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Brazil Announces US-Backed Military Drills at South America Triple Border Zone

By: TeleSur
The U.S. will lead an unprecedented multinational military drill between Brazil, Colombia and Peru.

Brazil’s military announced in a video further details on the first installment of military drills in the border between Brazil, Colombia and Peru with the support and training from the United States, BBC reported.

Brazilian General Theofilo de Oliveira said the international drills will take place in the Brazilian city of Tabatinga in the state of Amazonas, the Colombian city of Leticia and Peruvian city of Santa Rosa.

Operation America United will take place in November and will be held over a period of 10 days with troops from the four countries and equipment such as communication, transportation vehicles, munitions and firearms.

Philosopher Hector Luis Saint Pierre, coordinator of international security, defense and strategy of the Brazilian Association of International Relations, told BBC there was an interest in the U.S. to focus on the political situation in Venezuela.

U.S. President Donald Trump has talked to the presidents of both Peru and Colombia, as well as Argentina, about his interest in the country.

“Brazil is a strategic partner for the doctrine of the military,” said Saint Pierre. “If the United States has a good relationship with the Brazilian navy, it is easier to spread its message among the military in the region.”

The Brazilian Navy told BBC Brazil that the drill will not lead to the establishment of a military base in the region.

“One of the objectives is to exercise greater control in the region and create a doctrine to combat cross-border crime, which affects the region in the famous border war that is fueling the existing urban war in our large cities,” said General Oliveira.

According to political scientist Joao Roberto Martins Filho, former president of the Brazilian Association for Defense Studies, these actions would be a shift from the political situation since 1989 when the Brazil army distanced itself from the United States.

“The Brazilian army’s approach to the United States would be a sign of a change in stance between the two countries, which now have new presidents,” said Martins.

The U.S. embassy in Brasilia said it was pleased to have been invited to participate in the exercises and it wants to broaden bilateral cooperation. According to BBC, U.S. officials have traveled to Brazil and visited military facilities in order to develop better military relations between both countries.

“With this activity, the objective is to develop knowledge, share experiences and develop mutual trust,” said a Brazilian army spokesperson.

Flavio Basilio, secretary of defense products at the Ministry of Defense, said the alliance will help the country build their military relations with the U.S.

“It’s a step towards getting closer to the U.S., which allows for important alliances in the technological area that will represent an important incentive for our defense industrial base and for the country as a whole,” said the secretary.

Brazilian progressive have criticized unelected President Michel Temer for opening the door to growing U.S. presence in the country. Temer hiked the country’s military budget by 36 percent just months after he pushed for a constitutional amendment to freeze public spending in the country for the next two decades.

According to Folha de Sao Paulo military, spending for this year is set to hit US$3.1 billion, making it the second-largest government expenditure, ahead of education. During the presidency of ousted Dilma Rousseff, the military received about US$1.8 billion.

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