Stimulus package, or Imperialism lite?
Many countries that host US military activities hope to receive economic benefits and jobs as a result. But more than five of every six Pentagon dollars contracted for services and goods in the region went to US-based companies. Only nine percent of the $574.4 million in Pentagon contracts signed in 2012 (including fuel contracts) were with firms in the country where the work was to be carried out. In the Caribbean, there were virtually no local companies that benefitted from the $245 million in Defense Department contracts.
A few corporations dominated Pentagon contracts in the region. CSC Applied Technologies, based in Fort Worth, Texas, received more than $53 million in contracts to operate the Navy’s underwater military testing facility in the Bahamas. Lockheed Martin received more than $40 million in contracts, almost entirely for drug war training, equipment and services in Colombia and Mexico.
John Lindsy-Poland breaks down Pentagon spending in Latin America for CIP Americas Program. Something of a surprise (at least to me) is that a third of Pentagon contracts for Latin American and the Caribbean are earmarked for spending in what’s probably the last country you’d probably of… CUBA.
Well, technically… besides being a black hole of human rights, the gulag at Guantanamo is a cash cow for the defense industry, who racked up 115 million dollars in contracts for housing upgrades, intelligence analysis, port operations and other services at a prison with 171 inmates, several of whom have no pending charges against them and have never been before a court of law.
The 444 million dollars worth contracts let by SOUTHCOM (The Southern Command) do not benefit businesses in the Latin American countries for which they are spent (and whether U.S. military “assistance” is itself a benefit to those countries is often a dubious proposition). Only nine percent of the funds went to companies in Latin America, the rest to domestic industries like Rayethon and Lockheed.
While, no surprise, “the war on drugs” is the rationale for the spending, that 444 million does NOT include funding under “Plan Merida” for Mexico and Central America… which isn’t doled out to industries in the “host countries” either, but to U.S. companies and “service providers” for things like trucks and guns, to fight the guys who buy trucks and guns with money from U.S. consumers to provide “services” to the U.S.
Well, at least Pentagon spending is down this year.
(And, just in passing, this is the 4000th MexFiles post).