Multinational Operations Improve Defense in the Amazon Region and Provide Care to Riverine Populations

For the last 45 years, the Brazilian, Colombian, and Peruvian navies have been carrying out Operation BRACOLPER.
Andréa Barretto / Diálogo | 16 September 2019

International Relations

Brazilian ships take part in Operation BRACOLPER, which brings together vessels and aircraft of the Colombian, Brazilian, and Peruvian navies in riverine exercises to counter illegal transborder activities. (Photo: Brazilian Navy)

“The goal is to improve the level of training, interoperability, and integration among naval forces for the security of the Amazon region,” said Brazilian Navy Vice Admiral Paulo César Colmenero Lopes, commander of the 9th Naval District, the military institution responsible for monitoring the  more than 13,500-mile waterway in the Amazon region.

The 2019 edition of the exercise is split into three phases, bringing together about 400 navy service members from the three nations. The first and second stages of the operation took place July 9-August 9, between the ports of Leticia, in Colombia, and Iquitos, in Peru, in the waters of the Marañon River, a stretch of the Amazon River within Peruvian territory. During these phases that included the use of ships and aircraft, service members implemented maneuvers to counter common problems in this part of the border: drug and arms trafficking.

Some of the activities included leapfrog and light-line transfer, where ships participating in the operation are positioned side-by-side to move cargo between them, which requires precise ship maneuvering. Communication and information exchanges, rapid response to attacks and patrolling, with the latter aimed at monitoring and identifying suspicious activities on the water, were some of the other operations carried out.

The Brazilian and Peruvian navies provide medical and dental services to riverine populations during a binational operation conducted on the Javari River, in May 2019. (Photo: Brazilian Navy)

The third phase took place in Brazil, September 2-9, near the Negro and Solimões rivers, which are tributaries of the Amazon river. Marines participated in this stage and trained on how to disembark in a riverine region.

“Naval operation procedures have evolved due to advances in technology. Each operation brings new lessons as planners face different situations given the characteristics of the region,” said Vice Adm. Colmenero.

In 2019, Brazilian and Peruvian service members provided medical and dental services to more than 3,000 individuals, both on the Peruvian and Brazilian side of the riverbank.

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