With Increased Arms Spending, Latin American States Jockey for Regional Position

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CARACAS, Venezuela — Known for military strongmen, Latin America has mostly embraced peace since the end of the 1980s era of right-wing dictatorships. Now flush with profits from a commodities boom, however, many Latin American countries are beefing up their military capabilities as they seek to ascend the ranks of regional power players. Brazil, Chile and especially Venezuela have invested heavily in arms purchases. With $4.3 billion in purchases since 2005, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, Venezuela’s recent spending surpasses even Pakistan, at $3 billion, and Iran, at $1.7 billion — major military powers in their own regions. […]

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