How many housing units can you build in Venezuela for the cost of a sophisticated air missile system?

December 8, 2010

Today we learn that Russia sold our almighty leader 100 sophisticated air missile systems. It had been known that Venezuela had made the purchase, what was not known is that so many of them had been acquired. Thus, Chavez continues to arm the country for an unknown war with someone. The enemy used to be Colombia, now I gathered it must be back to the US and Obama, since Bush is no longer around.

There are two interesting questions. The first one is that according to Chavez’ original announcement, the purchase was made on credit from the Russians. Amazing no? A Government that is incapable of satisfying the most basic needs of the population, spends wildly on useless toys to satisfy the ego of our Dictator and keep the military men surrounding him happy with these expensive Xboxes.

But the second and more dramatic question is that the financing was for US$ 2.2 billion for some tanks and the 100 missile systems. I have no clue how much of these systems costs, but we go back to the example of a couple of days ago, For US$ 2.2 billion you could have built over 80,000 housing units, or 800 housing units for each missile system.

Which only goes to show that Hugo Chavez cares little for the “people” that he claims to love and that he has become the most irresponsible and insensitive President Venezuela has ever had by far. And we thought it would be hard for anyone to achieve this, but Chavez had done it by orders of magnitude. He finances Cuba’s invasion of Venezuela, guarantees that China will own the Heavy Oil tar sands by signing agreements impossible for PDVSA to comply with and borrows money to purchase absolutely useless weapons systems, while the people have water up to their necks…

I do hope Hugo Chavez rots in a jail cell in The Hague…

33 Responses to “How many housing units can you build in Venezuela for the cost of a sophisticated air missile system?”

  1. Eric Says:

    I live in Colombia now, in Cartagena to be exact, and I am amazed at and admire the local people, their working habits, their unfailing politeness and easygoing warmth — their intelligence, for goodness sakes!

    And yet, same climate, virtually the “same people” as Venezuelans.

    Maria and I are watching tv tonite and she’s telling me, as I’m glued to this blog, that the local stations are fascinating, full of interviews with interesting, amusing, intelligent public intellectuals whose wit and acute insights into Cartagena’s idiosyncracies are fascinating. In short, that what’s on local cable tv, the variety of interesting, informative, intelligent programming aimed at people who actually think about themselves and the world around them, is amazing, and indicative of a highly evolved society.

    And then there’s Venezuela….

    I lived there for almost thirty years before moving here over 4 months ago, and I loved it, most of it anyway. In retrospect, what always disturbed me about the country, its capricious, superficial, wtf attitude, is what has shaped its political and social fortunes today. What a tragedy, in so many ways. I am so sad about the dear friends — family even — whom I left behind. None of this will come to any good, I’m afraid.

  2. AuvienLobo Says:

    A few corrections, US means nosotros, in case you miss interpret that. Venezuela will survive, I meant the land where the sapien´s walk; but actually that one is up for discussion, because even their/our ineptness shows a lack of faculty to create an industry/ies to destroy it, but you never know.

    And maybe lastly, this coastal monkeys will never develop agriculture while petroleum keeps giving out fish. A kind of doom that only a human kind perspective can give, and because sadly Vzlans lack it, because it was born out of harsh weather, “Ingenuity” – complacency… It will take a lot of floods and mudslides till it sinks in, but mostly those that learnt the lesson will have been sunk under them and the rest will be eating the fruits that their corpses fed to the trees from where they fell, Pollock would be proud but sad.

  3. AuvienLobo Says:

    Kepler We?, I wrote a lot of text after this words, but erased them, not worth poisoning US. Venezuela will survive, their people, lost any form of a humane society, just take a shot of rum or air and watch tribe entropy, If Vzla had a winter that would have taught people to respect planning and nature, we might have a chance at a decent society.

    Neanderthals live in us, but mostly got killed by the chimpanzees in us.

  4. Bill Simpson in Slidell Says:

    Is he is getting ready to go into Guyana under the pretext of establishing a nature preserve to save the jaguar from extinction? When is the last time any of you actually saw a jaguar in Venezuela? See, they need protecting! Watch for very large machete purchases by the army. Insect repellent and snake bite kits too. And “Save The Jaguar” red t-shirts suddenly being worn by his followers. That is when the threatening Guyana military machine will go to full mobilization. I wonder if they have one of those “WarGames” headquarters rooms hidden in all that jungle? They find oil, copper, or iron, and China will build them one.

