Tuesday, February 09, 2010

U.S. Spending on Latin America

Plan Colombia has a fascinating post detailing the U.S. spending on Latin America generally, and U.S. spending on Latin America when you take Mexico and Colombia out of the equation. While general spending on the region will be almost $2.6 billion in 2010 and nearly $2.1 billion in 2010 (a 15% drop in spending), the non-Mexico/non-Colombia number plummet: $1.3 billion dollars budgeted for the region in 2010, and nearly $1.4 billion for 2011.

This is interesting for a few reasons; first, there's the fact that, apparently, federal spending on Colombia and Mexico constitutes almost half of the budget this year. That's not remarkably surprising, but the figures are still rather stark. I think it's also intriguing that spending on non-Colombia/non-Mexico countries next year actually increases, even while the budget decreases by 15%. Most of that spending is planned for social and economic programs, with almost none of it being military spending; by contrast, almost all of the spending on Colombia and Mexico is military spending (again, no surprise). It would be interesting to see a further breakdown of exactly where that money is going - aid to Central America seems fairly likely, while aid to Brazil may be relatively low, given how well Brazil's economy is doing. Still, it's a pretty interesting breakdown, and says a lot about policy in the region, especially with regard to where our military money is going and who we feel "only" needs social help.