Andrés Manuel López Obrador Wins Presidency in Mexico

by Bill Ostrove, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

Andrés Manuel López Obrador won a resounding victory in Mexico’s presidential elections held on June 30.  With about two-thirds of the vote counted, López Obrador has over 20 million votes, or about 53.3 percent of the total. His next closest competitor, Ricardo Anaya Cortés, has only 22.5 percent, while José Antonio Meade Kuribreña of the ruling PRI Party has only 16 percent. Continue reading

Top Eight Countries Dominate Defense Spending in Latin America

by Bill Ostrove, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Defense spending in Latin America will remain strong between 2017 and 2021. While allocations will not be as high as in other regions, economies are expected to slowly improve after years of commodity price declines, giving governments more resources for defense. At the same time, governments will continue to battle violent gangs and illegal trafficking. Continue reading

Crime and Internal Strife Remain Greatest Drivers of Military Spending in Latin America

by Bill Ostrove, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Georgia Army National Guard provides CQB/MOUT [close quarters combat and military operations on urbanized terrain] weapons handling instruction with two soldiers from the Guatemalan Interagency Task Force.  Photo: Georgia National Guard

The greatest threat to most Latin American governments is internal.  Even though transitioning to a democracy and using effective counterinsurgency strategies have successfully defeated – or at least defused  – several insurgencies, the risk of guerrilla activity remains.  This is especially true in Colombia and, to a lesser extent, Peru.  In Mexico and Central America, violent gangs have forced a military response. Continue reading

Fight Against Drug Cartels and Organized Crime Drives Mexican Defense Spending

by Bill Ostrove, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Mexican Army Paratroopers.

Mexican Army Paratroopers.

The fight against drug cartels and organized crime remains the primary driver of defense procurement by Mexico. As Mexico’s economy improves and operations against drug cartels continue, defense spending is being steadily increased. Between 2011 and 2015, Mexico’s defense budget increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8 percent. Still, defense spending remains low relative to the overall economy, making up only 0.54 percent of GDP in 2015. Continue reading