Pentagon urges Latin America to ship arms to Ukraine – WSWS | NutSocia

The United States has turned to Latin America in an increasingly frenetic search for weapons for the US-NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, the senior US commander for the region has revealed.

Southcom Commander General Laura Richardson reviewing Panamanian troops in the Darién Gap, October 2022. [Photo: US Embassy Panama]

US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) chief Gen. Laura Richardson said at an online forum hosted by Washington’s geopolitical strategy think tank Atlantic Council last week that the Pentagon is trying to persuade several unnamed Latin American governments to “Donate” Russian-made military hardware to the US military. US-backed regime in Ukraine.

“We are working with the countries that have the Russian equipment to either donate it or exchange it for US equipment,” Gen. Richardson told a virtual audience last Thursday.

Diplomatic relations between the US and the three countries in the region that have the closest military ties to Moscow — Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba — are either nil or severely limited. Like Russia, they are all subject to US sanctions.

While Richardson declined to name them in the forum, titled “On Security in the Americas,” she said six other countries in the region have significant stockpiles of Soviet or Russian-made weapons and that talks are “in progress” to get them “to donate it to Ukraine or to the running cause”. Such deals to send Russian-made equipment to the Ukraine war would involve urging Latin American countries to replace Russian equipment with US-made weapons.

While the US Southern Command also refused to say which countries were in talks about such arms transfers, the Pentagon has been carefully tracking the flow of Soviet and Russian arms into the region.

Evan Ellis, the US Army War College’s chief expert on Latin America and a vocal supporter of Washington’s viewing of the region as a battlefield in preparations for World War I, gave a detailed testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere list last July such weapon systems.

Significantly, the Latin American country — outside of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua — with the largest number of such weapons is Peru, which began importing Soviet weapons in the 1970s under the nationalist military regime of General Velasco Alvarado, and so only in 2013 did Moscow buy 24 Mi-17 military helicopters and two Mi-35 attack helicopters. In the intervening years, also under Alberto Fujimori’s right-wing dictatorship, Lima bought Su-22 fighter-bombers, Mig-29 fighter jets and other equipment, while its armed forces received Russian military training.

The December 7 parliamentary coup that ousted President Pedro Castillo and installed a regime dominated by the Peruvian right and the security forces under Castillo’s former vice president Dina Boluarte may have greased the wheels for the kind of deal proposed by General Richardson is promoted. The day before the coup, US ambassador to Lima Lisa Kenna, a veteran CIA agent, met with the country’s defense minister to support Castillo’s ouster. Since then, the security forces have cracked down on protesters, killing at least 60 of them.

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