Many thought that with the majority election of progressive governments in
However, the reality of the situation indicates that Latina America is submerged in uncountable conflicts that directly parallel the rising arms spending.
The countries in the region –with enough cash, and with macroeconomic growth caused by the spike in the price of petroleum, soy, copper, and other exported raw materials– are spending considerably on the military.
CONFLICTS FOR EVERYONE
“The Colombian Army, with 219,75 men, is the largest in South America, including
To these problems and others in Latin America we should add the internal conflict in
The most recent regional conflict involved
“By the end of 2007, Venezuela occupied the principal position as an importer of arms in Latin America, and it ranked ninth in the world” The Colombian military, with 219,175 men, is the largest in South America, even greater than that of Brazil, although as a whole the Colombian Armed Forces (including, in addition, the military marine corps and the Air Force) amounts to 258,227 members.
’S SUPPLY VENEZUELA
The increasing number of warmongering speeches and the growth in war expenditure are worrying. “South American military expenditure for the year 2006 was $34.02 billion” A report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which carefully observes the actions of Hugo Chávez’s government on the battlefield, judged that by the end of 2007 this country had become the greatest importer of arms in Latin America, and that it ranked ninth in the world, with $887 million thrown into the arms race.
According to a balance completed by the SIPRI,
According to the Comparative Atlas of Defense for the year 2007, disclosed by the Latin American Network of Security and Defense (RESDAL ),
“Colombia has purchased 24 Israeli Kfir fighter planes, Brazil is planning the construction of its first nuclear submarine, and Ecuador has increased its military spending by 19 percent” South American military spending for the year 2006 amounted to $34.02 billion, according to the figures recorded in the SIPRI Yearbook 2007: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security . This quantity represents a growth in the region’s military spending during the last 10 years from 30.54 percent, and 25.4 percent since the year 2004.
Following Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez’s arms purchases of military planes and assault rifles from Russia, the countries in the region continued reinforcing their arsenals: Colombia, with the purchase of 24 Israeli Kfir combat planes; Brazil, planning the construction of its first nuclear submarine; and Ecuador, increasing defense spending by 19 percent.
In general, regional arms spending increased by 55 percent in four years, reaching $38, 400 million in 2007, according to the reports of the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS ), whose head office is in
CHÁVEZ, AT THE HELM
“Chávez headed the region’s regression to the arms market with his proposition to make
Chávez headed the region’s regression to the arms market with his proposition to make
“In 2006 Chávez signed agreements for $3,100 million to acquire advanced weaponry”
The expenditures made by Venezuela, which has the greatest reserves of petroleum and natural gas in Latin America, have risen, as shown by the rise in petroleum prices, easily passing $100.00 in comparison to $12.30 when Chávez took power on February 2nd, 1999.
Its greatest purchases were made in 2006. In this year alone, Chávez signed agreements for $3,100 million in order to acquire advanced weaponry, including 24 Sukhi
“Chávez, with his anti-United States policies, intends to construct an axis to unite his partners, that is to say, whoever opposes
Su-30 fighter planes made in
THE ANTI-AMERICAN MILITARY AXIS
In an interview, United States Admiral James Stavridis, who analyzes Latin American military affairs, said that the sudden purchase of arms and advanced weaponry systems in
The Venezuelan president, with his anti-United States policies taking priority, intends to construct an axis to unite his partners in Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador and leftist guerrillas, including Iran, Belarus, North Korea, Syria, in short, anyone in opposition to Washington. Chávez sees this alliance in effect within the military plane as well.
Chávez drives one rearmament that is conventional as well as another to support his theory of systematic war. “The military exchange between
In addition, Chávez proposed the creation of a joint defense strategy in order to articulate the Armed Forces, the Air Force, the Marine, the National Guard, and forces of cooperation, intelligence corps in the countries that belong to ALBA, because the enemy is a shared one… To touch
AND THE COLOMBIAN EXCEPTION BOLIVIA
The military exchange between
Any analyst could say with confidence that Venezuela does not need 100,000 AK-103s, considering that it already has many; inasmuch, there is a risk that they are being passed on to Bolivia, maintained Christopher Langton, the chief of the IISS Department of Defense Analysis.
The Bolivian government announced that among its plans is the creation of a special fund dedicated to the assignment of royalties from hydrocarbons with the goal of increasing the Bolivian military’s budget. “Brazil considers the strengthening of its army to be a means of advancing its plans to play a more important role on the global stage” This measure responds president Evo Morales’s need to create a favorable critical mass of military men to support his political project, as well as to sufficiently strengthen the military apparatus in order to confront any hostile attempt from an internal sect or any movement advocating the fragmentation of national territorial unity, a latent threat that the country faces.
BRAZIL DISPUTES LEADERSHIP WITH VENEZUELA
Brazil, whose economy of $1.3 billion is the largest in Latin America, has less to fear from hegemonic intentions than does Chávez, but it considers the strengthening of its army to be a means of advancing its plans to play a more important role on the global stage. For example, it has ambitions to obtain a place on the National Security Council, or to be the leader of a Board of South American Defense, as a way also of controlling Chávez’s expansion and diminishing inequalities with the
In order to have more weight on the global stage, there are a few instruments of foreign as well as economic policy, says the retired
Lula’s government is creating a Strategic National Defense Plan, tied to national development and the defense of strategic natural resources, which allows for the development of a defense industry as well as a military and technological field, with an independent national production of technology. The projection for 2008 planned a growth of 53 percent for Defense, which goes from 6,500 million reales in 2007 to 10,000 million reales in 2008 (some $5,714 million). From there, up to 2,800 million reales could be destined to investment in equipment.
The Brazilian Defense Minister defends the thesis that
TROOPS IN TH ECUADOR-COLOMBIA BORDER
In 10 years
COPPER FOR WEAPONS
Military spending in
During the government of the socialist Ricardo Lagos, the three branches of the Armed Forces were modernized at the cost of $1,653 million. Of the $250 million that they received until 2003, the rise in copper allowed them to receive $438 million in 2004 and another $750 million in 2007.
“In 2007, the government of Alan García announced an increase of 10 percent in the military budget for 2008” A strategic ally of Chile, and an adversary of Peru, Ecuador has been seen to benefit from the alliance with Chile. Ecuador´s Ministry of Defense recently signed an agreement with the shipyard Asmar, of the Chilean Navy, in order to modernize its fleet of Ecuadorian submarines for $120 million.
As a reaction to Chilean modernization,
Si vis pacem, para bellum: if you want peace, prepare for war, councils the well-known Roman proverb. What is certain is that the economic improvement of the last five years has expanded military spending in a region where poverty continues to be a damaging whip.