Chile’s Aggressive Military Arm Purchases Are Ruffling the Region, Alarming in Particular Bolivia, Peru and Argentina

• Is the Chilean military preparing for a new computer game: War of the Pacific: Part II?
• Bachelet administration unwilling, or organically incapable of restraining unnecessary transactions
• Chile’s neighbors turn to emphasizing social and economic reform as they face looming shortfalls and severe social unrest; meanwhile, Chile’s near autonomous armed forces go on weapons shopping spree
• In recent years, Chile’s military has purchased jets, ships and tanks, but for what aim?

Despite the fact that Chile has not engaged in a conflict with another state since the War of the Pacific in the late nineteenth century, the Chilean military has been carrying out aggressive weapons purchases in recent years. Long known for having an almost semi-autonomous military force, Chile, in recent years, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade its armed forces, transforming them into the most consequential military establishment in the subcontinent.

From a practical point of view, the country is not facing any conceivable external military threat. The wide range of military purchases over the past few years demonstrates that the previous Socialist-led administrations of Ricardo Lagos as well as the current one of President Michelle Bachelet, for all their leftist rhetoric, are reluctant to confront the country’s powerful military establishment over how it should spend its budget, and would far rather appease it. This customary appeasement only makes Chile’s military aggressive and demanding, if not belligerent, as it faces its neighbors, but it also illuminates the inherent timorous nature of civilian rule in Santiago, vis-à-vis its voracious uniform services.

Charge It To This Copper Credit Card
Since around 2000, the Chilean military has gone on a buying spree, spending $2.8 billion for weapons, ostensibly to modernize its old and obsolete equipment. The purchases, which have led to expressions of alarm in neighboring Argentina, Peru and Bolivia, include 10 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter planes acquired from the United States, 18 second-hand similar warplanes from the Netherlands, frigates, two submarines and 118 Leopard IIA4 tanks from Germany.

On January 31, 2006, it was reported that Chile had originally announced its intent regarding the F-16s in 2002 upon the conclusion of the 20-year ban on the U.S. export of high-tech weaponry to Latin America. The F-16s are not equipped with advanced air-to-air missiles in keeping with a U.S. policy against introducing new military technology to the region. Authorities did not say the type and manufacturer of the missiles the planes will eventually carry. Also, there have been rumors that Chile (in addition to the Philippines, Mexico and Paraguay), has shown interest in purchasing F-5E warplanes from Taiwan.

Regarding its navy, Chile has purchased eight frigates from Holland and Britain (four from each). On August 1st, there was a ceremony in Valparaiso where the Chilean navy officially took command of the former Dutch frigate now under the name of Almirante Riveros. In attendance at the ceremony were important dignitaries such as Chilean Defense Minister Jose Goñi Carrasco, the Commander of the Chilean Navy Admiral Rodolfo Codina Diaz and the Commander of the Royal Dutch Navy, Vice-Admiral Jan Willem Kelder. The three remaining Dutch-purchased, and now being refurbished, frigates are the Blanco Encalada, Almirante Latorre and Capitán Prat. According to reports, the Almirante Riveros, under Captain Ronald McIntyre Astorga, rumored to make 30 knots, is fueled by a mix of gas and diesel and is equipped with surface-to-surface Harpoon missiles and surface-to-air Sea Sparrows. The Chilean navy also purchased frigates from the British Royal Navy, the first of which- the former HMS Sheffield- has now been renamed Admiral Williams. Santiago is waiting for the delivery of three others, the future Cochrane, Lynch and Condell. In addition, it is expecting the delivery of two new Scorpene submarines built by a Spanish-French consortium.

In addition, Santiago announced its intentions to buy 118 German-made Leopard tanks. Former Defense Minister Jaime Ravinet said that the Chilean armed forces would soon be replacing “old units dating from the Korean War years.” The ministry did not disclose the total value of the tank purchase, but the conservative Santiago newspaper El Mercurio reported the price at $100 million. After the new tanks arrive, the Chilean army will have a total of some 300 tanks, according to the newspaper. Finally, the Chilean army has purchased around 100 Humvee jeeps, which will be used for reconnaissance, utility and scouting functions.

