The Royal Gibraltar Regiment recently deployed one of its officers to Santiago in Chile. Major Timothy Cumming deployed from July 12/August 2 to Santiago to assist in the delivery of some critical Pre-Deployment Training (PDT). This training was delivered to members of the Chilean Armed Forces that were going to make up the latest United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) contingent.
Chilean Defence Minister Andrés Allamand achieved this week a unanimous vote in the Chamber of Deputies for the proposal to change the funding system for the Armed Forces. The proposal, should it gain approval in the Senate, would put an end to the so-called “copper law,” which has been in effect since 1958.
A Chilean plan for modernizing and upgrading its defense forces is under way with one of the first major contracts going to BAE Systems for the supply and refurbishment of 12 U.S.-made M109A5 howitzers. The 15.8 million dollars contract has been implemented for the Chilean Government through a US foreign military sales contract.
Over the weekend, Santiago Mayor Conservative Pablo Zalaquett made it clear that if the violence and destruction associated with student protests continues to escalate, intervention of Chile’s Armed Forces may be necessary.
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera signed a bill which, if approved by Congress, would eliminate a substantial source of revenue for Chile’s Armed Forces. Under current legislation, 10% of all export revenues from Chile’s National Copper Corporation (CODELCO) are directed to the Superior Council of National Defence, to be spent on weaponry and equipment.