Brazil, Colombia, and Peru to Expand Military Cooperation
By Dialogo June 01, 2012
Brazil, Colombia, and Peru will reinforce their commitment to protect their shared border against transnational illicit activities. In a trilateral meeting of the Armed Forces chiefs of staff that took place in Manaus on May 29, representatives from the three countries agreed to strengthen multilateral cooperation policies to fight crimes such as drug trafficking, illegal mining, and smuggling.
“The keyword is cooperation,” said the event’s host, the head of the Joint General Staff of the Brazilian Armed Forces (EMCFA), General José Carlos De Nardi. According to him, mutual support among nations is fundamental for South America to be able to find solutions to common threats, especially in the border area. “But we must not forget our main mission: defending the country and ensuring national sovereignty,” he cautioned.
During the meeting at the headquarters of the Amazon Military Command, De Nardi and the heads of the Peruvian and Colombian delegations, Admiral José Cueto Aservi and General Leonardo Alfonso Barrero Gordillo, respectively, discussed proposals to increase protection of the triple border area, as well as measures that could promote cooperation in the fight against transnational crimes.
When assessing the evolution of measures already adopted by the three countries, the EMCFA head maintained that strengthening their exchanges of intelligence should take place not only at the political level — among ministers of state or involving the Armed Forces leadership — but also on the “front line,” among the border units themselves. “The battalion commanders need to communicate with one another,” he stated. For De Nardi, it is necessary to create mechanisms that can make it possible to replicate at other levels the rapprochement achieved by Brazil, Colombia, and Peru on the institutional level.
The need to increase the exchange of information was also addressed by other delegations. Besides the exchange of intelligence data, Adm. Cueto Aservi proposed the implementation of joint training programs in areas such as military technological innovation, special operations (of the reconnaissance and night-combat types), and simulation systems.
For his part, Gen. Barrero Gordillo, mentioned the importance of exchange for the maintenance and refurbishment of military equipment — such as the Brazilian Urutu and Cascavel vehicles, used in Colombia — in addition to the need to have mechanisms to enable the exchange of information “in real time.”
When discussing some of the ideas presented, Gen. De Nardi issued a reminder that the treatment of border-security issues is not restricted to the actions of the Armed Forces, and that a wider approach to dealing with the problems at hand involves the participation of other institutional actors, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, in the case of Brazil.