|Asunto:||[GAP] más sobre el conflicto...|
|Fecha:||Martes, 23 de Julio, 2002 00:29:21 (+0000)|
|Autor:||cuervo cuervo <mundodeluz @.......com>
HOLA... DE NUEVO YO...July 22, 2002
este artículo fue escrito por un corresponsal extranjero sobre Colombia, es
de hoy 22 de julio...
la pagina es www.colombiareport.org
es una muy buena página sobre Colombia y su situación interna y para
aquellos que defienden a las guerrillas colombianas es bueno que se enterne
de cómo es realmente el conflicto armado...
Esto no es Chiapas y ni Jojoy, ni Reyes son el sub comandante Marcos...
Colombia no está viviendo un sueño ni una utopía... 300.000 muertos lo
La guerra de las drogas está teniendo ua gran repercución en la región...
Y es de sumo cuidado el análisis que debemos hacer sobre lo que ocurre en
Colombia... los juicios a priori nos entierran...
Brazil's Escalating Role in the Drug War
by Ronald J. Morgan
Brazil began bolstering its border security almost as soon as Plan Colombia
surfaced in 1999. After three years of military expansion, the
Brazil-Colombia border is bristling with new installations. Among them is a
new air force base, a naval base, and a set of border platoons stretching
from Tabatinga through an area known as the Dog´s Head, where Colombia,
Venezuela and Brazil meet. A new jungle brigade based in the Amazon city of
Tefe provides support for the 2,500 troops stationed along the 1,000-mile
border. These ground forces are supplemented with naval and marine units as
well as aircraft at the new Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira airbase.
The Brazilian military has also been busy putting in new roads, bridges,
schools, health clinics, water wells and riverboat docks throughout the
heavily indigenous area with a population of some 100,000. The Brazilian
buildup, part of a revamped older border development program know as Calha
Norte, includes $14.5 million in military security spending and $10.5
million in social development, most of it spent in the Colombian border
The government has also dispatched to the border a 200-man federal police
task force known as Operation Cobra to further bolster security and fight
drug trafficking. Brazil says its programs are preventive medicine aimed at
protecting the Amazon and that most activities are directed at controlling
drug trafficking, stopping illegal logging, and clearing out poaching gold
As early as 1996, Brazil and the Raytheon Corporation began constructing a
$1.4 billion radar system called System for Amazon Surveillance (SIVAM).
Announced with much fanfare at the 1992 Rio Earth Conference, the project is
about 70 percent complete and will be inaugurated in Manaus on July 25. This
system uses radar stations, air reconnaissance and some satellite support to
monitor air traffic, maritime movement, border activity, and intercept
communications of all types. SIVAM will also keep track of weather patterns
and land use, while making rural telecommunications in the Amazon more
While originally designed to save the Amazon rainforest from various types
of abuse, it is expected that its Manta FOL-type reconnaissance abilities
will also be used to stop drug pilots from entering Brazil and provide
timely information to border units. The Brazilian air force estimates that
some 200 planes flew into Brazil illegally in 2001 and is calling for the
government to issue a shoot down regulation similar to the type in place in
Colombia and Peru. Last year, the U.S.-Peruvian program resulted in the
accidental shooting down of a missionary plane.
Brazil stressed that it was not interested in becoming part of the
U.S.-backed Plan Colombia when the border buildup began. In October 2000,
Admiral Hector Blecker, Brazil's assistant chief of intelligence, told the
Brazilian congress that while it was obvious the probable impact of Plan
Colombia would require Brazil undertake police, environmental and social
action programs in the border area, "the idea of a multinational military
operation in the Brazilian Amazon is unacceptable."
During the congressional hearings it was stressed that the environmental
impact to the Brazilian Amazon from Colombian aerial spraying, and the
possible use of a mycoherbicide could destroy legitimate crop production
along Brazil's jungle rivers. Blecker is concerned that "chemical agents
such as glyphosate and biological agents such as fusarium oxysporum in the
Putumayo and Caquetá rivers will flow into the Ica and Japura rivers
But just as the United States originally claimed that Plan Colombia would
confine itself to fighting drug trafficking but is now expanding to include
counterinsurgency operations, Brazil role in the war on drugs has also
experienced mission creep. Recent air, land, and sea maneuvers along the
Brazil-Colombia border involving 4,000 men sent a clear signal that Brazil
intends to use force to keep guerrillas and drug traffickers out of its
United States involvement on the Brazilian side of the border is also
ratcheting up. In September 2001, Brazil signed a bilateral letter of
agreement with the United States for counternarcotics activities that call
for mutual cooperation and U.S. aid for Operation Cobra and other counter
drug trafficking operations. The agreement also pumps funds into the newly
created National Secretariat for Public Security, which has unified control
over Brazil's Federal and local police forces.
Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, while still officially
claiming that Brazil is not involved in Plan Colombia, strongly endorsed
Colombian President Andrés Pastrana's decision earlier this year to
terminate the demilitarized zone granted to the rebel Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (FARC). Cardoso also called the election of Alvaro Uribe
in May a "clear example of the vigor of democratic ideas in South America."
Despite Brazilian contentions to the contrary, South America's biggest and
most prosperous country is slipping deeper into the drug war and the
Colombian Conflict. In March, Brazilian military officers visited the
Pentagon where they exchanged views with U.S. officers and gave
presentations on Brazil's border security and development program.
On a recent visit to Brazil, Otto Reich, assistant secretary of state for
the Western Hemisphere, expressed Washington's desire for internationalizing
intervention in Colombia's conflict, "We think that the threat to Colombia's
democracy is a common threat not just to the United States and Brazil, but
to the whole Hemisphere. And, if countries are worried about the spillover
effect of, say, 'Plan Colombia', they should be even more worried about the
effect of not stopping the terrorists and the narcotics traffickers inside
Operation Cobra is also growing in scope and sophistication. In December,
Brazil opened a regional intelligence center at Tabatinga whose mission is
to sort through intelligence on border activities, which it will then share
with Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and the United States. Additionally, Brazil has
completed work on seven new police installations along the border stretching
from Tabatinga to Vila Bittencourt.
Brazil has both shed blood and suffered casualties along the Colombian
border. In February Brazilian troops attacked a boat with suspected FARC
guerrillas, killing six persons near Apoporis. The same month a Brazilian
soldier disappeared under unclear circumstances. In March, 197 indigenous
persons of the Maku nation sought refuge at Vila Bittencourt charging that
the FARC had threatened them. During maneuvers in May, Brazilian soldiers
suffered two casualties--one wounding of a soldier outside Tabatinga
apparently involved Colombians, while another soldier disappeared along the
Colonel Roberto de Paula Avelino, who manages Calha Norte from a campus-like
building in Brasilia, downplays the incidents, claiming the border area is
fairly quiet despite the FARC presence on the Colombian side. He also
believes that a major incursion by uniformed FARC guerrillas is unlikely, "I
don´t think the FARC is interested in making a new enemy."
De Paula Avelino's analysis stands in sharp contrast to recent statements
about Colombia's illegal armed groups made by Reich, "If these people work
to ever gain control over larger parts of Colombian territory, I think there
is no doubt that they would take their business, which is narcotics and
terrorism, to other countries. I don't think they are only interested in
taking control by force of Colombia. I don't think they know any borders.
Terrorists sans frontiers, to coin a phrase."
Not surprisingly, the FARC disagrees with Reich's analysis. Oliverio Medna,
the FARC International Committee representative in Brasilia, said FARC
commanders have been ordered to keep their troops out of neighboring
countries. "We are hoping for reciprocity from the neighboring governments.
Reciprocity in what sense? If we don´t cause problems in the territories of
the neighboring countries, that their governments will abstain from
intervening and getting mixed up in the internal affairs of Colombia. We are
not a problem for any state other than Colombia."
Medna claims that talk of FARC border incursions is part of a policy aimed
at discrediting the rebel group, "If a tree falls in the Ecuadorian jungle,
they says its the FARC's fault. If in Peru a cow shows up dead in the
morning, it's the FARC. Our plans do not include intervention in the
territory of any country."
Alcides Costa Vaz, an international relations professor at the University of
Brazil, says Colombia is not a hot political issue in Brazil, "Issues of
national security have ranked very low on the domestic political agenda.
There is not a very strong position in public opinion. The last few years
economic issues have ranked very high." He went on to stress that, "So far
Brazil has resisted the idea of having a active role," but if Colombia asks
for regional alliances and cooperation, Costa Vaz believes Brazil will
Whatever the semantics, Brazil is involved in the Colombian conflict through
the sharing of intelligence and an escalation of military and police
activities inside Brazil aimed at stopping drug and arms trafficking and
preventing a spillover of the violence. This is likely to continue even if
the leftist Workers Party candidate Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva wins the fall
elections for the presidency.
