China Launches Second Venezuelan Satellite

As China’s influence in South America grows, Chinese and Venezuelan state media report that China has launched a second satellite for Venezuela. This launch comes amid China’s increasing role in Venezuela’s economy. From CNN:

The observation satellite named Miranda launched from the northwestern Chinese province of Gansu.

It is Venezuela’s second satellite in orbit, according to the Venezuela State News Agency, AVN.

The first one — a telecommunications satellite — was launched by China in 2008. It is named after Venezuelan independence hero, Simon Bolivar, the news agency said.

Venezuela will use it to monitor the country, urban planning, military operations, and to combat illegal mining and illegal crops, according to the news agency.

According to Al-Jezeera, Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, is applauding the satellite launch as the Venezuelan election approaches:

“We’re seeing history … Venezuela has been with China at the forefront of history,” Chavez said after standing to applaud during a video link-up between the presidential palace, a launch center in China’s Gobi Desert and a Caracas street party.

In the run-up to previous elections, the president has often unveiled many projects in an effort to impress voters. This time, his campaigning has been much less intense, partly because he has suffered two bouts of cancer since June 2011.

Chavez, 58, says his “bourgeois” foe will scrap his social welfare programmes, such as subsidised food stores and programmes that make cash payments to poor families with children.

“It’s your future, young people, not mine. I’ve lived,” he told thousands of red-clad supporters at a rally on Friday.

The Venezuelan election has already resulted in two deaths. Reuters reports the satellite launch has further stirred passions surrounding the impending election:

Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles has mocked Chavez, who he says is focused on spreading his socialist project around the world but has done little to address the daily problems of voters such as crime, power cuts and inflation.

A dozen Venezuelan officials were at China’s Jiuquan launch center, near the Mongolian border, to watch the rocket carrying the “Miranda” satellite blast off into a clear blue sky.

Venezuelan state TV had broadcast hours of build-up alongside the headline “Space Revolution … a Sovereign View.”

For Capriles, it was a prime example of what he calls grandiose plans that prove Chavez is out of touch with voters.

Read more about China’s ties in South America.

September 30, 2012 9:46 AM
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