For many young Latin Americans, a military career is still an attractive route to advancement. In 2006, an average of five applicants registered for each available opening in the region’s military schools. In some countries the proportions were far higher than the average: in Venezuela, the ratio was 20 to 1; and in Brazil it was 37 to 1. But even as a new generation of officers eagerly dons the uniform, the region’s new democracies have not figured out a sustainable strategy to pay for their services, or to build modern military institutions that will keep them usefully occupied.
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