Arms transfers are a frequent topic in Latin America’s news lately, much more than we’ve seen during the past ten years or so. The United States – which often gets accused, correctly, of being the world’s arms supermarket – is only partially involved. A few examples that appeared in the press last week:
- Argentina may buy planes from Russia and ships from France.
- Venezuela may donate helicopters to Bolivia.
- Peru is concerned about Chile’s purchases from the United States and elsewhere.
- Venezuela, barred from buying from Spain aircraft that have U.S. components in them, is about to buy twelve transport planes from Russia. Caracas’ recent purchases from Russia include 53 helicopters, 100,000 AK-103 rifles, and 24 Sukhoi SU-30 fighter planes.
- A conservative Brazilian military strategist warns that the region’s military balance has been upset, and urges the government to "revitalize our domestic armaments industry."
Meanwhile, the United States has been busy too. Whenever an arms sale exceeds $14 million, the Defense Department must notify Congress. The notifications page of the Defense Security Assistance Agency notes big sales to Chile (PDF), Colombia (PDF), and Brazil (PDF) since late September.