Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that his country had reached a tentative agreement with Russia to build a nuclear reactor.
"A nuclear reactor, to produce energy for peaceful purposes, will soon be built in Estado Zulia and named in honor of a 20th century Venezuelan scientist, Humberto Fernandez Moran," the Venezuelan Ministry for Communication and Information quoted him as saying. The media report that the construction contract may be signed on November 26, during President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Venezuela.
Although Chavez's flamboyant style is nothing new, it is worth analyzing the possible goals of the project and assessing how viable it is....
...This makes the Venezuelan-Russian project seem like a political fantasy rather than an economically substantiated move. In the final count, neither side needs it. However, it may be used as a bargaining chip in the big game between the United States, the European Union, China, and Russia, which is now unfolding in Latin America.
Latin America is freeing itself from U.S. control. Its growing military and political ambitions are turning it into what it was, to a certain extent, in the 19th century - the testing grounds of the great powers. But there is one unpleasant detail: They are increasingly testing more and more dangerous toys....MORE
...Venezuela has strengthened ties with Russia under Chavez, purchasing more than $4 billion in Russian weapons since 2005. Coinciding with Medvedev's visit to Venezuela and Cuba, a Russian naval task force led by Russia's newest and most powerful nuclear cruiser, Peter the Great, will be off Venezuela for maneuvers, marking the first visits of Russian warships to the region since the end of the Cold War....