In December 2005, fresh from an expedition that tentatively sold $2 billion worth of military hardware to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez regime, Spain’s Defence Minister made the neighboring state of Colombia an offer. A combination of sales and aid transfers would give the FAC another 21 light tactical transport planes – and if they’d buy, he’d throw in 4 helicopters for free.
It was a peace gesture of sorts, but it failed to appease the USA, who blocked the Venezuelan aircraft by using US military export laws against key equipment. Even so, it was a smart marketing move. Colombia was already an EADS-CASA customer, thanks to previous transfers of Spanish C-212 Aviocar light STOL transports as anti-terrorism aid, and a 2002 buy of CN-235 Maritime Patrol Aircraft. In the end, Colombia bought at least some of what Bono was offering, and they’ve continued to add to that fleet over time.