Navy commander Admiral Rodolfo Codina said the frigates were necessary because the navy’s old units “were obsolete and had logistical problems due to the lack of spare parts because of a very old technology.” On June 29, the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army, General Óscar Izurieta, left for Germany to oversee the transfer of the Leopards. Chilean authorities insist that the newly purchased warplanes, tanks, frigates and submarines were merely replacements for obsolete material, and should not be seen as representing any kind of military challenge.

There’s Nothing Like Copper
Due to the famous Copper Law (Ley del Cobre Reservado) implemented in 1958 and later amended during the era of military rule under Augusto Pinochet, the armed forces are automatically granted a fixed ten percent of the nation’s export earnings from the state-owned (and the nation’s largest) copper company, the Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (CODELCO). CODELCO is the world’s largest copper producer, with an annual output of around 1.8 million metric tons (two million tons). As a result of the recent spectacular rise in copper prices, these earnings now have been translated into a huge amount of buying power for the Chilean armed forces.

The Copper Law statute has been on the books for decades, but it was revised during the Pinochet dictatorship and has not been amended since civilian rule was restored in 1990. A January 7, 2007, article in The New York Times explained that “record prices for copper, Chile’s main export, have given the government a multibillion-dollar windfall, but it also has produced for Chile’s economy unexpected side effects and has set off a sharp political debate about how to use the money.” The article notes that driven largely by China’s seemingly insatiable demand for metals of all kinds, the price of copper quadrupled from 2003 through 2006, reaching record levels at midyear before falling to just under $3 a pound at year’s end. That increase has helped Chile build its foreign reserves and buttress its budget surplus, which in turn, have been key factors in the peso’s rise in value against the dollar. The daily average copper price for the first half of 2007 was about US$3.06 per pound on the London Metal Exchange, 11.5 percent higher than the corresponding figure in 2006. Copper mining accounts for roughly 7 percent of Chile’s total GDP, and in 2006 copper represented 57 percent of the country’s total exports and 32 percent of its total fiscal revenues. According to a June 1 briefing in Global Insights, data from the Chilean Budget Office (DIPRES) reveals that the Chilean central government achieved a 3.56-trillion-pesos (US$6.63-billion) overall surplus during January-April 2007. Copper mining continues to drive the expansion in fiscal revenue: mining taxes and copper earnings from the operation of state-owned CODELCO accounted for 27.5 percent of total fiscal income for the period. The latter alone reached 7.88 trillion pesos (up by 20.7 percent year-on-year in real terms).

The issue at hand is that, regardless of how much CODELCO produces and how high the price of copper rises on the international market, the law requires ten percent of the total value of CODELCO’s revenue must be reverted to Chile’s armed forces. As a consequence, not only is CODELCO deprived of funds needed to fully expand its production, but also President Bachelet’s ambitious social programs risk going underfinanced. A further and more serious result is La Moneda’s controversial purchase of combat aircraft, tanks, missiles, frigates and submarines for seemingly no rational strategic defense purpose. This has contributed to creating growing tensions in the region, and has forced countries that should be devoting the bulk of their resources to the internal development, to instead embark on a costly arms race.

Chile: Streets Filled With Copper
Santiago also has embarked on a program to expand some of the country’s producing copper mines, which would have the eventual effect of increasing national revenues. For example, copper production at Chile’s Collahuasi mine will more than double by 2014, in order to produce over one million additional tons of the red metal per year. This will make the facility into the world’s second-largest copper mine. According to a Reuters filing, in the first phase of the expansion at Collahuasi, which is located in copper-rich northern Chile, the mine will boost the capacity of its concentrator to 170,000 tons per day from its current production of 130,000 tons per day. Collahuasi is located in the heart of Chilean copper country, high in the mountains, and in what is considered one of the world’s driest regions.

The vitality of Chile’s extant copper law demonstrates that the country, almost two decades after the end of the Pinochet regime, is served by a nearly autonomous military, which is largely exempt from legislative oversight, leaving Chile more a guided democracy than a wholly free democratic society. The high command of the armed forces essentially has been granted a blank check to carry out whatever impulse military purchases they desire, with the Bachelet administration has proving incapable, or unwilling, to take a firm stand against the status quo. The fact that the military still receives ten percent of copper revenue is an example of an antediluvian tradition which does not legitimately belong to the purviews of a constitutional society under civilian rule, especially when reflecting upon how such funds could be so beneficently earmarked for a range of social justice projects.

