Russian Bombers in Venezuela Raise Cold War 2.0 Fears Across Latin America

Russian Bombers in Venezuela Raise Cold War 2.0 Fears Across Latin America
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, greets Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Dec. 5, 2018 (pool photo by Maxim Shemetov via AP Images).

Last week, the Maiquetia airport outside Caracas was the site of a remarkable event. On Monday, one after another, a series of Russian military aircraft landed in Venezuela. Most notably, the flock included two nuclear-capable, supersonic Tu-160 “White Swan” bombers, along with a passenger plane reportedly bringing about 100 Russian military personnel, and a large cargo plane possibly delivering military equipment.

Just a few days earlier, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and received promises of a $6 billion aid package. Now, Putin was using Venezuela to send a powerful message to Washington. For Maduro, concerned with his regime’s survival, that message was just as useful.

Some three decades after the Cold War faded away, the engines of a new Cold War could be heard roaring back into Latin America.

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