Costa Rica president slams Latin American gov’ts for arms spending

March 27, 2009

Costa Rica President Oscar Arias lambasted other Latin American leaders Tuesday for starting what he called an “arms race” when their population´s basic needs are not being met.

“If there aren´t resources to attend basic needs, why the devil does Latin America need to buy planes, attack helicopters, more tanks and more missiles?” President Arias asked in an interview on Radio Monumental.

Arias said he raised this issue during his meeting Monday with Central American leaders and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. (See the April 3 Tico Times print or digital edition for coverage and analysis.)

“The bilateral aid given by wealthy countries to alleviate poverty in 80 percent of the planet´s population, in Africa, Asia and Latin America, is $100 billion annually, but what they spend on weapons and soldiers is 13 times that and that seems immoral to me,” Arias said.

In this region Arias reckons the contradiction is clear. “In Latin America almost 200 million people live on $2 a day,” he said. Meanwhile, the region´s governments spend “$50 billion on weapons and soldiers.”

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