For what, you may ask?
For selling arms and other military equipment to Venezuela.
Here's the Miami Herald article which provides the details, with my comments interspersed.
CARACAS - Spain and Venezuela joined forces in defying Washington on Monday, signing several agreements that allow President Hugo Chávez's leftist government to receive a substantial amount of Spanish military equipment.
The deal, worth about $2 billion, is the most valuable ever obtained by the Spanish defense industry. It includes 12 naval transport and reconnaissance aircraft and eight patrol vessels, and according to Spain's Defense Minister José Bono, will support 900 Spanish jobs over nine years.
Eduardo Aguirre, U.S. ambassador to Madrid, recently made explicit Washington's opposition to the deal, which he described as a possible ``destabilizing factor in the region.''
It's a no-brainer, but of course, the U.S. are the bad guys.
Aguirre said the United States might withhold permission for the transfer of U.S.-licensed components that are part of the deal. The Spanish aircraft use U.S. technology in their communications and radar equipment. The patrol vessels could also use U.S.-designed components, depending on how the Venezuelans choose to equip them, Spanish officials say.
During the signing ceremony at the Miraflores presidential palace, Chávez called the Bush administration an ``imperialist elite which seeks to dominate the world.'' And he praised what he called Spain's ''majestic dignity'' in resisting U.S. pressure.
Leave it to Chavez to serve the B.S. nice and fresh.
''Much more than a commercial [deal], this ceremony is one of dignity, and a message to the peoples of the world,'' he said.
The Bush administration has repeatedly accused the leftist-populist Chávez of interference in his neighbors' affairs and of support for insurgent groups -- charges the Venezuelan government denies.
It has also expressed concern over what it sees as an unwarranted series of arms acquisitions, including not only the Spanish deal but the purchase from Russia of 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and a dozen military helicopters.ACCUSATIONS
In turn, Chávez has called Bush a ''genocidal murderer and a madman,'' and accused the U.S. government of planning to invade Venezuela and seeking his assassination.
Mini-fidel never sounded any better.
Chávez said the weapons purchases are purely defensive, adding that Washington has failed to honor contractual agreements to supply spare parts for F-16 fighters. U.S. officials have denied the accusations.
Spain's relations with the Bush administration have chilled since Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero came to power in April last year and withdrew Spanish troops from Iraq.To smooth things over, Rodríguez Zapatero has dispatched almost a dozen of his top aides to visit Washington, including Bono and Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos. Spanish diplomats in Washington say relations have improved.
You can kiss that goodbye after this latest news.
However, the Venezuelan weapons sale has loomed large as a major irritant and, according to news reports from Spain, has led to tensions within the Spanish government.
Spain is publicly unrepentant.
''We are not in an age of empires,'' Bono said at the signing ceremony.
No, Spain remembers all too well what happened to their empire. Of course, they are willingly, or unwillingly, helping in the possible start of a new one in Latin America.