The visit of two Russian nuclear bombers Tupolev Tu-160 to Caracas, Venezuela’s capital early December was no coincidence. The government of Vladimir Putin has confirmed its intention to set up a military base in Central America, possibly on La Orchila Island, located 124 miles (200 km) off the Venezuelan coast.
According to the Russian agency TASS, the base would serve as support for long-range missions of the Russian Air Force’s strategic bombers.
“Our strategic bombers will not only have to return to Russia every time, but also will not perform aerial refueling while on a patrol mission in the Americas. missions and are then replaced on a rotating basis. This is how it should be done, ” said Colonel Shamil Gareyev.
A Venezuelan law prohibits the installation of a foreign military base in the territory of the South American country, but the deployment of temporary warplanes is possible.
The government of Nicolas Maduro would not have objected to Russian intentions. On the contrary: successor of the late president Hugo Chavez celebrated the Russian mission that brought the two Tu-160 to the country in a demonstration that bothered the neighbors.
“The arrival of Russia’s Tu-160 strategic bombers to Central America is kind of a signal to Trump to make him realize that abandoning nuclear disarmament will have a boomerang effect,” Colonel Eduard Rodyukov explained to TASS.
Venezuela, considered by specialists as a dictatorship, has longstanding ties with Russia and other countries aligned with the former Soviet Union like Cuba. Its air force uses several Russian airplanes as the Sukhoi Su-30 fighters.