  5. loroferoz Says:

    However, Speed, I am dead set against resorting to crime (assassination, for example), even if criminal behavior is what you face.

    However, standing up and defending against crime with means at disposal is not only not a crime, it’s civic behavior, however it is done. I expect, peacefully and with minimal harm if it is barely possible to do it peacefully and with minimal harm. Agents of the State engaged in crime are criminals. They deserve to experience the appropriate reaction to their acts, hindered only by considerations of humanity and safety of innocent bystanders. That apart from knowing their aggressions will be recorded in full and punished later, harshly.

    Of course, we are already in a period where we cannot trust courts to decide with a semblance of impartiality over these matters. It should be a signal, not for behaving in barbarous manners, but for restraint and cool minds.

  6. Kepler Says:

    Speed is really offensive and putting Miguel in difficulties.

    Speed, we don’t agree with your ways. Why do you keep trolling with that rubbish? It is not your country, we don’t tell you what you should do with your country. If you do want to mix in Venezuelan politics, be a man and go to Venezuela and do what you want to do and see what happens. Don’t tell people to do what you want them to do. Piss off otherwise.

  7. espadachin Says:

    I’m a HUGE fan of your work and your blog. I highly respect your opinions and values your insights. With tweeters being jailed for merely reporting about subway malfunctions, it is probably wise to avoid direct attacks at Chacumbele like the one you took in your last sentence. Don’t make it easy for them to take down this amazing window into Venezuela.

  8. m_astera Says:


    Good to see you are hip to China. They are no one’s friend, least of all the environment and rare and endangered species. They are also racist and consider the Africans little more than animals. If the Africans thought the oppression under European colonial rulers was bad, wait until the Chinese control the continent. Here’s my prediction, for what it’s worth: the Chinese plan to colonize Africa completely and displace the native population. It could turn out similar to the the fate of los Indios in the Americas, except with a lot less interbreeding.

  9. deananash Says:

    loroferoz, I also thought SpeedGibson wording was harsh. UNTIL I read A_Antonio’s comment.

    The sad truth is, HORRIBLE suffering isn’t just coming to Venezuela (or already here), but will remain for a long, long time. Viewed from this perspective, perhaps even SG’s comments aren’t incendiary enough.

    The “problem” isn’t Chavez – it’s the Venezuelan people. Just as America’s problem wasn’t “Bush”, nor now is “Obama”, but rather, an American populace that wants its cake and to eat it too.

    People, speaking generally, do get the government that they deserve.

    And Albionoldboy, you’re analysis is spot on.

  10. loroferoz Says:

    “They must end-up eating the bark off trees, as Germans
    did after their own little experiment with Hitler.
    That bitter taste is what has kept Germans inoculated,
    from any new would be Dictator”

    That’s sadly right, Albionoldboy. I agree, and with you SpeedGibson (though your wording is a bit harsh).

    Venezuelans will be inoculated in the only way countries are inoculated. Massive doses of misery, rammed right down our throat. Suffering the whole course of the sickness and surviving.

    Charly is also right. There is far worse running around in this world, than Chavez. And Venezuelan military, specially, are like radiactive waste. They could be least harmful buried deep, or launched into deep space.

  11. Maria Says:

    From the same newspaper:

    “WikiLeaks cables: Oil giants squeeze Chávez as Venezuela strugglesAmerican diplomats say president is now desperate to attract foreign partners after nationalisation frightened many away”

    My favorite paragraph:

    “Italy’s ambassador to Caracas, Luigi Maccotta, told his US counterpart that Italian oil company ENI squeezed PDVSA over an Orinoco belt deal in January this year knowing it had no one else to turn to.

    The Italians delayed the signing by two days to reinforce the Venezuelan government’s “need for ENI”. Paolo Scaroni, the company’s CEO, then faced down Venezuela’s oil minister, Rafael Ramirez, over changes to terms and conditions.

    “Thirty minutes before the ceremony was supposed to begin Scaroni told Ramirez: ‘Take it or leave it, I can get on my plane and move on.’ Ramirez apparently used that half an hour to convince President Chávez to accept all of ENI’s proposed changes or risk losing the deal,” according to the US cable. The Italians said they would not pay PDVSA a standard signing bonus because the company already owed them $1bn.”

  12. Bois Says:

    Wikileaks exposes the true financial health of PDVSA.

    Chavez’s piggybank is almost empty, no more big spending sprees.

