Weapons: Made in Latin America?

Brazil tops the list, while Colombia develops arsenal to compete

Weapons: Made in Latin America?

Arms exports from Latin America to the world is a business that continues to grow, despite the unstable situation that many economies face in the world. According to SIPRI, the Research Institute for the Stockholm International Peace, the rises and falls in the indices of crude oil has generated military cuts in some countries during the last 4 years.

However, arms sales by Latin American nations have been rising. According to BBC reports, Brazil dabbled in this industry in the eighties, when it sold the Cascavel tanks to Colombia. These were manufactured by the company Engesa, which declared bankruptcy in 1993.

For the 90’s, the Brazilian company Embraer manufactured the aircraft Tucano, currently used in Colombia by the Air Force fighting against guerrillas. This aircraft was also purchased by United States and Afghanistan.

Brazil continues to lead the list of major suppliers of weapons thanks to their uncomplicated way to negotiate, without restriction customer regarding the use of weapons, or even regardless of human rights abuses. These features, for some critics, seem like a good market for mercenaries.

Brazil sold weapons to the Middle East that have exceeded 85 million dollars, followed by Chile with 20 million dollars, Ecuador with 6 million dollars, and Colombia with 1 million dollars. Colombia seeks to open the market with "Indumil" military industry, which manufactures weapons for its armed forces.

In 2017, Brazil's global revenues exceeded 375 million dollars from arms sales to the United States, Belgium, Estonia, Germany, and Saudi Arabia.

Mexico has been characterized in this market for the sale of small arms, receiving 73 million dollars, especially sales to the United States, Honduras, Paraguay, and Germany. In the business of small arms, Argentina also had gains of 19 million dollars, with clients such as United States, Czech Republic, Spain, and Austria.

Because of its half - century experience in fighting guerrillas, Colombia has been developing high - quality weapons, such as:

  • Grenade launcher MK-1 and MGL,
  • Walther guns as P 22,
  • River patrol boats LPR 40,
  • 500 - pound aerial bombs,
  • Tucanos modified
  • Arpía helicopters as 1, 2, 3 and 4, which are adapted from Sikorsky AHL 60
  • ACE Galil assault rifles.

The arms market worldwide exceeds 75 billion dollars. Only in the last three years, US sales have reached 20 billion after Russia with 11 billion. However, Latin American countries are also the best customers considering that business with Russia have exceeded 10 billion dollars.

Arms sales worldwide is a permanent source of income in the legal side of the economy and even more on the black market.


Latin American Post | Luis Alfonso Fernandez
Translated from “ Armas: ¿'Made in Latinoamérica'?”

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