Protecting the Amazon
By Dialogo January 01, 2012
The Western Amazon region is a major transit point for illegal vehicles and
smugglers bringing weapons and drugs into Brazil. Often, arms that transgress these areas
fall into the hands of violent gangs in the shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The
criminals also cause environmental destruction and threaten indigenous communities by
creating and protecting new trafficking routes through the jungle.
In August 2011, the Brazilian Defense Ministry conducted a joint operation by the
Brazilian Armed Forces as part of the country’s Strategic Border Plan. Code-named Ágata, the
operation sought to combat environmental crimes along the border of the Western Amazon
region. Colombian forces also participated.
The following month, Brazil initiated Operation Ágata 2. Seven thousand troops were
deployed along its southern border to combat organized crime, with air support from
Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Together, the military forces of the region are helping to
put a stop to the use of these pristine areas for illicit ends.