Mexico triples weapons purchases in five years, reveals SIPRI report; US supplies 56%

Mexico became the second largest importer of weapons in Latin America – just behind Venezuela – beating Brazil, Colombia, and Chile, which reduced its spending.

Mexico increased its weapons imports by 180 percent between 2012 and 2016 compared to 2007-2011, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The document, released today, revealed that the country became the second-largest importer of weapons throughout Latin America – behind Venezuela alone – overtaking Brazil, Colombia, and Chile, which reduced its spending.

The main importing country of weapons of Mexico was the United States, which supplied 56 percent of the material.

The calculation system used in the report does not refer to actual sales prices, but to production costs.

The sharp rise in imports responds to “the militarized response against drug cartels,” Aude Fleurant, a Franco-Canadian analyst at SIPRI, told the newspaper El PaĆ­s.

According to the Spanish newspaper, which had access to more accurate SIPRI data, the main investment in armaments was made in the acquisition of medium and light equipment, as well as means for transporting troops, ammunition or food. “It is the kind of material that is imported to implement counterinsurgency measures,” Fleurant said. Mexico increased its number of helicopters, Humvees SUVs, and armored combat vehicles.

According to the SIPRI report, the whole of the countries of America decreased their investment by 18 percent over the previous lustrum.

Venezuela remained the main Latin American importer but reduced it by 17 percent. The main supplier of Caracas was Russia – the second world exporter – which supplied 75 percent of the armament.

The report revealed that world weapons trade rose 8.4 percent between 2012 and 2016 over the previous luster and reached its highest volume since the end of the Cold War.

He also noted that Saudi Arabia increased its imports by 212 percent over 2007-2011 and that most states in the region also recorded increases in their weapons purchases.

In Europe, imports fell 36 percent, although they are expected to rise again for the next few deliveries of contracts to acquire new fighter jets.

The report noted that although several countries bordering Russia have embarked on weapons purchase programs these have not yet been reflected in large volumes of deliveries.