WHAT ELSE DID SPAIN SELL to Venezuela, besides transport and ocean surveillance planes, as well as patrol boats? Well, according to Spanish news agency Europa Press, during the first half of 2004 Spain sold to Chavez
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 José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero winning the vote over Partido Popular.(emphasis mine; original information in Spanish here)
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.
Another €509.229 consisted of "paramilitary and security material" which encompasses "firearms or gas weapons, bombs, grenades, explosives, armoured and all terrain vehicles, water canons, telescopic sights and night vision devices, etc."
This is an extremely serious issue, which so far has been virtually ignored by the Spanish press, focused on the boats and planes controversy. No mainstream media have covered this, and I only found three articles via Google News on small local newspapers (one, two, three, all links in Spanish). Interestingly, without reporting on the exact date of the deal, all three blame the Aznar administration for the sale that took place during the first semester of 2004, although Zapatero took office on April 17th. That is, the semester was virtually split in two near-identical halfs, the first one with Aznar as PM and the second with Zapatero.
I still don't have solid information about the date, but I'd be willing to bet that it was under Zapatero. Why I'm saying this? Well, first because after all Zapatero has been getting cozy with Chavez since day 1, and, actually accused Aznar of supporting the 2002 coup that briefly ousted him (why would Aznar sell WMD material to someone he had tried to oust from power?). But mainly because if it had been under Aznar, the issue would not be silenced by the pro-Socialist MSM. I can assure you that it would be all over the place opening TV and radio newscasts, and would be on page 1 on El Pais, almost a Socialist-party house organ, since it would cast a darker picture of Zapatero's predecessor.
The issue merits a close followup, so I will keep you posted as soon as I get more information.
If Rumsfeld was reportedly angry about the sale of planes and boats, boy I can only imagine what he'll think about this.