The trade of obsolete military equipment in Latin America
The United States considers Latin America one of the preferred destinations for getting rid of its huge amount of obsolete military equipment. At this moment, the target is Argentina. Recently, Argentinian Air Force Staff chief, General Enrique Victor Amrein, agreed to buy twelve T-6C Texcan II aircraft, manufactured by the American company Beechcraft.
The decision caused much controversy, since Argentina had already signed a deal with Brazil to acquire the Super Tucano aircraft under much more favorable conditions. Argentina paid $ 160 million for the US aircraft. The United States has about 900 of these aircraft and is working to get rid of them by targeting Latin American countries.
In June, Argentinian Defense Minister Oscar Aguad welcomed Admiral Craig Faller, chief of the United States Southern Command. Besides discussing regional issues, such as the crisis in Venezuela or the strengthening of China's presence in the Americas, they also discussed trade.
For example, the United States intends to deliver 42 special vehicles, all secondhand, to the Argentinian Army. They are 20 trucks and 22 Humvee 4X4s, manufactured in the 1980s. Negotiations are underway and are excellent for Washington: they get rid of old and outdated equipment and still get profit.
It is important to remember that relations between Argentina and the United States stagnated at the time of the governments of Nestor and Cristina Kirchner (2003-2015). In 2011, cooperation and military exercises were suspended due to an incident with the load of a US military airplane, which was transporting equipment to train the Argentinian military forces in the combat to drug trafficking.
Now, the United States perceives Argentina as a promising market in the Defense area as well. Moreover: in an economic crisis, the country is unable to acquire the most advanced technologies, which is excellent for those who have entire yards full of obsolete material. Obsolete in the point of view of a great power, of course!
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the United States continues in the lead of the international trade of heavy military weapons. Between 2014 and 2018 alone, Washington accounted for 36% of global war exports. Of course, the main markets are rich countries like Saudi Arabia, for example.
For this reason, Latin America stands as a kind of ‘second division’ in the military arms trade. Of the 33 countries in the region, only Brazil and Argentina have Defense industries. The rest focus their efforts on cooperation agreements, such as Colombia, which has modern armed forces thanks to its alignment with the United States. Those who do not have this level of relationship, end up with the leftovers.
However, the leftovers also cost. And they are expensive for countries that have very little investment condition. But for the United States, it matters little.
Marcelo Rech is a journalist and editor for InfoRel. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org