50 Russian battle tanks headed to Nicaragua, sparking concerns in Central America

Costa Rica StarRussia will deliver 50 new T-72B1 battle tanks to Nicaragua this year, in a deal worth some US $80 million, according to Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency and Nicaraguan media. The first batch of 20 tanks is ready for shipment, and the remaining 30 are to be delivered by the end of the year or early 2017, according to the report.

The armaments add to a string of military hardware acquired by Nicaragua from Russia in recent years, including 12 anti-aircraft autocannons in 2013, a batch of GAZ-2330 Tiger armored infantry vehicles in 2012, and two Mi-17V-5 helicopters in 2009.

Sputnik also reported that Russia and Nicaragua were moving forward with a plan to supply the Nicaraguan Navy with two modern Molnia-class missile ships at a cost of US $45 million each. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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