Between the Soldiers and the People
Bachelet’s election, in the minds of many Chileans, was a vote for change. However, some of the Pinochet-era’s “way of doing things” has not been substantially changed, including tolerating an essentially autonomous military characterized more by arrogance than by deferring to any civilian-lead chain of command. The military exists as almost a separate entity, outside of government control, with its own guaranteed permanent source of income in the form of a fixed percentage of copper revenues. In June 2006 there were massive protests in the country by university students over the deep flaws in the country’s educational system. According to a June 8, 2006 article in the Los Angeles Times, there were banners at the protest which proclaimed: “prices for copper go through the roof, education falls through the floor.” This manifestation captured the anger of students enduring what they called second-rate schooling, while an export-driven economic boom had methodically equipped the military with barrel full of cash. The article further divulged that while Chile does not suffer the 50 percent-plus poverty rates and political instability of neighboring Peru and Bolivia, the billions of dollars in surpluses it reaps from mining revenue have not yet been translated into significant improvements of the public education system, which is in urgent need of a dramatic overhaul.

Most recently there have been protests by CODELCO workers against the mine’s management. The strike lasted a total of 36 days, sporadically halting production at three of the company’s five units. CODELCO officials placed the losses attributed to the strike at more than $90 million, as a result of stalled production and damage to company property caused by erratic violence at the hands of the workers. According to the mine’s management, perhaps a self serving explanation of what went awry, one reason behind these protests is the presence of Chile’s Communist Party (Partido Comunista) within the local trade union’s leadership, which, according to this claim, has been stirring up the workers. It has been reported that the Confederación de Trabajadores del Cobre (Copper’s Worker’s Confederation – CTC), which was created in early June, is certainly marked by the presence of Communist Party activities. The flimsy linkage behind these charges is that Cristian Cuervas, an official of the country’s Communist Party, is also president of the CTC, as are some other high ranking officials of the union.

Parallel to these issues, on July 1, the army’s Commander-in-Chief, General Óscar Izurieta, warned that the armed forces must be apolitical for the sake of Chile’s internal stability. In an interview with El Mercurio, General Izurieta maintained that, “living in peace is a tremendous effort for the army.” He added that his job is complicated by “themes that take me away from my role and that oblige me practically to enter the political arena.” Regardless of the obvious ominous innuendos behind Uzurieta’s words and the Chilean military’s well established brutal reputation and supercilious attitudes that do not well serve democracy’s cause, one must wonder how many non-publicized meetings have taken place among the Chilean military’s high command, Bachelet, or her representatives, and CODELCO’s management. Without a fully-thriving copper industry, not impaired by chronic work stoppages, the military would not have the huge budget at its disposal to annually spend on new hardware that may be far from being necessary for the nation’s survival.

Who Art Thine Enemies?
As a Peruvian intelligence officer explained in a COHA interview, “the Chilean military has the money and the influence, so they will buy whatever weapons they want, even if they do not really need them.” Peru and Bolivia already have smaller, far less-equipped air forces than Chile. Moreover, tensions still persist as a result of the bitter legacy of the 19th century War of the Pacific, which made Bolivia into a landlocked country by stripping it of its coastline. Peru and Chile vehemently disagree over their territorial and maritime border, while many Peruvians and Bolivians still hold a grudge over the immense amount of Bolivian territory lost to Chile during that war.

Peru’s Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde has acknowledged that Peru is concerned about Chile buying sophisticated U.S. F-16 warplanes, stating “the purchase of this fleet affects the region’s strategic and military balance.” He added that two F-16s are based in the Chilean military establishment at Iquique, near the Peruvian border. Furthermore, the Peruvian military has made only minor, military purchases in recent years. During the Alejandro Toledo administration, Lima purchased 2 Lupo-class frigates from Italy. Most recently, under the Alan Garcia presidency, plans have been formulated, according to the daily La Republica, to upgrade the air force’s fleet of 12 Mirage-2000 fighter jets. However, as significant as these purchases and upgrades may be, they fall woefully short when compared to Chile’s high-flying arms acquisitions. In addition, Peru today faces the possible revival of the terrorist Shining Path movement, which could mean that Lima might have to focus on internal security (i.e. creating a counterinsurgency strategy), rather than concentrating on external threats (i.e. Chile) in the immediate future.

