UK criticised over sales of military equipment to Venezuela – Rowena Mason Last modified on Friday 11 August 2017 02.31 EDT


Theresa May urged to suspend controlled export licences to Venezuelan government while violent clashes continue

Police on motorcycles patrol in Caracas, Venezuela
Police on motorcycles patrol in Caracas, Venezuela. Photograph: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Britain has sold military equipment worth millions of pounds to Venezuela in the last decade, it has emerged, prompting calls for Theresa May to suspend controlled export licences while the country in is the grip of violent clashes between police and protesters.

Government figures show military equipment was approved for sale from UK-based companies to Venezuela’s armed forces as recently as September last year, despite the Foreign Office listing the country as “of concern” regarding human rights.

Overall, £2.5m of military goods have been sold to the country since 2008, including components for military radar, weapon sights and military aircraft engines. In the last year of figures, to March 2016, licences for goods worth more than £80,000 were approved, including equipment for crowd control to be used by law enforcement agencies.

The revelations will prompt questions about why the government continues to allow arms sales to countries the Foreign Office lists as having a poor human rights record, from Venezuela to Saudi Arabia.

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