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Military Spending in Latin America, 2009

Peer-acknowledged world experts on military spending, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think tank, this week released its survey of 2009 military spending around the world. When the focus is Latin America it makes for very interesting reading, especially when you consider the differences between verifiable facts and figures presented by SIPRI and the hyped out BS written in the English language about what goes on down this neck of the woods. The SIPRI figures that follow are taken from this EFE wire report.

Let’s start with overall spending in dollar terms per country:

Brazil was, far and away, the biggest spending country in 2009 with over $27Bn as the total budget. Next was Colombia spending over U$10Bn on all things warrior. Then comes Chile and Mexico and then down in 5th place comes the country painted as the big regional military spender by Hillary&Co, Venezuela.

But size of country matters too, so in this next chart we see the biggest spending countries in terms of total bill as a percentage of GDP.
So from this we see that Colombia spends the most on its military compared to the size of its economy. Then close behind comes Chile (its military is directly funded by state copper company Codelco) and then Ecuador (that has to look after its border with Colombia due to the FARC). Fourth place is Brazil (which suddenly looks pretty reasonable, but it’d be better if it were off the chart low as Mexico is) and then in fifth place again comes Venezuela, edging out that other obvious destabilizing threat to the world, the nasty belligerent bunch from…..errrr….Uruguay.

Then there’s this chart, which is really quite bizarre. This shows the Year-over-Year (YoY) change in military spending, with the 2009 spending as a percentage to 2008 spending.
Uruguay boosted its spending on the military the most in 2009 compared to the previous year, but as the sector is quite small in absolute terms we’re not that worried. Then comes Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia (up another 11%…natch) Mexico and then Peru, which is a special case in itself as it was Peru in 2009 that went around asking the other Latam countries to reduce spending on arms during the Unasur conferences….like wow, who in the world would have thought Twobreakfasts was capable of hypocrisy, eh? But then we have three countries that actually did do something about defence expenditures and cut their spending in 2009, namely Chile, Argentina and ….wait…what’s this? Venezuela dropped military spending by how much??? Wow, you’d never guess that Chávezlandia spent 25% less in 2009 from the biased shit you’ve been reading, would you?

Finally, some context. It’s always good to have some context.

So here’s a message to Hillary. When it comes to the subject of Venezuelan defence spending, do us all a favour and….

UPDATE: Lots of extra crunchy LatAm military spending goodness available via this cool post over at Maladjusted.

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