Procurement: South American Arms Race

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January 24, 2008: Brazil is increasing its defense budget 53 percent (to $5.6 billion). Ecuador and Venezuela are making similar increases. But only Venezuela seems to be a problem, mainly because of the bombastic and threatening pronouncements of its ruler, Hugo Chavez. There is no real arms race in South America. Ecuadorians have to deal with Colombian narcoterrorists infiltrating into their country, and the Brazilians, despite a real leftist regime (as opposed to Chavez' personality-driven quasi-fascist outfit) are mainly concerned about Venezuela. In a show down, the Brazilians would almost certainly wax the Venezuelans, given Chavez' imposition of "Bolivarian tactics" on his army, and all the equipment he's been buying that's not very useful for a jungle war. But we don't see Chile or Argentina building up, and they're traditional rivals, nor Peru, which has issues with all its neighbors. Colombia is not only well armed, but it has the only combat experienced force in South America.

 


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