Chile is the Latinamerican country which most spends in defense, ahead of Venezuela and Brazil according to a report published in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
Under the title of "Latinamerica is rearming", the influential Madrid newspaper ponders if, with the excuse of a renewal of obsolete military equipment, South America is not launched in an arms race?
According to figures in the article, Chile has spent US$ 2.785 billion in equipment renewal followed by Venezuela with US$ 2.2 billion and Brazil US$ 1.342 billion.
El Pais also points out that Ecuador, Chile and Colombia are the three countries, which last year spent a higher percentage of their GDPs in defense: an average 3.5% which contrasts with 1.13% for Argentina and 0.43% in Mexico.
However the big difference can be appreciated in the kind of equipment purchased.
"While Chile has opted for the most advanced technology, Venezuela has concentrated in equipment to arm a significant percentage of its civilian population.
Brazil has been spending in combat and transport means to ensure oversight and control of the Amazon basin and Argentina has purchased radars and missiles for air combat".
The Spanish newspaper stresses the differences between Chile and Venezuela, the two countries with the longest shopping list, particularly Chile that has acquired equipment non existent in the region until now.
Chile among other equipments has acquired a hundred Leopard II combat tanks from Germany; two newly built French-Spanish submarines with missile capabilities; 10 F-16 fighter bombers with medium range air to air missiles from the United States and another batch of 18 F-16 refurbished in Holland.
Venezuela’s purchases are mainly helicopters and transport aircrafts from Russia and Spain plus combat aircrafts from Brazil and 100.000 AK-103 and AK-104 assault rifles from Russia.
Finally the newspaper points out that Chile has repeatedly sustained that the country’s Defense policy is "transparent and exclusively defensive" and that its military capability "will not vary in the coming years".
Mercopress – www.mercopress.com