Brazil Battles Drugs at Its Borders
The nation deploys 9,000 troops to secure its borders against a surge of drug and arms imports.
As part of a two-week operation to fight drug crime, Brazil is deploying 9,000 troops to secure its borders with Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay. According to the Defense Ministry, the operation, which began on Monday, is intended to block an influx of drugs and arms into the country. "This mobilization along the border is a matter of self-defense," says David Fleischer, a political scientist at the University of Brasilia. "Brazil is invaded by drugs and clandestine arms shipments from the neighboring countries, mostly from Bolivia and Paraguay." Bolivia is the world's third biggest producer of cocaine—and officials estimate that 92% of that produce heads to Brazil. In the past two years, more than two tons of drugs and 59 weapons have been seized in four similar operations. However, in order for such operations to be effective against the overwhelming tide of illegal imports, they would have to employ at least 50,000 troops, Fleischer estimates, "but the country does not have the resources for that."