Combined exercises and the fight against cross-border crime were some of the topics South American Army commanders discussed during their latest gathering. The objective of the meeting carried out at the Brazilian Army (EB) headquarters in Brasilia was to further strengthen interoperability, address issues of mutual interest, and deepen institutional relations by maintaining exchanges and cooperation programs.
Army leaders from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and Uruguay, participated in the late August meeting.
“Experience teaches us that the exchange of experience and doctrine in the military sphere is the way to achieve success in the face of common threats. In this sense, this type of event strengthens this union between the armies,” said General César Augusto Moreno Landaira, Paraguayan Army commander.
During the meeting, participants analyzed past combined exercises, such as Operation Paraná III, a humanitarian aid exercise conducted in early August in Foz do Iguaçu that saw the participation of 13 countries of the Americas. The exercise consisted of a simulated training event of natural disasters, focusing on humanitarian aid work. More combined exercises are in the making, Verde-Oliva Agency of the EB Communication Center told Diálogo, including an urban area combat exercise with Uruguay planned for 2026.
Cooperation for the protection of the Amazon rainforest against cross-border illicit activities was yet another topic, which was also center to the presentation of Army General Tomás Miguel Miné Ribeiro Paiva, EB commander. Some neighboring countries, Verde-Oliva Agency said in its statement, already have strategies in place, such as mirror patrols along their common borders, which countries like Uruguay and Paraguay already carry on and that other countries are set to replicate.
“We have always sought to increase military participation in this type of forum. We have several problems in common, several initiatives in common. The exchange is already very good. So having the opportunity to establish a forum in South America to deal with common problems and talk openly, checking where we can improve, I think is always very good and very salutary,” Gen. Tomás said.
“I think [the meeting] is a fundamental element in being able to jointly combat those emergency situations that may occur in border areas like we have with Brazil or Argentina, or even when there is a request for help from one country to another. And also because they position us, I think, much more strongly in the eyes of the world,” Uruguayan Army General Mário Rafael Stevenazzi Viñas said.
During the reunion, Army commanders also held bilateral meetings, allowing them to further cooperation agreements in various areas such as personnel (human resources training), combined operations, logistics, science and technology, engineering, and intelligence, the EB said in a statement.
“The first thing to emphasize is what unites us, a common goal, which is to preserve the peace of our continent. In this our armies have a lot in common: guaranteeing and strengthening the integration process that we have developed over more than 40 years of work. And all of this means that we have a very close relationship,” Argentine Army Lieutenant General Guillermo Olegario Gonzalo Pereda said.
This was the first time EB organized the meeting.