The annual report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Wednesday revealed that Venezuela is the Latin American country that reduced its military spending the most in 2009, with 25% less than the year before.
In total volume of military spending compared to the rest of Latin America, “Venezuela occupies fifth place with US $3.254 billion, a quarter less than the money it spent toward this end in 2008,” reported EFE in reference to the report.
Brazil increased its military spending more than any other Latin American country, allocating a total of US $27.1 billion in 2009, an increase of 16%. Brazil was followed by Colombia, whose military expenditure increased by 11%.
SIPRI indicated that Colombia is the country in the region that directs the most money toward military spending as a percentage of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with 3.7%.
Colombia’s spending is two tenths of one percent above Chile, which occupies second place in spending as a percentage of the GDP, ahead of Ecuador with 2.8%, Brazil with 1.5%, Venezuela with 1.4%, and Uruguay with 1.3%.
The Americas was the region which spent the most money on arms in 2009, due to the presence of the United States, which piled up US $661 billion, 43% of the world total.
The data supplied by SIPRI contradicts the matrix of opinion generated by the large, right-wing international media which have insisted that Venezuela “is in an arms race.”
Recently, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, Arturo Valenzuela, said that his country – the biggest buyer and seller of weapons – “is worried about the aggressive discourse and the arms race on the part of the government of Venezuela.”
“We cannot tolerate, at this level, threats of war between countries, meddling between countries that could be support for terrorist groups,” Valenzuela affirmed before a university auditorium in Colombia, a country besieged with seven United States military bases as the result of an accord that has been considered a violation of the nation’s sovereignty.
Translated and expanded by James Suggett for Venezuela Analysis. To view the SIPRI report, click here. To view the EFE report, click here.