Spanish defense chief downplays EADS-Chavez deal
An American businessmen meeting with Spanish Defense Minister José Antonio Alonso asked an unwelcome question about the aborted EADS CASA plan to supply Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez with military transport planes.
Alonso seemed taken aback by the query, which was met with "murmurs and laughs" in the auditorium, Europa Press reports. He brushed off the American concerns, saying the issue was "old and antique."
The meeting took place at the Palace Hotel in Madrid on January 15 (pictured).
EADS CASA found itself in a pickle in Washington when it became known that the company was trying to sell Chavez the very same C-295 planes that it was attempting to sell the Pentagon as the new Joint Cargo Aircraft.
The Bush Administration embargoed US-made parts from the C-295s being sold to Chavez in early 2006. Faced with political pressure in Washington and considerable opposition from the blogosphere, EADS CASA canceled the deal a few months ago.