Brazil/US defence summit to consider military technology transfer and South Atlantic
Brazil wants the US to eliminate barriers to the transfer of military technology, an issued that will be addressed on Tuesday April 24, in Brasilia when US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta meets with his peer Celso Amorim.
“It is of great significance that there are no obstacles in the purchase of equipment with high military technology content” said Amorim in statements to Folha de Sao Paulo.
Amorim and Panetta will be meeting on Tuesday in Brasilia to open the new “Cooperation Dialogue in Defence” subscribed during the recent visit of President Dilma Rousseff to Washington and which Brazil hopes it contributes to end with restrictions to technology transfer, according to the Sao Paulo influential daily.
The Brazilian minister recalled the restriction imposed by the US in 2006 to the sale of 24 Super Tucano turbine training aircraft to Venezuela. The Super Tucano is manufactured by Brazil’s leading air industry Embraer but some of its avionics is US made.
Washington then managed to stop the sale because of the US components but it has been an experience very much recalled by Brazil which is currently negotiating a major purchase of 36 fighter jets (several billion dollars contract) with bidders France, Sweden and the US, and for Brazil the priority is the transfer of technology.
Besides, the recent cancelling by the Pentagon of a 380 million dollars contract with Embraer to supply light aircraft for the Afghan Air Force was very much criticized by Brazil, particularly since the decision allegedly was reversed to favour a US company.
Another important issue in the defence bilateral talks between Panetta and Amorim figures the resurgence of the US Fourth Fleet with an area of influence which includes the South Atlantic and Brazil and the rest of the region want to see “free of foreign military presence”.
The US Fourth Fleet is a command of the United States Navy in the South Atlantic, operating as a component of the joint US Southern Command and US Fleet Forces Command.
The Fourth Fleet is based at Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida and is responsible for US Navy ships, aircraft and submarines operating in the Caribbean, and Atlantic and Pacific Oceans around Central and South America.
The Fleet began operations again in the summer of 2008 but was not fully staffed until 2009. According to the US State Department the Fourth Fleet's aim is to assist in narcotics interdiction efforts, humanitarian and goodwill interventions, and joint training with regional security partners.
However Brazil considers the South Atlantic strategic and refers to it as the “blue Amazon”, an area which must be limited to the coastal states and no foreign influence.
Panetta will also be talking about coordination of efforts to help combat organized crime and drug trafficking in Central America which seems to be ever increasingly under the influence of the cartels, mainly from Mexico where President Felipe Calderon offensive has forced many of the main groups to move out of the country.