Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | May 29, 2011

Venezuela: Next step to longer-range missiles

China launched a communication satellite for Venezuela in 2008.  The next phase in Hugo Chavez’s drive for Bolivarian excellence will entail the Venezuelans launching their own satellite (with Chinese assistance) in 2012 – a feat with dual implications.

One is related to the nature of the payload.  According to a Venezuelan official this week, the satellite will have a surveillance mission:

Ricardo Menendez said Thursday that the earth-observation satellite, to be built at a cost of $140 million, would be used to monitor troop movements and illegal mining as well as study climate change and the environment.

In other words, it will carry an imaging sensor or sensors, taskable by the Venezuelan authorities.  Although satellite imagery has been available commercially for some time, it makes a significant difference to timeliness (and other aspects of coverage) to be able to downlink the signal directly, without a middleman, and define and task the image parameters yourself.  Depending on the orbital path, Venezuela may have regular “looks” at areas of interest to Hugo Chavez’s buddies abroad.  Presumably, the orbit will be optimized for Central America, which will limit how much it can be optimized for coverage of El Norte.  In any case, it will be optimized for military applications.

Photo: China Great Wall Industry Corporation


The other implication involves rocket technology.  Launching satellites into earth orbit is a significant step in developing the capability to build long-range missiles.  Chavez is already building a joint missile base with Iran in northwestern Venezuela, a project that includes collaborating on the development of a new missile series.  The technological boost from Chinese rocketry will go together with joint missile development like a horse and carriage, accelerating Venezuela’s timeline to medium- and long-range missiles of her own.

Being corrupt, oppressive, and ill-managed has yet to stop rotten dictatorships from developing capabilities like these, especially when China and Iran are there to lend a helping hand.  The US has no plan for defense against missiles from the south, nor a concept for collaborating on missile defense for our friends in Latin America.  But the missiles are coming, as is an enhanced, military-grade intelligence capability for Hugo Chavez.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.



  1. If I was running China, I would give that ignorant jackass Chavez all the promises of tech toys that he won’t be able to maintain or must anything else as long as he keeps selling me millions of barrels of Venezuelan crude at less than $1/barrel.

  2. Gosh, I hope some unforseen accident doesn’t befall the new orbiter. Space is certainly a dangerous place.

  3. Gee, with world oil prices what they are now, it will take Venezuela less than 12 hours to pay for that satellite. There’s no end to the mischief those plastic surgery addicts can get into with the money they have.

  4. This is the problem of sponsoring and keeping in power, corrupt, oppressive, ill-managed, and thoroughly rotten dictatorships in Venezuela and elsewhere in the hemisphere. Sooner or later the victims of this policy will inevitably turn and revolt or elect someone who will represent the same victims, and will also have in mind exactly who kept the former elites in power, and will take pleasure in poking their banker and enforcer in the eye. And, of course, there is absolutely nothing we can do about it (Having bungled in our attempts to subvert and undermine Chavez’ election victory – Is this a case of some genius in the CIA believing that two bungled wroongs make a right?)
    There is a moral lesson for us in there somewhere. There is also the practical lesson that squanding our tax-dollars and political credit in interfering in other folks governance comes around and bites us in the ass. And the moral lesson? We in the US have certain standards of governance and respect for liberal and legal rights. We in the US would never tolerate for ourselves the sort of corrupt torturers we put into power, and maintained in power, in South and Central America. Why then should we expect others to tolerate the vicious elites and military monsters the CIA imposed on them. Chavez may be far from ideal, but he is nothing like as bad as people like Batista (brought to a country near you by joint sponsorship of the CIA and the Mafia) and some others. At least Chavez was elected.

    • I can just barely sense a paisley VW van with black light posters inside. Seriously, I also oppose CORRUPT torturers.
      Cuba has certainly reached the Zenith of Democratic Ideals and economic prosperity since Mr. Batista was deposed.
      Jane Fonda,call your office.

      • Don’t get me wrong. I am fully aware that more often than not our corrupt torturers are replaced by other corrupt torturers. Bad and all that he is, Uncle Fidel was an improvement on Batista (Not a very high bar to vault, I admit). Hopefully, Uncle Raoul will be allowed get on with discovering that socialism isn’t the way foreward withourt the CIA intervening and convincing him otherwise.

        • How about a point by point comparison of the methodology and results of the Batista and Castro regimes?

          • You first Tom.

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