This is a source for analysis, interviews, and commentary on security in Latin America. Herein you will find rumors, the results of off the record interviews, and information you'll not find in international or United States news media.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shifting security realities in Brazil

The Brazilian military announced on 18 August that it will increase troop presence on the country's border with Colombia.

This is a conversation that has been going back and forth between the president's office and the military generals for years. Slowly but surely, the Brazilian military has begun to make a shift from its traditional focus in the southern part of the country, where the assumption is that Argentina is considered the most likely to invade and the Amazon provides the best defense from potential enemies to the north.

Closer ties with Colombia, such as the hot-pursuit fly over agreement, and generally closer cooperation on security matters, has prompted the Brazilians to think more about that border. Exactly where the troops will be concentrated remains a vague detail, but I suspect that Leticia is one destination, as well as certain areas of the infamous "Dog's Head" area.

The Dog's Head refers to the shape of a specific section of the Brazilian-Colombia border, traditionally a haven for illegal gem miners, FARC soldiers, and all sorts of ne'er-do-wells.

Overtly, the military is worried about "spillover" from Colombia's internal conflict, but I wonder to what extent that worry about Venezuela has primed the generals for spillover from that country, in the event of a political meltdown in Caracas.

Brazil would be very careful not to tip off Chavez, so where troops are placed will be very interesting. How close to the Brazilian-Venezuelan border will they go?

More here on the Brazilian-Colombian aspects of this decision. Boz explores today the "post-conflict" scenario in Colombia with the so-called emerging-groups capturing some attention as the newest threat to security in Colombia.


Benjamin N. Gedan said...

As Brazil emerges as a regional leader, I wouldn't be surprised to see closer ties between its military and the Colombian armed forces. It's true, Colombia is not the most popular country in South America these days. But its military is arguably the most professional and battle tested.

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