Bolivia as a Threat?
Meanwhile, under the rule of Evo Morales, Bolivia let it be known last year that it would begin building military outposts along its borders, prompting a perturbed reaction from Bolivia’s traditionally uneasy neighbors, Chile and Paraguay. A military border outpost is also said to be in La Paz’s plans for the Chile-Bolivia border. La Paz and Santiago still do not have normal diplomatic relations (harking back to the War of the Pacific) as Bolivia continues to vocalize its demands for access to the sea through Chilean (former Bolivian) territory. However, in spite of the historical demands and the proposed border garrisons, it is surreal to believe that Bolivia, unless in alliance with other area countries, can pose anything like a major military threat to Chile.

A military base, or outpost, may be a good place to organize and train troops, however the Bolivian military still lacks the hardware (like tanks or artillery pieces) to pose a significant challenge to Chile. Moreover, because it is a landlocked country, should the Bolivian military wish to make significant upgrades by buying additional hardware, this equipment would logically have to be transported through Peruvian territory one way or another, as Lima remains La Paz’ historical ally. Transportation through another country would make it obvious what Bolivia is doing and why. Therefore, Bolivia’s proposed military outposts along the Chilean border could best be regarded as Morales exhibiting either “bark or bite,” but Chile would be sure to get the message. Morales would want to show his people that he is not afraid of Chile, but that he will not go as far as openly threatening his increasingly formidable neighbor to the west.

The Argentine Prong
Another neighboy of Chile is Argentina, whose military, to put it mildly, has had major equipment problems of its own. In March 2006, the Argentine Air Force lost a Lear Jet with its six-man crew, which had been deployed on a humanitarian mission to Bolivia. This year, on April 11, its icebreaker, Almirante Irízar, caught fire in South Atlantic waters off Patagonia (apparently due to a malfunctioning generator), forcing the crew to abandon ship and resulting in the additional loss of two Sea King helicopters. On May 1, a Mirage M3 fell out of the sky during an air display, killing the pilot. After the last accident, Argentine Defense Minister Nilda Garré (who is, ironically, now under investigation for possible tax evasion resulting from government military purchases) revealed that following the 2006 crash in Bolivia, she had ordered an audit on the operational safety of the aircraft in the inventories of all three armed services. One immediate result was the allocation of additional budgetary funds to renovate the fleet of 13 Hercules transporters, of which only three were considered to be “relatively available.” Garré said, “we have very old aerial material, as a result of more than 20 years of disinvestment in the sector and a 50 percent budget reduction in that period.” On May 18, she announced that Argentina had taken up a U.S. offer of four Sea King helicopters (two of them to replace those lost in the Almirante Irízar fire), and that more funds would be made available to the navy to increase the number of hours its assets can spend at sea, and to locally develop a light utility vehicle for use by the Argentine marine corps. Officials said that the government was also looking at the possibility of buying Chinese helicopters for army use.

In recent years, the Argentine armed forces have not engaged in any major military purchases, perhaps as a consequence of its repugnant reputation derived after a decade of brutal military rule during the 1970s and 1980s. Even though its armed forces seem to be fairly quiet these days after killing almost 30,000 innocent civilians during the aforementioned period, there is still a traditional animosity for the Chilean military by their Argentine counterparts, which should not be discounted. During the Falkland War in 1982, the Pinochet regime gave vital intelligence information to British forces, which aided the U.K. in defeating the Argentine military. Such an “afrenta” has certainly not been forgotten by the Argentines; Chile’s current flea-market weapons procurement extravaganza can only continue to exacerbate ancient animosities among the military high command in Buenos Aires.

Chile’s Militarized Democracy
Chile’s current military expenditures have very little to do with the simplistic apologia that this is only about the “replacement of ancient equipment,” and that it has much more to do with strengthening the ego of the Chilean military high command and allowing it to cast a longer shadow, both regionally and within the internal power structure of Chilean society. The country’s armed forces, due to high copper revenues, have wealth to waste, and are in a rush to purchase more tanks and fighter planes, instead of investing their surplus funds in better nutrition and equipment for rank-and-file troops, let alone trying to improve the standard of living of the poor.

