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Re: INSIGHT - BRAZIL - national security, terrorism, drugs, Argentina, etc.

Released on 2012-03-26 13:00 GMT

Email-ID 1737548
Date 2011-01-06 19:16:30
will do. i haven't heard that much talk of Peru so far but i'll ask more
about that.
Also, props to our graphics team. The Cabinet of Institutional Security
and the Brazilian generals I talked to say they really love our maps. we
talked about working together on some map-making projects in the future
On Jan 6, 2011, at 12:12 PM, Allison Fedirka wrote:

I get the obsession over Bolivia. If you get a chance, mind asking
about how Peru (and perhaps Colombia fit in to this). Brazil is heavily
invested in Peru's energy sector and the countries are building several
hydroelectric plants along their common border. Also, the two countries
are working on/finishing up an international highway that connects the
two countries.

well they also stress energy integration as well. So for example, the
nat gas that they get from bolivia and the infrastructure they're
building around those projects. They are obsessed with Bolivia and
making sure no one does anything to push Bolivia to edge of secession.
I think they see access to the Pacific as an integral part to this
broader South American integration goal. They do keep stressing the
economic driver behind it, but perhaps that's more of a way to make
these extensions appear less imperial like..?
I'll probe deeper, though
On Jan 6, 2011, at 12:01 PM, Peter Zeihan wrote:

in the future if you get into dilma's office, swipe me a paperweight

question on this pacific interest of theirs:

it makes pol/mil/control sense to me, but not really any econ sense

its far far far far cheaper to ship stuff by water around south
america to asia than it would be to do so by road/rail across the
continent, over the andes and down to chile and then have it shipped
out from the atlantic ports (which are within spitting distance of
almost all of brazil's population

this doesn't mean i don't think those connections don't make sense
-- they are how you establish/transmit political/cultural domination
-- im just saying that any economic rationale is a distant third in
terms of importance

btw - brazil has always always always been obsessed about infra,
which makes sense considering their lack of access to useful river
systems, but its interesting to see them extend that obsession that
anywho, any realization of this from your talks with them?

On 1/6/2011 10:03 AM, Reva Bhalla wrote:

