Russia Works to End US Arms Dominance in Latin America

Image: Russia Works to End US Arms Dominance in Latin America Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Wednesday, 16 Oct 2013 05:55 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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Brazil may buy an advanced air defense missile system from Russia, breaking Western defense firms’ longstanding dominance in Latin America, the International Business Times reported Tuesday.
 
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who arrived in Rio de Janeiro Monday for meetings with senior Brazilian officials, is spearheading Moscow’s unprecedented efforts to bolster military collaboration between the two countries.
 
Moscow wants to sell Brasilia its Pansir-S1 and Igla air-defense missile systems, which could be used to enhance safety during next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
 
The potential Brazilian deal is estimated to be worth $1 billion, according to a report in Pravda. Russia also hopes to sell 110 BTR-80A and T-90 tanks worth another $1 billion to Peru, which Shoigu is scheduled to visit later this week.
 
Moscow has long had its sights on expanded military sales to Latin America, the International Business Times added.

While the Venezuelan government remains the Kremlin’s top ally in the South America, the country has plunged into an economic crisis since the death of President Hugo Chávez on March 5.
 
Venezuela’s weak economy has made it impossible for Chavez’s successor, President Nicolás Maduro, to sign new weapon-sales agreements with Russia.

All the contracts signed under Chávez have been executed, including the sale of Sukhoi SU-30 fighter jets, the most advanced warplanes today in the Western Hemisphere outside of the United States.
 
Moscow’s attempt to enter the Latin American defense market could be bad news for the Boeing Corp. The firm had hoped to reach a $4 billion agreement to sell F-18 Super Hornets to Brazil.
 
However, the Global Post reported last month that the deal could be stalled in the wake of news that the National Security Agency had been spying on Brazilian institutions; on President Dilma Rousseff herself, and on the state-owned oil company Petrobras.

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