Brazil pushes for new South American effort against transnational crime

Brasilia, Jun 23 (EFE).- Called together by Brazil, 10 South American countries on Thursday discussed improving their cooperation to combat transnational crime with joint action to strengthen that effort and to improve intelligence operations.

“This broadened collaboration will be a new tool that will allow for the use of shared intelligence generated from satellite data” that will permit a “map” of the actions of illegal organizations to be created to “contain crime and violence,” said Brazilian Attorney General Anderson Torres.

Attending the meeting – according to the Brazilian Attorney General’s Office, the sponsor of the gathering held behind closed doors – were security authorities from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay, with Venezuela as the only South American country not taking part.

Basically, the idea is to bring together representatives of security organizations from South American countries at the International Police Cooperation Center (CCPI) in Rio de Janeiro, created in 2014 to coordinate security for that year’s World Cup in Brazil and the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

Torres said that the “working plan” of the regional security officials will be presented to other countries within a month by Brazil’s Federal Police.

The initiative comes in addition to other similar ones that have been advanced in the region in recent decades and which have created a bureaucratic network that, to date, has not been very effective in dealing with transnational criminal organizations that are becoming stronger and move billions of dollars each year.

Those illegal organizations have diversified their activities and are active in the trafficking of drugs, people, minerals, wood, wildlife and flora, among the many areas in which they operate, the various criminal groups often using “violent cooperation” to jointly achieve their ends.

That was the case with Paraguayan prosecutor Marcelo Pecci, who was murdered in May in Colombia’s Caribbean region and who had been “convicted” by the First Capital Command (PCC), a criminal gang that emerged in Brazil’s prisons and which now has tentacles reaching throughout almost the entire region.

Within that framework, which includes thousands of anonymous victims, can also be placed the murders just two weeks ago of Brazilian indigenous activist Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillipps in a remote corner of the Amazon region near the borders of Brazil, Peru and Colombia, killings attributed to illegal fishing interests.

In the face of these threats, Brazil in 2016 had convened a ministerial meeting on border security for the Southern Cone nations attended by Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay, who – just as at the meeting on Thursday – committed themselves to greater cooperation against organized crime.

Forming the basis for this activity are assorted regional mechanisms, including Community of Police of the Americas (AmericaPol), founded in 2007 and made up of entities from 30 countries.

These same matters are also being discussed within the Council of Interior and Security Ministers of Mercosur and Associated States, the latest meeting of which was held on June 3 in Paraguay, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the South American bloc.

To that entity, created in 1991, was added at the beginning of this year the Latin American Committee on Internal Security (CLASI), supported by the European Union and which, so far, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru have joined.

CLASI, meanwhile, was created with broad guidelines similar to those that gave rise to the now defunct South American Defense Council formed within the context of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) in 2009 and which the 12 countries of the region joined at the time.

That group, however, disappeared when Unasur was virtually dismantled with the departure of countries that moved away from having conservative governments – like Brazil – and now it includes only Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.

EFE ed/ass/cpy/bp

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