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Venezuela looks to install missiles in slums

Thursday - 11/7/2013, 6:04pm  ET

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro visit the tomb of the late President Hugo Chavez, at the Military Museum in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. Maduro's decree establishing Dec. 8 as a public holiday in honor of Chavez was announced Tuesday. The holiday will commemorate Chavez's final public appearance, when the cancer stricken leader anointed Maduro as his successor. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wants to install anti-aircraft weapons systems in hillside slums ringing Caracas to dissuade "imperialist" foreign powers from attacking the South American nation.

The president says arming civilians and putting state-of-the-art artillery in densely-populated neighborhoods is an integral part of an ongoing defense buildup. He didn't provide details about the plan during the televised visit to a poor neighborhood outside Caracas.

The late President Hugo Chavez spent billions of dollars acquiring Sukhoi fighter jets and other military hardware from Russia that critics said was unnecessary.

Maduro has vowed to continue strengthening the military as disapproval of his handling of the economy rises.

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