Colombia’s military expenditure increased 11% in 2009, while Venezuela’s spending fell 25%, according to figures released by a Swedish think tank.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s annual report put Brazil at the top of the military expenditure list for Latin America. The economic giant also saw the highest increase in military spending, with an additional $3.8 million poured into defense last year.
Colombia was the region’s highest spender relative to gross domestic product, with 3.7% of the Andean nation’s GDP going towards its military.
Total expenditure in South America rose by 7.6% to $52.8 billion, despite a contraction in the region’s economy due to the financial crisis.
The U.S. continued to strengthen its arsenal, spending $661 billion on defense in 2009, equivalent to $2,100 for every person in the country.