Military spending in Latin America increased slightly in 2012: report
By Dialogo February 09, 2014
Worldwide military expenditures in 2012 were estimated to have been $1.75 trillion (USD), a slight decrease from the amount of money countries spent on military programs in 2011, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The decrease of 0.4 percent was the first time since 1998 that worldwide military expenditures decreased, according to SIPRI.
Military spending increased slightly in Latin America.
Nonetheless, the amount of money spent on military programs in 2012 – the most recent year for which such expenditures are available – was still one of the highest amounts ever spent, according to SIPRI.
Military spending cuts in the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, and a decrease in such expenditures by countries in Western and Central Europe accounted for much of the global drop in military spending, the report said.
“The reductions were substantially offset by increased spending in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America. China, the second largest spender in 2012, increased its expenditure by 7.8 percent. Russia, the third largest spender, increased its expenditure by 16 percent,” according to the SIPRI report.
The United States spent the most on military programs, $682 billion (USD), according to the report. The U.S. was followed by China, which spent $166 billion (USD) ; Russia, 90.7 billion (USD); the United Kingdom, $60.8 billion (USD), and Japan, $59.3 billion (USD).
Among Latin American countries, only Brazil was in the top 15 in terms of expenditures. Brazil ranked 11th on the list.
Increased military spending in Paraguay, Brazil, and Mexico
Military spending by countries in Latin America increased by 4.2 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year, according to the SIPRI report.
Paraguay increased its military spending by 43 percent.
Brazil increased military spending by $15 billion or 34 percent, and Mexico increased military expenditures by 10 percent, according to the SIPRI report and the Center for Strategic & International Studies.
Mexico increased defense spending to fight international drug cartels. Some of these organizations, like the Sinaloa Cartel, also operate in Latin America. The Sinaloa Cartel is led by fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
In Brazil, spending on strategic programs, such as the development of submarines for the Navy, the modernization of its Air Force aircraft, and development of the transport aircraft KC-390 accounted for most of the increase in defense spending, according to the SIPRI report.
Brazil’s military spending has increased dramatically since 2004, according to an analysis written by Santiago Pérez, a security analyst on Latin American military issues.
“The federal government of Brazil stressed that military investments are in clear and uninterrupted expansion since 2004. The increase in absolute terms during that period was 480 percent, “ Pérez wrote. “
The expansion of defense spending responds to the logical necessity of properly defending the important natural resources of Brazil´s vast geography: drinking water, recently discovered oil under its seabed, the Amazon´s natural resources as well as other assets belonging to future generations should be properly protected,” Pérez wrote.
Preparing for the World Cup
Brazil is also increasing security in preparation for hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Armed Forces and elite agents from the National Security Force of Brazil are working together to improve security for World Cup events. The games will take place from June 12 to July 13, 2014.
About 600,000 foreign tourists are expected to go to Brazil to watch the games and take part in other World Cup events. The Special Secretariat for Security at Major Events (SESGE), which is part of the Ministry of Justice, is coordinating security preparations. Security officials are preparing to prevent terrorist attacks, violence by organized crime groups, and fan riots.
Union of South American Nations
Military spending by the members of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) nearly doubled between 2006 and 2010, according to the SIPRI report. UNASAR is comprised of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Overall, South America continues to be one of the regions which spends the least on military programs, said SIPRI researcher Carina Solmirano told the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).
“In absolute terms, South America continues to be one of the regions that spends the least on its militaries,” Solmirano said. “ To add some perspective, the $63.3 billion (USD) spent by South America is slightly above that spent by France alone, and represents only 4 percent of total global military expenditures.”