The navies of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru set sail on the 46th iteration of the Naval Operation Bracolper, in the city of Leticia, Colombia. From July 19 to September 15, 2021, riverine units of the three countries will navigate the Amazon River and carry out tactical exercises to protect their tri-border area, the Colombian Navy said in a statement.
This year, the Peruvian Navy’s Amazon Operations General Command is leading the operation. The event consists of three training phases to simulate real amphibious landing operations.
Peru is participating with two river gunboats and an air support helicopter. Colombia, with its Southern Naval Force, is taking part with a river gunboat, which also leads the naval operations. The Brazilian Navy’s 9th Naval District Command is sailing with two river patrol vessels and a support vessel, the Colombian Navy said in a statement.
“In the Amazon, lung of this planet, our Navy, together with two partner countries, carries out [with Bracolper] initiatives to integrate our capabilities, protect nature, provide humanitarian aid, guarantee sovereignty, and implement activities to counter narcotrafficking and to supervise this fundamental area for nature, life, and our borders’ protection,” Colombian Minister of Defense Diego Molano said on Twitter.
Since 1974, Operation Bracolper has been taking place during the national holidays of each participating nation.
From July 26-30, 2021, during the first and second phases, the vessels sailed between the ports of Leticia, Colombia, and Iquitos, Peru, where the ships carried out naval practices in communications, traffic lights, flashing signals, cargo transfer, interdiction, and patrolling, the Colombian Navy said.
For the third stage, in September, the vessels will travel to Manaus, Brazil, to celebrate the country’s independence, the Brazilian Navy told the press. Service members will carry out tactical operations between the Negro and Solimões rivers, with landing maneuvers and live fire exercises, the institution added.
Threats at the triple border
“There are quite a lot of instability factors [at] our borders. We have problems with narcotrafficking, illegal mining; we must protect forest biodiversity in the Amazon, which we share among the three countries,” Rear Admiral Harry Reyna Niño, commander of Colombia’s Southern Naval Force, told La Región, a Peruvian newspaper from Iquitos, on July 29.
There is a high risk to citizens in the Amazon area, due to turf wars over narcotrafficking routes between dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and organized crime groups, the Peruvian newspaper El Espectador reported on its website. “Since 2014, residents have suffered extortion, threats, forced displacement, confinement, recruitment, illicit use of children and teenagers, selective homicide, and violations of indigenous people’s rights to self-determination,” the newspaper added