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Brazil patrols Paraguay border with UAV to control drugs and arms contraband

Friday, July 23rd 2010 - 02:42 UTC
Full article 2 comments
An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or drone, used by Brazilian forces An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or drone, used by Brazilian forces

Brazilian incumbent presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff revealed that Brazil is patrolling its border area next to Paraguay with an UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) hoping to control the inflow of narcotics, weapons and illegal merchandise (contraband).

The area is known as the Triple Border, where geography makes Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet, and which Brazilian authorities consider the most vulnerable of its thousands long border given the massive smuggling of drugs and heavy weapons which turn up in the hands of criminal gangs in Brazil’s main cities, and of all type of merchandise.

The nucleus of this ‘illegal’ trade is born allegedly in the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este, which also happens to have a significant percentage of residents and merchants from the Middle East, and on more than one occasion has been targeted, by international intelligence agencies, as a funds revenue centre for Middle East extremist groups.

Ms Rousseff promised that if elected she would impose even stricter controls along the border area further increasing the coordination between the Brazilian military and special forces.

“We have to increase the contingent of police forces experts in border patrolling and support them with all the intelligence and surveillance resources needed for the task”, said Ms Rousseeff speaking during a television program while campaigning in the southern city of Curitiba in the state of Parana next to Paraguay.

The incumbent candidate then revealed that since last year Brazil is flying a UAV (which it bought from Israel) along the border with Paraguay. The unmanned craft can fly up to 10.000 metres, take pictures of anything on the ground, plus carry weapons and missiles if necessary.

“The UAV is operating from the airport of San Miguel Do Iguazú and specifically instructed for surveillance over the Itaipú Lake and the Paraná River, which allegedly are straddled with clandestine jetties to traffic with narcotics, weapons and all kind of illegal merchandise.

Brazil’s main opposition candidate Jose Serra also supports a similar hard line policy for the triple border area.

Merchants and officials from Ciudad del Este are not surprised with Ms Rousseff’s statements of tighter controls because since “President Lula da Silva took office, by all means they have tried to strangle our legitimate and legal business”.

Ciudad del Este mayor Sandra McLeod Zacarías said that Brazil has the right to impede the inflow of contraband merchandise into its territory and “it’s most fair they should combat the drugs and arms traffic, which should also concern Paraguayan officials”.

However this does not entitle Brazilian officials “to expose tourists and local residents to all sorts of humiliations; we can’t accept that the Brazilian Federal Revenue Office imposes measures that affect normal vehicle traffic along the ‘Friendship bridge’ that links both countries, with the sole purpose of scaring tourists away”, added the mayor.

“We believe the Paraguayan government should adopt a more patriotic and energetic attitude when claiming about these issues” said Sanda Mc Leod Zacaría, “we’re not a Brazilian protectorate”.

Categories: Politics, Brazil.
Tags: Brazil, drugs, Paraguay, UAV.

Top Comments

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  • Billy Hayes

    Sandra, give thanks to Solano Lopez, who invaded Mato Grosso and Corrientes at the same time.
    Paraguay make two terrible historical mistakes; not joining to May Revolution and 80 years later Solano Lopez leadership.

    Jul 23rd, 2010 - 02:52 am 0
  • harrier61

    Wrong border!!

    Jul 27th, 2010 - 12:03 pm 0
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