in Syria, he spoke at a soccer stadium and said that Israel's government was "genocidal." Chavez also recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent republics during his visit to Russia. Venezuela is only the third country to recognize the breakaway republics, joining with Russia and Nicaragua to do so.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has promised
to sell Chavez whatever selection of weapons the Venezuelan president desires.
The Venezuelan president has become suspicious of neighboring Columbia, after Columbian authorities agreed to expand U.S. military support against narcotics operations in the Columbian countryside. Chavez sees the Columbian agreement with the U.S. as a threat, and he made the announcement on the Russian rockets after Spain had offered to mediate
in future talks between Columbia and Venezuela.