November 1, 2009

Weapons Sales Spread Mistrust in Americas

Juan Tamayo, Miami Herald

AP Photo

Brazil says it must protect its newfound oil and gas riches. Venezuela says the U.S. military might attack it. Colombia is worried by Venezuela, Ecuador is watching Colombia and Paraguay is keeping an eye on Bolivia.

There's no question that weapons sales around the region are soaring. They almost doubled in just five years, from $24 billion in 2003 to $47 billion last year, according to one report by Colombian analyst Javier Loaiza. Others put the 2008 total at $60 billion.

U.S. government officials are monitoring the deals with a level of concern but avoid the term ``arms race.'' One said he preferred to call it a ``coincidental modernization of existing stocks'' to reflect the absence so far of widespread tit-for-tat arms purchases.

``They're buying big-ticket...

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TAGGED: Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Latin America

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