Last week Russian officials bragged about it how Russia defense industries since 2001 have sold more than $10 billion in weapons systems to several nations in Latin America. Assuming that figure is correct, and considering the region, that is $10 billion too high.
This week Newsweek reports that Russian defense agencies are targeting several South American nations for the sale of advanced fighter jets, including the Sukhoi Su-30. Included on the alleged buyer list are the usual suspects such as Brazil and Venezuela, but also Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, and Colombia are also on their target customer list.
One of the more bizarre, albeit alleged purchase agreements includes an $80 million transaction, spread over a term of financing years, with Nicaragua. According to various news sources, Nicaragua ordered 50 battle tanks from Russia including a large number of T-72s.
As part of the Nicaraguan tank sale, the Russians were allowed to finish construction of a electronic listening station somewhere in Nicaragua. If this is true, it would be the second or third, or more, such Russian facility in the Western Hemisphere. One of the other three is in Cuba.
Remember amigos, the Cold War is long over; however, when it comes to Russia, there is nothing new under the sun. Never has been and, at least in my lifetime, never will be.
Someone on our end needs to tell the Russians to, well, butt out of the Americas. And to U.S. friends in the region in places such as Argentina, Colombia, and others, please look elsewhere for your defense needs. Hint: start by looking North. And for the others, our regional adversaries that want to play political footsie with Russia, there will be consequences for doing so. Then again, one could take the view that you get what you pay for and, sooner or later, they’ll regret it in spades.