  13. A_Antonio Says:

    Charly Says: “There are rulers far more deadly than Chavez walking the face of the earth…”

    It will hardly to find another ruler more damaging than Chavez that can damage so much the future of a county. Venezuela will not face in this century any human development, nor in economics, neither in social and nothing related to near a human future.

    Generations will have to fight very hard in this century to near accomplish or recuperated some good economics and social marks previous to Chavez. And in will hard try to restore some peace from the hate within Venezuelans that he built up.

    Lot of people is dying because insecurity and bad medical services, lot of people and their children do not see any future in Venezuela, while Chavez kick off the last decades of petroleum richness.

    Please, for the blood of Jesus, do not underestimate the damage produces by this ruler.

  14. geronl Says:

    If this article is true, then Hugo might get his wish of a US attack.

  15. GWEH Says:

    don’t know if you got this … wiki leaks venezuela :

  16. gd Says:

    Hey Miguel, I just received this crap in my mailbox from the Venezuelan embassy. Almost fell out of my seat with laughter but then saw that they’re quoting a latino barometro poll. Thoughts?

    Chávez Receives 55 Percent Approval Rating

    Venezuelans Report Highest Support for Democracy in the Region, According to Survey

    Sixty-four percent of Venezuelans cite insecurity as the most severe problem affecting the country, but only 27 percent stated they have been ever victim of a crime.
    “This report highlights the contrast between the perceptions that are usually presented in the mainstream media about our country and the daily experience of Venezuelans,” said Ambassador Álvarez.
    Venezuelans are more likely than their counterparts from the region to support democracy according to the 2011 Latinobarometro report, an annual survey of public opinion in 18 countries in South and Central America.

    The report, which is widely considered an accurate reflection of public opinion and trends in Latin America, found that Venezuela’s support for democracy has grown in the years that President Hugo Chávez has been in office. While support for democracy in 1996 and 1997 stood at 62 and 64 percent, respectively, it jumped to 84 percent for both 2009 and 2010.

    “What Latinobarometro does is what the mainstream media doesn’t do – ask common Venezuelans what they think about their country and the changes they are experiencing,” said Bernardo Álvarez, ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the U.S. “Like in years past, this report shows that Venezuela broadly support democracy as their form of government and are satisfied with the democracy that they have.”

    The report also shows that satisfaction with democracy in Venezuela is amongst the highest in the region. Additionally, the survey shows how that satisfaction increased under President Chávez’s government. In 1997 and 1998 satisfaction stood at 35 percent, rising to an average of 48 percent between 2000 and 2010 (in 2010 it reached 49 percent), third in the region behind only Uruguay (62 percent) and Costa Rica (53 percent) and above the regional average of 35 percent.

    When asked to rank how democratic their government was, with 1 being “Not Democratic” and 10 being “Totally Democratic,” Venezuelans ranked their government 7.1. This ranking put Venezuela fourth in the region, tied with Chile and above the regional average of 6.5. Since 1998, Venezuela has held 16 elections, the most recent having taken place in September 2010. That election, for members of the National Assembly, saw the highest turnout for legislative elections in the country’s history.

    Venezuelans also ranked highest in terms of their interest in politics, were least likely to argue that politics in their country is “complicated” and stood in fourth place when asked whether they believed their ideas had an impact on the government. Venezuelans were also second most-likely to express trust for their national congress and political parties.

    Fifty-three percent of Venezuelans approved of President Chávez’s government from 2002-2010, putting it fourth in the region behind Argentina, Colombia and Chile and tied with Brazil. Fifty-five percent of Venezuela approved of President Chávez’s tenure.

    Fifty-two percent of Venezuelans stated that the government’s policies improved their lives, third in the region behind only Uruguay and Chile. They also ranked their country highest in the region in terms of distribution of wealth, with 38 percent saying it was “Very Just” or “Just.” The regional average was 21 percent. When asked whether or not they were satisfied with their lives, 84 percent of Venezuelans answered affirmatively, second only to Costa Rica in the region.

    From 1998 to 2008, poverty in Venezuela decreased from 49 percent to 27 percent. In the same period, inequality diminished, so much so that the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean ranked Venezuela highest for inequality reduction among 12 neighboring countries in the region.

    Venezuelans were fourth most likely to have used the Internet, and ranked second in the region in terms of their use of the social network Facebook.

    Crime, Insecurity and the Media

    In an interesting analysis of the most severe problems facing the region, only 12 percent of Venezuelans cited unemployment, third lowest of the 18 countries, but 64 percent cited insecurity, far above its regional neighbors. Interestingly, only 27 percent of Venezuelans stated that they had ever been a victim of crime, fifth lowest in the region. That means that a 37 percent gap exists between the perception of insecurity and actual criminal incidents – the most pronounced gap in the region.