Contrary to what its military senior command may want to believe, Chile today faces no external military threats (even though it is also necessary to say that it has few friends in the area, that feel that it is worthy of anything more than a cold handshake). If anything, its own military has become the country’s most problematic foe, expending scarce resources in order to buy weapons of destruction, instead of focusing on badly needed social and educational programs. These purchases demonstrate that, ultimately, the military remains largely an autonomous entity in Chile, a separate entity from Bachelet’s civilian government and not operating under any predictable bona fides. The Chilean military has, largely on it own, engaged in a one-sided arms race in the Andean sub-continent, with the nation’s civilian government lacking the political will or strategic interests to put an end to the hypertrophy of vital institutions that stems from the Pinochet dictatorship’s ghastly legacy and Santiago’s tolerance of such a skewed definition of democracy.

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20 thoughts on “Chile’s Aggressive Military Arm Purchases Are Ruffling the Region, Alarming in Particular Bolivia, Peru and Argentina

  • March 20, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Nonsense. It is unreal to say Chile has no enemies or never will have them because nobody is attacking the country today. Just look the map and you will see how difficult his strategic situation is. Do not forget: Argentina threatened Chile with war in 1978, Peru claims a territorial piece of land and sea today and Bolivia does not forget his loses in 1879. Two of these countries and almost the third, too, engaged in 1879 to wage war against Chile and such a situation can happens again. If Chile is not heavily armed, it will be pushed against the ropes sooner or later. It can occur under any pretext or conflict and are lot of them in stock, present or potential. In such a situation to think that you only has a right and reason to have an strong army only if danger is at sight is just preposterous. Wars are the result and comes after a long way to them, step by step. See the many cases, from Peloponnese war to WWII. And of course they come more easily if, after the pressure has mounted, one of the sides in conflict appears as easy prey.
    For Chile a strong army is an insurance policy we must have.
    Like it or not, the old dictum "Si Vis Pace Parabellum" is still truth

  • June 2, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Even though military standards of Chile are well above the region, this is also based upon its relative wealth in comparison with same region. You simply cannot compare Bolivia or Peru with Chile, and expect last one to follow or imitate first poorer countries in its budget. The Chilean per capita income is 3 1/2 higher than Peruvian, and more than 10x higher than the Bolivian, these are worlds apart.

    It would be similarly void if you “blame” Spain for its high military expenditures in comparison with Morroco and call Spain a hostile country towards its southern neighbor.

    Also you cannot say that Chile does not have programs to fight poverty. The country has reached the most impressive result in South America in the last 18 years, decreasing poverty from 44% to 13.7% nowadays. No other country in Latin America can show these results, and going together with these steps, it’s only normal that a wealthier country has higher expenditures than it’s poorer neighbors (but same counts for higher expenditures on social, structural and all other areas).

    Kind Regards

  • February 9, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    Peru and Chile are under observation by the maritime theme… Peru wants the middle line (besectrix)…and Chile wants a paralell line … however this is under International Court of La Haya.
    What will happen if LA HAYA, define the maritime limit as the bisectrix?…as its last judges (Nicaragua-Honduras for instance).
    As an answer to “..The country has reached the most impressive result in South America in the last 18 years..” it is in some way false… it is easy to say having into account 15 millions of people.. against 30 millions of people in Peru, besides we have seen by TV..the rage of protests of chilean students…they claim for better conditions in education..Chileans see overshoulder to the other countries..they think that people in Peru are poor and bad think that is a kind of ignorance per se. By today (2009).. Chile`s economy was severely affected by international crisis.. but Peru has better advice by the FMI to overwhelm the effects of this international crisis… perhaps things can turn over promptly…

  • April 9, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Mr. Sanchez;

    To imply that Chile has no threats or no enemies, it’s absolutely incorrect. To say that Chile purchases weapons of destruction, its playing with objectivity and the truth. Chile sees the purchasing of modern military equipment as an investment, as a “dissuassive factor”, or as a “preventive measure”. Let’s no forget that Chile has not been interested in warfare since 1879. During that same period of time countries such as Perú (4 wars), Argentina (3 wars) & Bolivia (3 wars)have been involved in more that 10 wars. Mr. Sanchez you didn’t want to mention that Perú was ready to attack Chile in 1975 for no good reason(read about Velasco Alvarado military regimer), or that Argentina had it’s troops ready to attack Chile in the southern region in 1978 because Argentina was unhappy about the Pope’s decisión on the Beagle Channel, favorable to Chile that is(read about Videla’s military regime). Chile in fact has neighbours that can act up in very strange ways. We never know who or what is going to be in power. I don’t know if you have read, but Perú, Bolivia and Argentina have a tremendous history of very unstable governments, huge corruption problems, constant military unrest. And presidents that are constantly being send to prison, please read about Fujimory, Videla, and dozens more. My friend, …Chile has more then enough reasons to want to protect its country. ¿Maybe you would prefer Chile to remain naive?. But Chile my friend, just like Israel knows very well that they rather feel safe then sorry. And yes my friend Sanchez, all of that modern military equipment is there to make chileans feel safer. And another thing Mr. Sanchez let’s tell the truth. Chileans can exercise the right to vote against that famous 10% coper revenue that keep Chile’s military so well respected in the region. But chileans prefer to keep the “status quo”, they want to keep their military forces very strong and respected. Chile will never attack a neighbour as demostrated in these past 130 years, but Chile demands respect.

