Did a high-seas fistfight nix a Russia-Venezuela submarine deal?

This seems too good to be true, but for what it’s worth, Canadian defence reporter Dave Pugliese passes along a report that the planned sale of Russian nuclear submarines to Venezuela was scuppered after Hugo Chavez’s bodyguards mixed it up with some Russian sailors:   …the KILOs (the subs) destined for Vietnam were originally to ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
585669_090520_chavez2.jpg
585669_090520_chavez2.jpg
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez (R) and his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev wave to marines during a visit at the Udaloy-class anti-submarine vessel Admiral Chabanenko on November 27, 2008 at the port of La Guardia, 30 km from Caracas. A Russian naval squadron led by Northern Fleet's flagship Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) nuclear-powered missile cruiser, arrived in Venezuela to conduct a joint exercise with the Venezuelan Navy, as agreed on July 2008, when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visited Moscow. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

This seems too good to be true, but for what it's worth, Canadian defence reporter Dave Pugliese passes along a report that the planned sale of Russian nuclear submarines to Venezuela was scuppered after Hugo Chavez's bodyguards mixed it up with some Russian sailors:

 

This seems too good to be true, but for what it’s worth, Canadian defence reporter Dave Pugliese passes along a report that the planned sale of Russian nuclear submarines to Venezuela was scuppered after Hugo Chavez’s bodyguards mixed it up with some Russian sailors:

 

…the KILOs (the subs) destined for Vietnam were originally to be purchased by Venezuela but that deal collapsed after a fistfight on board the Russian cruiser “Peter the Great” when it and other warships were visiting Venezuela.

Venezuela’s leader Chavez was in the process of visiting the Russian flotilla but his bodyguards were prevented from boarding. A fistfight then broke out between the Russian sailors and the bodyguards. The nose of one Russian was broken.

That ended the sub purchase.

Robert Farley notes that the deal is indeed off, and it’s certainly not out of the question that the fight took place. But it’s likely that the bigger reason Chavez balked at the deal is that his government is low on oil money these days. 

THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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