    “Venezuela has long struggled to come to terms with crime and insecurity, two serious problems that the government is working hard to address appropriately but that are not unique to Venezuela. The 37 percent gap between the perception and reality seems to indicate how powerful the opposition-aligned media can be, particularly with sensitive issues that can generate fear among the population,” said Ambassador Álvarez.

    “This report highlights the contrast between the perceptions that are usually presented in the mainstream media about our country and the daily experience of Venezuelans, who again show their increasing support for democracy under the government of President Chávez,” he added.

    The entire report can be found here:

  17. speed Gibson Says:

    screw that silly ass “hope” nonsense……..The Hague? be fucking serious…..pick up a gun and start shooting red shirt leaders….then watch the whole thing crumble…but it appears Venz people will have to have a steady diet of shit sandwiches and their scotch whiskey taken away before they get off their butts to restore their freedom

    Im laughing at you people like daniel who had great hopes in Obozo and Shrillary to rescue you…too funny

  18. moctavio Says:

    Some people call me Micky

  19. Ira Says:

    I don’t think Chavez quite understands the nature of modern warfare and technology.

    Didn’t he learn anything from Sadaam?

  20. ElJefe Says:

    It takes an act of God to get someone tried at the Hague, and mucking up your country is sadly not a crime. Robert Mugabe has no international arrest warrant against him and it took the genocide of more than 200,000 people for Omar Bashir to get on the war crimes list. Add to that the fact that a bunch of people abroad consider Chavez a hero and it’s impossible to try him for anything. Chavez will probably be kicked out by a violent uprising coupled with a military pronunciamiento after he refuses to recognize election results. I hope it doesn’t come to that but he’s polarized Venezuelan society so badly that he’s made bloodshed almost inevitable at this point.

  21. Ira Says:


    A reference to WIkileaks.

  22. Lim Says:

    I missed what you meant by:
    This blog is now officially named the “Mickey Leaks”

  23. RWG Says:

    Iran is getting part of Venezuela. Amendinajad is establishing missile bases in Venezuela staffed by Iranians but will allow Venezuela to use the missiles for its purposes.

    Chavez is trying his damnest to get into a war with the U.S. The Iranian missiles will be able to hit the Southern States in the U.S. and could in a few years. I HOPE Obama looks and CHANGES his BFF attitude with Chavez.

  24. Kepler Says:

    Apologies, I meant Miguel.

  25. Paul Esqueda Says:

    This blog is now officially named the “Mickey Leaks”

  26. George Says:

    The Hague will teach the world annother lesson – the best long time place for him – 30 to 40 years….

  27. Kepler Says:

    Daniel, I have written a bit about Russian weapons. The only thing one could not see from the articles (at least the ones I found) was the number of rockets. If one knows the unit price (which I did not bother to look at but I am sure anyone interested in weapons stuff can find that out in a jiffy), one gets the units.
    The Russian press did mention very clearly how many helicopters and tanks and all. The site Lenta has even a special part called “Weapons”, like we have “sports”, “politics”, “society”. They have “politics”, “sports”…”weapons”.

    Anyway: I am getting more worried about China.
    There is a very interesting article in Der Spiegel about China’s role in Africa. It is more of the same, but with more details:,1518,728609,00.html
    You can use Google tools to get a glimpse.

    I put here the last part:
    Kenya received about because of the latent tensions with Somalia military equipment from China. The Kenyan intelligence NSIS was not only equipped with computer and communications technology, assistance was modified to such an extent that the U.S. embassy in Nairobi anxiously in a secret telegram to Washington reported: “In September 2008, the Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer ZTE, the computer infrastructure in the NSIS main headquarters. The project included a safety net for the Kenyan government computers. ” Since then, Americans must assume that Chinese intelligence agents to participate in most government internals.

    Even in a country torn Somalia as Beijing keeps in close contact. China was among the first supporters of the transitional government (TFG) in Mogadishu, as it began its operations in October 2004. About a year later, China signed several economic agreements. “We believe that China undertook regular extra payments to President Yusuf,” according to a report by the U.S. Embassy in Kenya on the ex-head of the TFG. “Our contacts told us that the money was always in cash was flowing, and most distributed in the TFG cabinet.” The Somali ambassador to Kenya, admits that “China is not with the political, dealing most with the economic situation and that it was ever in terms of trade benefits in post-war Somalia positioning.