  • June 3, 2009 at 3:46 am

    to reven98:

    In some cases you drift away from the crucial ando considerate point of discussion, which I don’t really want to enter.
    Let’s be very clear and do rectify, before going on:

    Regarding the maritime border, you wrote Peru wants X and Chile wants Y and therefore it’s under investigation at the international court in La Hague. This is very misleading, as you are implying equal matches here, but the correct statement is:

    Currently the status quo is, that the parallel is the maritime border between both countries (Chile’s position). This is respected by both countries from a military AND institutional point of view. No Peruvian military vessel ever surpasses this parallel border without Chilean permission, and Peruvian military maps indicate the parallel as limit too. Also on a regular basis, Peruvian fishing vessels, which illegally surpass this PARALLEL border are being intercepted by the Chilean coast guard and are being escorted to the Chilean harbour Arica, being fined, their load being confiscated and returned to Peru, just according to the Maritime Zone boundary treaties of 1952 and 54 signed by both countries. The point here is: Peruvian government has NEVER EVER complaint about this procedure… and you know why? Because Peru never disputed this is the correct treatment!

    Now… regarding the current situation at the international court of justiceis the following:

    Peru CLAIMS that the current limitation is “unfair”, and that suddenly the delimitation treaties of 52/54, which Peru respected for more then half a century, are not “national delimitation treaties” but only “fishing delimitation treaties”, implying there is a need for another treaty, defining limits to their benefit. Therefore Peru has filed a claim in the court in Den Haag, but this has not yet really started.

    Furthermore, Peru has a very curious position, that this “fishing treaty”, which has been signed by 3 countries (Peru, Ecuador and Chile) is not a delimitation treaty with chile, but same treaty IS a delimitation treaty with Ecuador. Very ambiguous and I am very fond, of how they will try to explain this in the court!

    • October 2, 2009 at 8:37 pm

      Why do people care so much about what happens in Chile???

      Yes we spent a billion dollars getting new equipment. And we're selling old stock to other countries.

      Now, what would you say to Brazil's 3 billion dollar military plan??
      Will anyone care??
      I think no, just because they're Brazilian.

      The way I see it, anything that happens in Chile will be taken as a "provocative move" to any end.
      Come on people move forward.

    • October 25, 2009 at 12:39 am

      Dear Federico L., so do you think your way of explaining the problem is not misleading?, perhaps its yourself that didnt quite understand the problem. After the war among Peru Chile and Bolivia, that Chile prepared so well for, buying a lot of weapons as does todays, surpasing its neighbourghs; a treaty was signed with Peru in Ancon the terrestrial limit was to reach the pacific yet in another territorial hungry move your contry said that the frontier line started there and not from the pacific. then in 54 and 56 as there was no reference for the fisherman they would use le paralel al guide, there was no gps of course and that was an easy ways to avoid problemas with your everso agressive military. With ecuator its no the same thing, because the coastal line is diferent there, did you see a map of america professor? Chilean posture involves that Peru would lose its 200 miles of sea, departing from the coastin tacna it would have even 3 miles of sea. And those fishing treaties were part of the promotion of the idea of the 200 miles of sea, taht your country promoted, those treaties were intended as a piece of conjoint soveraninty of the sea, but you Chilean country used it once more to try to take advantage of its neihbourgs as usual. understood profesor? and if you claim that Peru and Bolivia are a military treat to Chile and that wasting more tal 2,500 millions in guns its not desproportionated, go back to elementary professor. we are not as stupids as you think to force us into your lies.

