Peace Deal or Not, Military Budget Will Remain High in Colombia (E)
“Colombia still faces direct threats that it must confront (…) stemming from criminal gangs and ELN guerrillas, also taking into consideration the fight it will have to launch against illicit crops, and for that reason it will reduce the number of troops — a fact that the government is aware of,” analyst Javier Leandro Garay, a researcher at the Faculty of Finance, Government and International Relations at the Universidad Externado de Colombia in Bogota, told Sputnik.
Despite having reached a peace deal with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrillas, the Colombian government will increase its budget for defense this year by US$230 million compared to 2016, so it will increase from US$9,340 million dollars to US$9,570 million.
Several social sectors in Colombia consider that military spending is excessive and stress that if it were halved in 2017, it would be possible to equalize health and education budgets and double the budget for science and technology, while leaving enough money to 60 schools and 10,000 for the needy.
However, under a scenario in which the military maintains a strong role in the political and social development of Colombia, “it is logical to think (that the Armed Forces) will maintain the defense of their interests,” Garay said. Sputnik