The Russia-organized International Army Games end today in Venezuela after two weeks of competition.
The annual event has been organized by the Russian Ministry of Defense since 2015. Approximately 30 countries have competed the event’s tank biathlons and competitions that evaluate artillery calculation, chemical defense, and intelligence.
This year, Venezuela became the first Latin American country to host a game — “Sniper Frontier.” The shooting event was held in the Terepaima Military Fort in Lara, Venezuela where 300 Venezuelan soldiers competed.
Venezuela’s role as a host has allowed Russia to prove it still has allies in light of the Ukraine invasion, while strategically reaffirming its presence in Latin America. Venezuela and Russia have a close relationship, cemented by twenty bilateral agreements, and some fear the games will normalize Russian military presence in Latin America. This is likely a signal to the US that Russia has sway in its sphere of influence.
Expect the Games to serve as another avenue to grow burgeoning Venezuelan-Russian relations. Going forward, expect the commercial, military, and political links between the two countries to perpetuate Maduro’s dictatorship and prolong its associated humanitarian crises — the second-largest external displacement crisis in the world, robust food insecurity, and regional instability.
Ava is an Analyst and regular contributor to the Daily Brief. She focuses on political and economic developments across Latin America and the Caribbean.