Just came from a couple really cool meetings at the Palacio
Planalto (presidential palace.) They gave me a full tour and i
got to go right up to Dilma's office, but she was in a meeting.
Wanted to tell her hello on behalf of Stratfor, oh well.
My first meeting was held in the actual Situation Room, where all
the military, intel, security people come together to deal with
national security issues. I kind of got the feeling that Brazil
doesn't have to deal with these kinds of things too often. They
said during Lula's time, they met 64 times. Really cool maps all
over the place. They gave me as a gift this beautiful map of the
world with Brasilia in the center (ambitious much? haha) This
meeting was with a diplomat friend who is now working in the
president's office and two ministers/secretaries of the GSI
(cabinet of institutional security.) All, including General Elito
Sequeiro - the chief of GSI, who I met later in his office, know
and read Stratfor regularly. Literally, they were telling me news
of what they had read on stratfor this morning and were saying
that practically everyone there is a member.
We talked about a range of issues... heard a lot of similar ideas
that I've included in previous insights. The minister began by
writing down for the number of years (140) and days since Brazil
has been in a war with its neighbors. It was almost as if they are
boasting. I've heard this line several times before - we have 10
neighbors, yet we are at peace with all of them. One even quipped,
'but we don't get nobel peace prize for this' -- an obvious
reference to our own commander in chief who is now leading two
wars in the world.
So the emphasis, again, is about keeping the peace. They
emphasized again that Brazil does not at all want to be seen as an
imperial power in any sense. I get the impression that they sort
of look down on their Spanish counterparts in the sense that all
of them have problems with each other on their borders, but look
at a map of brazil and with the exception of Acre (which fell into
Brazil's lap from Bolivia) and the borders since colonial times
are unchanged.
I talked to them about how I want to create a map of the Brazilian
population migration between Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. The
census numbers are coming in the next couple weeks and they will
get them to us, along with the academics who focus exclusively on
this issue. The concept I want to emphasize at Stratfor is that
where Brazil faces a major language/cultural/social barrier to the
Spanish-speaking world, it can overcome with population migration,
which is occurring at an accelerated pace. They acknowledge that
Brazilian population growth has stopped and so now they are
looking to import immigrant labor from neighboring states. There
is a deep concern for the sustainability of Brazilian industry and
the expansion of a consumer market. They realize Mercosur is not
working out. One said, so we will look to the alternative. I said,
like what? they mentioned NAFTA, even the EU. This may be a big
stretch, but the big idea is that they want access to markets,
they especially want access to the Pacific (again, why brazilian
relations with Chile and why the infrastructural links through
Bolivia are so key.) I find it funny in a way that Brazil always
needs to be part of some sort of 'club.' I suggested to them,
given the very unique position Brazil is in now, with Argentina
self-destructing and Brazil on the rise, that Brazil could form a
new grouping, one that suits Brazil's needs first and foremost (i
was drawing an example to Germany dominating the EU's financial
matters post-financial crisis.)
Given their responses, and the responses I've gotten from others,
I get the feeling that Brazil still has this complex. They aren't
ready to think of themselves as a regional leader in that sense.
They are still looking to other regional groups. I think this
will change with time.
I asked about Brazil's military posture with Argentina, Again, the
message they stress is about strategic coordination, partnership,
a model for peace, etc. THis is why Dilma is very symbolically
making her first trip abroad to Argentina - to show that Brazil is
serious about this continued close cooperation. They even say that
while Arg is a mess now, they will recover. THey have the
education levels, the resources, everything they need to
resuscitate themselves. They bring up the line that was used in
the 19th century in France - 'rich as an Argentine.' Obviously
that's an extremely outdated concept now, but it sticks with
Brazilians. What amazes me is that Brazilians don't even seem at
all concerned about a re-emergence of Argentina. They see it as
good for the Brazilian market. They also think they can afford to
shift more troops away from the south to the Amazon.
Speaking of the Amazon, they told me that now the postings to the
Amazon are now reserved for high-ranking officers (I thought it
was punishment!) They are totally transforming how they are
dealing with the Amazon. I've been invited to go out to a miltiary
post in the Amazon next time, which I am definitely going to do.
This brought us to the patrols along the borderland to guard
against drug traffickers. They admit it's a huge problem. The
corruption at these posts is more concentrated with the police
than the military.
An interesting point one made on precursor chemicals -- he said
one thing Brazil has done very well is control the quality of
precursor chemicals entering the country. So, the cocaine being
produced in Boliva, for example, is not the Grade A stuff that
buyers in NYC want. Instead it's lower grade stuff, crack, that
will sell in Sao Paulo. So that's the unintended consequence for
them -- cheaper, lower value drugs permeating the Brazilian
market. I brought up the idea of precursor chemicals coming into
MX from China. He said he hadn't seen anything like that down here
yet. Most of the drug transport comes overland by trucks -- even
in the smallest villages you have people who become part fo the
supply chain, selling gasoline in exchange for allowing access
through these small towns.
The issue of air transport is a big problem for them. Macedo
Soares said we have a law that allows us to shoot down planes, but
we can't apply it because of the United States (this was a major
theme in the Wikileaks for anyone that read the Brazil cables.)
This is a big source of frustration between the US and Brazil.
They say it's ridiculous that Brazil and the US have the same
strategic interest in stopping drugs, but the US won't allow them
to shoot down the planes. They say it's too hard to follow the
planes and try to interdict them at all the makeshift landing
strips these groups have.
I brought up the issue of terrrorism, since Macedo Soares is
pretty much the only Brazilian that was cited in the Wikileaks. I
asked him if it caused any trouble for him and he laughed and
said, 'only jealousy!' Apparently a lot of the other Brazilian
officials were seriously jealous that he got all the fame, haha.
Brazil defines terrorism in its constitution, and believes that is
good enough. The big issue for Brazil is that it REALLY does not
want to attract attention to itself as a terrorist target. They
want to stay as low profile as possible. In that sense, Wikileaks
really screwed with that strategy. Brazil seems pretty obstinate
in that they won't develop a terrorism list like the United STates
or anything like that. As Macedo Soares told me, we capture plenty
of 'terrorists' in Sao Paulo -- people in AQ, Hezbollah, even
people connected to the 9/11 attacks. But we don't want to boast
about it and we don't want the attention. It doesn't serve our
interests, and we don't want the US to keep pushing us on this.
They also use the excuse that developing such a terrorism brand
could then be abused and used toward those groups that fight for
the landless, etc.
I asked if the GSI felt confident in its ability to actually
surveil and capture a lot of these real 'terrorists.' The
response didn't look very confident. He said pretty much that it's
just to hard. Sao Paulo has a huge foreign population. Borders are
hard to control. That's the Brazilian attitude toward this thing.
I can see now why this causes a lot of heart burn for the US.
Also, considering how lax Brazil is about security at the
airports, military installations, even at the presidential palace,
i dont get the idea that Brazil is very aggressive about this
threat. THey even acknowledge that maybe Brazil could become a
target, as if could be inevitable. They say there is an Israeli
disco in SP that is a perfect target, for example
They also seem to think that Argentina brought the Hezbollah
bombings on itself by not being subtle about its foreign policy.
That's a picture of the Cathedral and me in front of the palace,.
Brasilia is the strangest city I've ever been to. It's so
un-Brazilian. The city is flat, flat, flat -- made for bureaucrats
in the 1950s. The city planner and architect is 103 years old,
still living, and just got married 2 years ago (hah!) He is
really famous for this ultra, ultra modern, austere design. No
color, just huge spaces. The whole city is like being in a museum.
It's laid out very oddly as well -- everything lies in one long
stretch -- airport, then the banks and tv towers, then a cluster
of all the hotels, then the cathedral, then all the ministries
lined up, supreme court, congress and the presidential palace at
the end. You could never got lost here.
Off to Porto Alegre in the deep south tonight, which should be
completely different.