Russia–Latin America trade relations may give cover to intelligence operations, says SOUTHCOM chief

10 July 2019

Russia has supplied about USD9 billion worth of military equipment to its main South American ally Venezuela since 2009, and has also stepped up its training services for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean as it attempts to deepen its influence in the region, according to the head of US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).

Testifying on 9 July before the US Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, US Navy Admiral Craig Faller noted that arms sales and training deals “potentially provide Moscow with a regional platform to recruit intelligence sources and collect information”.

He referred to the sale of combat aircraft, tanks, and surface-to-air-missile systems to Venezuela as examples of Russian influence in Latin America, in addition to the inauguration of a new Mil Helicopter training centre in March 2019.

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