Two reports were issued recently on Latin American arms purchases. Venezuela has recently given the impression of being particularly spendy on new weapons, perhaps because ex-military man Chávez likes to talk about guns and things. According to the Washington Office on Latin America, however, everyone’s going shopping. Brazil is the region’s biggest buyer of arms, followed by Chile.
The thing that gets me is that in addition to the usual jet fighters and whatnot, everyone is buying tanks. From the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s report:
A number of states in South America are investing in tanks and armoured vehicles. In September 2009 Venezuela received $2.2 billion in credit from Russia, which will be used to purchase an unknown quantity and type of air defence systems, artillery and armoured vehicles, as well as 92 T72M1M tanks. In 2009 Brazil began to take delivery of 220 second hand Leopard1A5 tanks from Germany, while Chile completed the acquisition of 140 secondhand Leopard2A4 tanks, also from Germany. In late 2009 Peru announced that it was planning to sign a deal for 80 MBT2000 tanks from China.
I guess it’s no crazier than Chile spending US$2.71 billion in 18 F-16s, or Brazil picking up a French nuclear submarine, but at least those weapons have some sort of broader range, added value, use in “diplomatic” displays of force, what-have-you. But tanks?
They’re pretty much only good for parades. Or arms buildups.
(Image from Wikimedia Commons)