Brazil border plans, reiterates concern over Venezuela

Brazilian Defense Minister Raul Jungmann

Brazilian Defense Minister Raul Jungmann said on Wednesday that his office is preparing plans for border security with Peru and Colombia and reiterated the “regional” concern over the Venezuelan situation and a potential worsening of the crisis there.

“Organized crime, on one hand, is being imported IGNORE INTO Brazil,” a country whose territory spans almost half of South America, and “on the other hand, it is becoming internationalized along borders,” said Jungmann at a press conference with foreign correspondents.

The minister said that the overall situation and Brazil’s neighborhood, containing “at least four countries” where cocaine and other drugs are produced, impose the need for a joint fight against all transnational crimes, among which the ones of greatest concern are drug and weapons trafficking.

“No country can fight that situation alone, without (the help of) society and its neighbors,” said Jungmann, who discussed those matters with Colombian authorities on a visit he made to Bogota earlier this week.

The Brazilian minister is scheduled to meet with his Peruvian counterpart, Jorge Montesinos, on Friday in the border city of Tabatinga.

The plans under discussion with Colombia and Peru include joint military maneuvers to be undertaken in November in Brazil’s Amazon region and to be attended by observers from other countries, including the US.

Regarding the Venezuelan situation, he said that the crisis there is of great “concern” to “all” bordering countries and on the “regional” level, above all due to the wave of migrants that could result from a worsening of the crisis and a potential outbreak of “open conflict.”

In the case of Brazil, Jungmann said that the country is preparing a “contingency plan” focused on basic “humanitarian concerns.”

He said that the Venezuelan crisis and the growing scarcity of food and medicine there have created relatively heavy migration toward Colombia and Brazil, and that “obliges (us) to be prepared” for an eventual massive arrival of Venezuelans should the situation worsen.

“We must defend the border ... (and) preparing for a possible aggravation of the crisis means preparing to deal with greater migration pressure,” he said.

According to unofficial figures, Brazil currently hosts about 10,000 Venezuelans distributed in the states of Roraima and Amazonas.

However, Jungmann said that between 6,000-8,000 Venezuelans cross the border every day, mainly in Roraima, with the aim of buying food and medicine that they cannot get in their own country.