Military spending across South America has doubled in the past five years, although there is no noticeable arms race, a report published by a regional grouping said on May 11.
From 2006 to 2010, annual spending went from $17.6 billion to $33.2 billion among the 12 members of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the group said in its report.
Total spending reached $126 billion over the five years, but as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), it remained “stable through the five-year period at an average of 0.91 percent,” the report said.
“In this respect, South America is lower than other regions of the world.”
And these figures mean “we cannot say there is an arms race or a militarization of the region.
UNASUR groups Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Brazil has spent the most on defense, some 47 percent of the total, followed by Colombia with 17 percent, Venezuela (10.7 percent), Chile (nine percent), Argentina (8.3 percent), Ecuador (4.5 percent) and Peru (four percent).
However, military spending in Ecuador represents the largest slice of GDP across the region at 2.74 percent, and Colombia with 1.89 percent. Brazil, the region’s largest economy, spends less than one percent of its GDP on military spending, as do Argentina and Venezuela.