Defense ministers from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Ecuador said that they prefer a more traditional approach on the role of the military
During a meeting in Buenos Aires, defense ministers from six South American nations, including Brazil, Argentina and Chile, rejected US military doctrine, as said they stand for a more traditional approach on the role of the armed forces. The joint declaration issued this week sounds as a negative to agree to the US South Command pleas on Latin American militaries to be more active in internal affairs, as the fight against terrorism and drug smuggling.
“We do not want a confrontation – with the Pentagon - but we want to state our own position, which may not agree with their vision”, Argentine defense minister, Jose Pampuro, was quoted as saying by newspaper Clarin. “They have a different look in which the military has a role to play in police actions or internal control of the society. We have an opposite vision, as we have a more traditional approach on the role of the military, mostly connected with the protection of our borders”, added Mr. Pampuro.
After decades of bloody military rule in most of the South American countries, the new democracies of the region have made big efforts to keep the Armed Forces out from internal affairs. However, the United States has a different approach strengthened after the terrorist attacks to New York and Washington in September 2001.
Since then, both the US State Department and the Pentagon have repeatedly asked South American nations to review their position and allow the military an involvement in security issues. These countries, strained by another kind of problems – poverty, inequality, unemployment - have repeatedly refused to even consider a new approach.
“Even when there's no country free from the terrorist threat, I think that's not a fight for the military. The challenge has to be faced by our intelligence services and the police”, told the press Brazil's defense minister, Jose Viegas.
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