Latin America: how are their military forces?

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The new security agendas in the region reflect the great challenges that Latin America currently has

Latin America: how are their military forces?

This security agendas due to ongoing threats such as transnational organized crime, drug cartels and the need for humanitarian assistance - as in the Venezuelan case - and relief missions - multilateral peace missions - are issues that promote the strengthening of the forces armed forces of the region in order to maintain the internal order of each State.

Leer en español: Latinoamérica: ¿cómo están sus fuerzas militares?

However, contrary to what happens in other parts of the international system, the armies of the Latin American region continue to focus on resolving conflicts of public security and internal order within their countries. In agreement with the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in several Latin American countries, armed forces are still active in internal security tasks. Thus, it is the cases of Brazil, Mexico and Colombia which present conflicts of common crime, organized crime and drug trafficking.

Countries with the greatest military strength in the region

According to the latest report "The Military Balance 2019" of the security thinking center of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the largest armies in the region are Brazil, followed by Colombia and Mexico.

Brazil is the largest army in Latin America and has been increasing its military capacity steadily in recent years. Currently, according to the IISS, there are 334,500 troops, 138,000 of which are in the army, 69,000 in the navy and 67,000 in the air force. In addition, it is considered as one of the most qualified with expenses around 28,000 million dollars.

On the other hand, Colombia It is the second country with the most troops in the region with around 293,000 active military according to the report.  With a long-standing armed conflict for decades and the fight against drug trafficking, the priority that security has on the agenda of this State is evident. It has 223,150 in the military, 56,400 in the navy and 13,650 in the air force.

Also read: Colombia: why do indigenous people of Cauca protest?

Likewise, the IISS highlights the inclusion of Colombia as a member of NATO, its progress in training and coaching and the strengthening of border cooperation with Brazil. According to the study, Colombia has invested around 10,000 million dollars in military expenditures.

Mexico as the third nation with the most troops, invested around 5000 million dollars in defense. In recent years, Mexico has modernized and expanded its security capacity due to its conflicts with organized crime and drug trafficking. According to the IISS, Mexico has 208,350 soldiers.

How is Venezuela?

According to the report, the Venezuelan military forces have 123,000 troops, one of the largest in the region. The Venezuela Team is relatively modern with Sukhoi Aircraft and anti-aircraft equipment provided by its allies China and Russia.

In that order of ideas, at the moment, Venezuela has sufficient capacities and funds to fulfill the security and protection tasks of the regime. However, it should not be overlooked that Venezuela is facing an economic crisis and that it has gradually increased in recent years. The aforementioned is seriously affecting the government's ability to sustain military expenditures, equipment maintenance and weapons acquisitions.

How are the other countries in the region?

The armed forces of Peru have a diversity of combat weaponry coming mainly from Russia, China and the United States. Currently according to the IISS , signed cooperation agreements in air control, humanitarian assistance and anti-narcotics with Colombia. On the other hand, its operations remain focused on combating drug trafficking and organized crime.

Chile, in turn, continues with the preparation and professionalization of its troops towards missions other than war, such as humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping. Similarly, without leaving aside a military position of external defense due to active conflicts with Bolivia and Peru. On the other hand, Ecuador has sought to improve relations with the United States under the presidency of Lenin Moreno, and the creation of a joint command between both nations is being studied.

Another different scenario is that of Argentina, due to its difficult economic situation, the southern country has not been able to efficiently renew its armed forces, and has reprogrammed its procurement projects for more austere years. Nevertheless President Macri has announced his intention to maintain the modernization plans, represented in the acquisition of 15 MIG-29 fighter aircraft to Russia, currently remains uncertain whether or not to perform modernization in the field of defense.


LatinAmerican Post | Camilo Salazar

Translated from "Latinoamérica: ¿cómo están sus fuerzas militares?"