Archive for May 16, 2011
Leaked Diplomatic Cables Via Wikileaks
For several years now, U.S. military and intelligence officials have warned about the growing influence of China, Russia and Iran in Latin America. China and Russia have stepped up arms sales to Venezuela and Iran is increasing trade missions and the number of its embassies throughout the continent.
But published reports of U.S. diplomatic cables – leaked to the press by Wikileaks – indicate U.S. officials were also worried about the growing influence of Israel south of the border – especially when it came to the sale of arms and military expertise.
A McClatchy Newspapers report appearing in several news outlets recently says U.S. diplomats saw a security risk in the inroads being made by Global CST, an Israeli company run by the former operational chief of Israel’ defense forces, retired Major Gen. Israel Ziv.
By 2007, 38 percent of Colombia’s foreign defense purchases were going to Israel, according to a cable diplomats sent to Washington, McClatchy reported. Global CST also had deals with Peru and Panama.
The company, based outside of Tel Aviv, also did work in Africa and Eastern Europe. A company promotional video includes praise from then-Colombian Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos. who is now Colombia’s president.
UPI reports that other Israeli defense manufacturers – not just Global CST – are still active in South America. Argentina and Ecuador bought military equipment from Israel last year, UPI said. But in 2009, Colombia changed its mind about buying Israeli-made Hermes-450 unmanned aerial vehicles.