Bolivia Sends Troops to the Brazilian Border

By Dialogo
May 24, 2010

The Bolivian government has ordered the reinforcement of its military presence in regions bordering Brazil and Paraguay, where an increasing presence of Colombian drug dealers, assassins and gangs has been detected, said the acting president, Alvaro García. “The Armed Forces are the locomotive of the Constitution and the laws (and will serve) to provide a greater territorial presence and to put an end to the micro-armies of drug dealers and mercenaries that are beginning to grow,” Alvaro García affirmed. According to the acting president, Bolivia will form a “joint command in the Chiquitanía region (on the plains of the department of Santa Cruz, on the border with Brazil and Paraguay) to deploy several military units to this region.” “In the upcoming weeks and months we will be present to guarantee our territorial sovereignty,” García said upon referring to the regions that border on Brazilian and Paraguayan territory, where besides drug trafficking, there is also a large illegal trade in arms. The measure focuses particularly on the department of Santa Cruz, where increasing drug-dealing activity has been detected. In Santa Cruz, the most prosperous region of Bolivia, several cocaine labs directed by Colombians have been found in recent weeks, and six murders took place, including the murder of three Serbian bodyguards in what seemed to be a settling of accounts between drug dealers. García – who is temporarily replacing Evo Morales while he is traveling in Europe – said that the problem generated by drug trafficking “should not be allowed.” “This is why we need to deploy the military, which is at the forefront of the state’s presence,” he added.