The International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report about the militaries expenditures in Latin America provoked some fear about an arms race in the region. However, there is no reason to conceive that possibility. Therefore, this article aims to highlight some key elements to take into account for the study of the military expenditure in Latin America and Colombia. The article describes the dilemma known as ''guns or butter'' and some ideas about the SIPRI report. Finally, it presents the way in which the defense and security expenditures studies should be reoriented in Colombia.