Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Armed to the Teeth

Beyond Latin America's left turn, there is a worrisome regional trend most analysts are overseeing: regional militarization.

A military build-up has taken place since the US lifted a ban to sale high-tech weapons in 2002.

Only in 2005 Colombia received close to US$ 643.3 million in American military and police aid.

Brazilian Air Force is investing heavily in modernization. Imports by the force increased by 177.5% in the first half of 2005 compared to the same period last year. That translates in US$ 34 billion in purchases for that period and a 20% increase from 2004. All due to the Brazilian Air Force Operational Recovery Program (PROFAB) implemented since 2002. Brazil already has the strongest regional air force.

Chile is buying 10 brand new F16 aircraft from the US and 18 second hand F16 from Holland for a total investment of US$745 million. Other ongoing Chilean acquisitions include two Spanish-French submarines, eight used Dutch-British war ships from Britain and 100 German Leopard tanks.

Venezuela is importing 100,000 Russian Kalashnikov assault rifles, and may import as any as 400,000 AK-47s. There are plans to buy up to 50 Russian MIG fighter aircraft. In addition, the regime is purchasing military hardware from Spain. Venezuela has also expressed interest in the development of nuclear energy for purely “peaceful purposes”. Some sales have been blocked by the US but Venezuela government will eventually get his military gear from other nations.

Sergey Svenchnikov, a representative from Russian state arms company Rosoboroneksport, put it this way in a recent visit to a weapons fair in Buenos Aires: "These countries' requirements for modern weapons are considerable. This is because the armed forces of most of the countries of this region intend to renew their armaments and military hardware in the very near future."


At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Trent said...

Unfortunately, I think this is the evolution of the Monroe Doctrine. Rather than simply saying "We'll always defend you" to the rest of the western hemisphere, the United States is now saying "We'll help you defend yourself and score a tidy profit for our defense industry as well."


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