Uruguayan President Concerned Over Arms Race In Latin America

By Dialogo
September 15, 2009

Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez, and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, expressed their concern about an arms race in Latin America, announced after the massive purchases by Venezuela. "The race is already there, it's a reality," Vazquez said in a press conference after meeting with Clinton at the State Department. "Not only is our country worried" about the arms race, but it also opposes it because it diverts resources in countries that suffer great poverty, Vazquez said. "It's a fact that the countries (in the region) are buying weapons," added the Uruguayan president. "Hopefully we can see a change of attitude in Venezuela," Clinton said for her part. The Secretary of State insisted that her government has already expressed its "concern for a number of arms purchases from Venezuela," which, she said, "surpasses the rest of the region." "We urge Venezuela to be transparent, clear about the purpose of these arms purchases," Clinton said. Venezuela obtained a loan of $2 billion dollars for the purchase of arms from Russia, stated by President Hugo Chávez, who stressed the acquisition of 92 T72 tanks and an unknown number of anti-aircraft systems to the country, following an extensive international tour . One of the pitfalls, warned the head of U.S. diplomacy, is the possible diversion of these weapons to armed groups or terrorists in the region.