    The symptoms take

    But despite the lavish support piling up in African countries, the U.S. reports, the negative messages. The Chinese are in many regions as responsible for smuggling, poaching and overfishing. Ignore labor laws and flood the continent with fake brand products.

    So reports the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, that “the Kenya Wildlife Service, a significant increase in poaching everywhere reported, where Chinese labor camps were built. And that “90 percent of ivory smugglers who are arrested at the Nairobi airport, the Chinese are.” From Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Nigeria reported the Chinese embassies ivory traders. Sometimes, Chinese diplomats were involved in smuggling.

    Despite its assistance to Angola, investors pull out of China now also there are a lot of criticism. In a protocol of the U.S. Embassy in Luanda says: there is concern because “brings about the Chinese involvement, financed with loans that Angola must repay any jobs for local people create, not technology transfer, and often with poor working”. It also has non-transparent financing of projects that ran over an office of the president.

    Unattractive to include reports from the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria “. Nigerian officials are concerned about the Chinese practice to bring their workers, it could aggravate domestic discontent, especially in the Niger Delta, where there are massive complaints about the lack of jobs.” Especially as cheap Chinese imports have already ruined the local textile industry. More than 65 factories were forced to close in the last ten years. Over a million Nigerians who live on the textile industry – from simple cotton workers of the factory workers up to eBay – the decline of the industrial sector are affected. Complains bitterly against U.S. diplomats and the chairman of the Nigerian trade union: “The Chinese here is a huge problem, you do not respect the laws and undermine a number of things, even with the security..” In China is corruption on the death penalty abroad but you quickly adjust to the more lax practices of the environment.

    Without protective clothing in the uranium mine

    Alone within a week in October 2007, the Tanzanian government confiscated such as the port of Dar es Salaam 73 container in tropical timber, destined for China. And in a report by the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, says bluntly: “The export ban on wood that has been imposed by the government in 2004, is widely ineffective.”

    Similar reports sound out the U.S. Embassy in Maputo: “The official trade volume between China and Mozambique in 2006 was about $ 200 million in reality should the value have been much higher – Chinese and other ships seem to have the fishing grounds off the coast of Mozambique is fished. and Chinese companies are suspected of the massive illegal logging of tropical timber to be involved. In our view, this means that Chinese aid is unconditional. ”

    Generously go to the Chinese and with the OSH. Not only in Zambia, where the coal miners are half naked and barefoot sent underground. In Niger, as in Zambia to build workers from uranium without protective clothing and living near the mine, so they constantly are exposed to increased radiation. Around the new Somina mine in northern Niger, the Tuareg call the camp because of the harsh working conditions and the Chinese foreman “Guantanamo”. And in Namibia summoned the Chinese workers complaining that they have to “suffer now, so it is better for future generations.”

    Now, I know from good sources the Chinese are providers for communications equipment for the Venezuelan government.

  28. moctavio Says:

    I am not hoping for anyone to come and get him out. I am hoping for Venezuelans to take him to Court once he is out, The Hague sounds like the right place.

  29. Roger Says:

    Who would want to invade Venezuela and stop the self destruction! Anything short of carpet bombing would be less effective. What gets me are the heavy land tanks in a country that’s half jungle and the other half flooded for months. This is what you want

  30. jau Says:

    Chavez is a dictator first, a communist second, a Fidel fan third, …. and a distant seventh he is a Venezuelan, and only because he was born here

    I am convinced that he hates Venezuela…

  31. geronl Says:

    Hoping for the “international community” to remove and punish Chavez is a hopeless endeavor. The “international community” are the ones who put countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, China et al on Human Rights Councils etc…

  32. Charly Says:

    “I do hope Hugo Chavez rots in a jail cell in The Hague…”.

    Well, keep hoping. Chavez is simply an incompetent latino military nincompoop and he is in good company since most latino military are just plain parasites and I am charitable. There are rulers far more deadly than Chavez walking the face of the earth and their chances of ending up in The Hague are slim. So, Chavez…?

  33. albionoldboy Says:

    When you let more than half the population languishing in
    poverty, you are just looking for trouble, and Chavez is giving
    it to Venezuelans big time.
    For Venezuelans to lose their infatuation with demigods
    They must end-up eating the bark off trees, as Germans
    did after their own little experiment with Hitler.
    That bitter taste is what has kept Germans inoculated,
    from any new would be Dictator

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