Monday, May 3, 2010

Defense Funds Tapped for Earthquake Reconstruction

Chile will take $1.2 billion from funds initially set aside for weapons purchases to finance reconstruction programs. Half the sum will be spent directly on rebuilding projects, according to details provided by Defense Minister Jaime Ravinet. The armed forces will spend the other half to rehabilitate their own facilities damaged in the Feb. 27 earthquake. Specifically, $150 million will go to army facilities, $200 million to the heavily damaged Asmar shipyard, and $250 million to other military installations. Chile's legislature still must approve the funding, which would be spread out over this year and next. The $1.2 billion represents roughly a third of a funding pool that swelled thanks to soaring copper prices. Chile's state-owned copper company is mandated to give 10% of export sales to the military. But Chile is working to replace that system with another that doesn't rely on copper sales. The Asmar shipyard was the military installation most severely damaged in the quake. Chile recently signed an accord with Argentina to have that country take some of the work that Asmar cannot complete on time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope that this earthquake will serve as the fire to temper a stronger Chilean nation. The country has so much potential but the people lack unifying goals. While the earthquake was a tragedy, perhaps it will serve at least as an impetus to create a stronger and more organized nation. I can see this happening with the military; like when the lack of a tsunami warning shook up the Navy, hopefully now forcing it to adapt to a higher standard. I'm sure that if the nation employed the same ambitious, lateral thinking strategies that improved it's economy, and turned the under gunned military into a combat power to this situation they could bounce back from the crisis in full force.