August 28, 2007:
Venezuela is buying 5,000
refurbished Cold War era Russian sniper rifles. The SVD (Snayperskaya Vintovka
Dragunova) "Dragunov" Sniping Rifle was developed during the early 1960s. The
SVD was one of the first rifles designed and built exclusively for sniping.
Other nations have, and still do, modify sporting rifles for sniping. The 7.62mm,
ten pound Dragunov has a ten round magazine, is four feet long and, even with
crap ammo, is very accurate out to 600 meters.
Price has not been announced, but Russia has
previously sold refurbed Dragunovs for a thousand dollars or less. The
Venezuelans could be buying night scopes, quality ammo and other accessories,
that could make this a sale worth over $10 million.
The United States is concerned that Venezuela would
allow these weapons to fall into the hands of terrorists, criminals and various
leftist rebel organizations in the region. The 35,000 man Venezuelan army
certainly can't use that many sniper rifles.