Army for Rent, Terms Negotiable
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Since countries across Latin America began to transition to civilian rule in the 1970s and 1980s, their armed forces have largely returned to the barracks to focus on security work. For Ecuador and Peru, this has meant focusing on security challenges in particularly unstable regions. In Ecuador, the army is concentrated in the north, where social conflict surrounding the country’s oil industry is combined with destabilizing influences spilling over the border from Colombia. In Peru, remnants of the Shining Path insurgency remain active in the central and southern highlands, areas critical to the country’s oil, natural gas and mining sectors. While national security challenges have led the two armies to focus most intensively on these specific regions, private sector influence most effectively explains who benefits from their work in those zones. In effect, extractive industries have essentially hired the armies and have benefited from army services far more than the “public.”
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