Workers Party Senator Tião Viana, who represents the Amazon state of Acre,
said the party opposes U.S. bases and U.S. troops in Brazil but supports
exchange of intelligence, training, and cooperation in operations as long as
Brazilians execute them. "In the Brazilian Amazon there's a clandestine
infiltration of groups from Bolivia, Peru and Colombia involved in drug
trafficking and clandestine wood extraction," Viana said. "The Amazon is
very unprotected. There's a need for troops and intelligence operations."
The Cobra Program is a natural for U.S. involvement, and cooperation between
the two countries began to increase last year when DEA agents toured
Brazil's Amazon operations. Brazilian Federal Police and the DEA also
cooperated in the arrest in Colombia of Brazilian drug lord Luis Fernando da
Costa, know as Fernando Beira-Mar (Seaside Freddy) and the bust a few months
later of his top lieutenant Leomar Olviera Barbosa in Paraguay.
According to recent congressional testimony by DEA chief Asa Hutchinson, DEA
agents in Colombia and Brazil are currently working to capture of Tomas
Molina Caracas of the 16th Front of the FARC. The DEA is also fielding
special teams of DEA and Brazilian police to investigate money laundering.
It has been estimated that as much as 25 percent of Colombian drug money may
be hidden in Brazilian accounts.
Enticing Brazil into greater cooperation may be the increased availability
of funds for equipment, training, operations and development projects, and a
decade-long growth in domestic drug use and drug-related violence. The Bush
administration's Andean Regional Initiative calls for Brazil to receive $6
million in counterdrug assistance and $12.6 million in social development
funds this year, while a 2003 Bush administration request calls for another
$12 million in counternarcotics funds.
Recently, the presidents of Brazil, Peru and Ecuador joined together to
request $1.3 billion from the Inter-American Development Bank for use in
border social programs aimed at dealing with the spillover from Plan
Colombia. President Cardoso raised the fight against drugs to front burner
status in a national speech June 19 when he compared it to the country's
earlier struggle against hyperinflation. At the same time the government
released a study estimating that there were 1.7 million cocaine addicts in
Both increased domestic consumption and the creation of cocaine processing
centers in Brazil are seen as potentially undermining U.S. drug war efforts.
Brazilian traffickers are building a niche for themselves in designer drugs,
while the nation's large chemical industry provides an opportunity to obtain
Drug traffickers are active and powerful throughout the country. A 2001
Congressional inquiry into drug trafficking and impunity called for the
indictment of 800 persons, among them politicians and police.
Fearful that Brazil could rival the U.S. and Europe as a drug market, the
United States has been tinkering with Brazil's drug policies. It has jointly
designed with Brazil a new series of drug courts and it finances a
U.S.-style DARE school drug prevention program. It is also backing a study
of Brazilian attitudes toward drug use.
Drugs are seen as the fuel for the country's tremendous criminal violence
problem and increase in youth murders. In Rio de Janeiro some 10,000 persons
are alleged to be active in local drug distribution and street sales.
According to a study by the International Labor Organization, many of the
persons involved are children. "What you find is that since 1995 more
children have taken up drug trafficking. They start as young as eight years
old," said Pedro Americo F. Oliveira, head of the ILO Child Labor section in
Brazil. "They come from the poorest of the poor. They are one-parent
families. The parent works and the child doesn't go to school." What is the
average life expectancy for a child drug dealer? One year, says Oliveira.
According to a recent Human Rights Watch report the situation is exacerbated
by the regular use of torture and murder by the Brazilian police forces. The
gruesome killing of Brazilian Investigative Journalist Tim Lopez by a drug
trafficking gang has sparked a police crackdown in the Rio de Janeiro
favelas that may prove to be a prototype for harsh action to come. A
combined task force launched by the federal government includes military
intelligence units and the use of combined federal and local police squads.
Some people are advocating military occupation of many of Brazil's troubled
The rapid escalation of the drug war in the last year by the Cardoso
administration runs the risk of exacerbating tinder box social conditions.
Costa Vaz warns that over-militarization of the drug war, especially in poor
neighborhoods, will backfire unless enforcement programs are designed
carefully. "We have a very sensitive and dangerous domestic situation. What
is going on in Rio right now is generating a situation of social conflict.
The door to civil war will open if you bring in the military. We will not
solve Colombia's problems, we will probably reproduce them."
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