Friday, March 13, 2009

What the...? Bolivia Buying Planes from Chile

Bolivia's defense minister confirmed the country will acquire trainer aircraft from Chile. With the deal, Bolivia is extending an olive branch to Chile, which captured Bolivia's coastal territory in the War of the Pacific (1879-83). The acquisition grew out of an accord by the two nations to improve their relations. Meanwhile, Bolivia is joining regional talks to strengthen military ties among South American forces. Reports didn't mention the type of aircraft being bought, but said it will be from Enaer. The company's only trainer is the Pillan, a light plane that has been exported to several Latin American countries and Spain.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chile's Arms Merchants

Want to make a weapons deal in Chile? Here are the dealers you have to work with, according to an article in El Mostrador. Virgilio Cartoni Maldonado, a former army pilot, represents more than 50 companies, including Eurocopter, Kraus Maffei Wegmann, Rafael and other weapons and aerospace manufacturers. Cartoni's deals amounted to 21% of all army acquisitions in 2004, according to one report. Benjamin Berkovits, who runs a conglomerate, represents Bell Helicopter, Boeing and MDA MacDonald Space. He is said to have close ties to the air force. He's made inroads into navy procurement thanks to a partnership with a retired admiral, Hernan Couyoumdjian. Antonio Fortino, head of Eurocopter in Chile, is not really a go-between, but has helped the navy acquire Super Puma and Dauphin helicopters. Spanish entrepreneur Javier Taibo is best known as publisher of Defensa magazine. Some reports say he's a lobbied for EADS in Latin America. Dealers can earn commissions of 3% to 5% the value of arms sales, El Mostrador says.