      • October 27, 2009 at 9:07 am

        Hi Jose, I don't think that my position is misleading at all and I see clearly that you did not understand anything at all. I don't want to sound arrogant in any way, but what I have stated previously regarding the border issue is simply the status quo according to international law and actions, and would be hard for you or anybody else to refute it with reasonable arguments or facts at all. Your "attempt" to justify Peru's violation of current treaties is not really worth to discuss but I will try: it sound very like an excuse why Peru does not respect international law, and this explaination is very insular, by no mean objective, it is contradictory and full of "weasel words". Let's start…. post continues

  • October 9, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Totally disagree with the notion that even at this date the military in Chile remains largely an autonomous entity. Although that was clearly the situation few years after Pinochet left office, way much water has passed under the bridge. Several generation of line of command have already permeated to the top military hierarchy and few, if any, of Pinochet hard line loyalties remain in the current arm forces. Not longer there is uneasiness between the top military command and the political at the helm of the nation. Probe of that is the recent introduction of new legislation aim to modify the current structure of the top command of the arm forces and to eliminate the copper law. All changes that the military have not opposed. Like me, a big majority of the people that years ago fought the military oppression to reclaim democracy and human right feel a new sense of pride for how our military have come around. I do not deny that there is still much to be done to heal the scars of Pinochet's era but that has nothing to do with the way the military go about business these days.
    About the arms, I guess nobody in Chile wants to face the situation of 1979 when the Argentinean army thought that a military campaign on Chile would be the ideal move to restore their badly shaken image and because of the precarious state of Chile's army there was nothing that we could do to stop it. It would have been disastrous for Chile.

  • October 16, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    COHA is a liberal organanzation pushing a liberal agenda. To me this is the begining and end of any discussion with this stupid group. They are a clueless group of people trying to distort everything and anything that doesn't fall within their leftwing agenda. They have no morals and concious. They probably love Chavez and they want to see more people like him all over latin america.

    • October 27, 2009 at 8:25 am

      Hi Tio Tom, I guess you meant COHA are not liberal, but leftwing!
      Chavez is alot of things, but liberal!
      And yes, of course this article is politically influenced, does anybody have ever doubted it? They do not write about Venezuelas "Aggressive Military Arm Purchases" which are way higher than Chile's and with no neighbouring threat at all. Totally opposite… I remember Chavez regular threatening towards Colombia, like the speach that he got his "Tanks prepared at the frontier to enter in action, just one comand" for his neighbour.

      • October 27, 2009 at 8:30 am

        …not even to mention Chavez expansionist wishes to conquer his defenseless and impoverished neighbour Guyana.

  • October 27, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Are you really serious, that you are are trying to justify the Peruvian point, that this same treaty you signed is only comercial with Chile, and same time a limitation treaty with Ecuador? Not even a jurist is required to see sillyness of this attempt. And there are way more bilateral evidences and proofs that the parallel has been agreed between both countries as the limit, like the bilateral comission of cartopgraphs in 1968 and 69 which defined the exact geographical definition via coordinate system, build up of the 2 demarcatory lighthouses at the coast towards the parallel. You know what a coordinate system is? It does not let you have any room for interpretations at all. This was all agreed and signed by the highest Chilean and Peruvian authorities and can all be shown and seen at the UN Limitation Database publically available. Regarding your emotive descriptions of "losses" and "big, mean, agressive chileans" , talking about a war dated almost one and a half century in the past and lack of facts, just think about how this sounds for a third party not involved. Like the typical "indoctrination over reason" so known and widespread in this world.
    Have a nice day.

  • September 8, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Alex Sanchez, you must be peruvian, I'll tell you a story: I was bullied a lot of times by a much bigger guy when I was a teenager (this guy was from Peru) until one day I confronted him and beat him up so bad that he became unconcious, from then on he never bothered me again; and you know something? Peru has over thirty million people compared to over sixteen million in Chile (Peru the big guy, Chile the little guy) my question to you is: Do we have to beat you guys up like I did this bully so you guys can stop bothering us?

  • October 24, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Look at the map and what do you see? Chile is surrounded by enemies, before showing Chile as the "bad guy". Remember the 1800 when both Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador waged a war against Chile, yes Argentina was allied with Chile but they didnt do shit while Chile was defeating Peru and Bolivia all alone ( Ecuador was hardly counted as a threath ) even today they are crying because of what happened nearly 200 years ago. Peruvians and Bolivians call us shit like rasists, nazis and vice versa while every day they are burning our Flag, entering our Country because they have no jobs and so the list goes on. We even let them fuck our women and they still talk trash. Im not saying tath we are the good guys, but our neighbours and the rest of the world should not give a shit if we are making our military stronger cause we are NOT doing it for no reason. If there would be another war then ill be happy to tell you that Chile will be a much bigger country 😀 and that Argentina, Bolivia and ESPECIALLY PERU would no longer exist on the map 😀 Sorry for my english… AND HAVE A GOOD DAY 😀

    • November 20, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Are you talking about the War of the Confederation? Ecuador was never involved and fought a war against Peru 25 years later. Chile and Argentina were never allied and Argentinian forces were seeking to annex Tarija and Puna de atacama, those forces were defeated by the Confederation.The Chileans were defeated in the first invasion and in the second invasion tensions in North Peru and Southern Bolivia made the Confederation untenable to the point the North Peruvians let the Chileans land in Lima leading to the battle of Yungay and Southern Bolivians revolted before news of the battle’s outcome even reached them. If the Confederation were more stable I don’t think the battle of Yungay would have ended the war, Santa Cruz still had more forces. If the Confederation was more stable there probably wouldn’t have even been a battle of Yungay since Santa Cruz led a forced march in order to defeat the Chileans before dissidents in Bolivia broke his power base there.

      If you mean the War of the Pacific, then I’m not sure why you mention Argentina and say they allied Chile. The funny thing about these conflicts is the Chilean population supported neither until a martyr was found. Portales being the martyr in the first (killed by revolting Chilean officers) and Prat the martyr in the second (killed while holding up Peruvian ironclad while other ships resupplied Chilean troops).

  • March 27, 2011 at 7:15 am

    since the early second half of the 1800, chilean policy (democratic or not, but mostly democratic) was and is always to have strong armed forces, thats a part of the chilean culture. most of the big increments of weapons in the past were under democratic goverments (we have to recall that chile is one of the most pollitically stable countries all along its history in south america), so since its economic wealth is growing fast, obviously they want better weapons.
    enemies? anti-chilean feelings are ussual in several south american countries except ecuador and Brazil. if you know something about chilean people you'll realize they feel good with strong armed forces democracy?…of course, as i said…is part of their culture. besides remember there are just a bunch of countries in s. america wich are in the final path to became developed countries and one of them or the first in that area is chile.

  • April 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Can you blame us for making our military forces stronger?
    having neighbors like Perú and Bolivia, who constantly talk bad about our country, what can you wait?
    and why are they so concern about chile?
    They should just move on! war was almost 200 years ago!
    here we don't even bother thinking about them, let us live in peace.

  • September 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Why Chile bought new arms ? its simple, because Bolivia with Evo Morales is a very unstable country with politic and militar organization corrupted and influenced by drugs trafficker, and now in Peru with a new president Ollanta Humala with a serious influence of Chavez from Venezuela, all that make a scene where Chilean goverment have to be strong enougth to say to Peru an Bolivia. : -Ok guys we now that you Peru and Boliva are incluenced by Chavez and at the moment we live happy, but Chile is strong so Peru an Bolivia please dont do stupid things!!! (Like a war or comunist revolution or any other stupid action that can turn unstable the region).

  • December 2, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Your article can only be said to be an expresion of Peruvian inferiority complex. I want to make you feel even more inferior, I will add to the list of Chilean military adquisition that you have mentioned, the most recent ones. 3 new submarine
    hunter planes C295, a giant petrol tanker of 42,000 tones, 24 155mm long range artilliery pieces, a 105 mm automatic Otto Melara gun for the Type 22 Frigate, upgrades of the misiles for all the 8 frigates to Harpoons II, installations of capacity to launch Exocets misiles sumerged to the other two submarines,(the Scorpene ones already have them), 18 more F16 MLU planes from the Netherlands, artilliery fire tracking systems to pinpoint and direct attack towards the origin of enemy fire, remote controlled spy and attack planes Hermes 900 from Israel, a 12,000 tonnes amphibian assault ship with the capacity to operate 4 assault helicopters simultaneously and transport up to two batallions of marines, three inflying refueling tankers KC 135 for the F16 fleet and finally a military spy satellite that is going to be launched tomorrow. Have a very, very nice day.


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