Tensions Rise As US Announces Military Drills Near Embattled Venezuela

Cross-posted from Mint Press News

The involvement of the U.S. military in an upcoming multilateral military drill in South America has raised concerns over potential ulterior motives on the part of the U.S. The drill, dubbed “Operation: America United,” will involve the installation of a temporary military base on the triple border shared by the drill’s other participating nations: Peru, Brazil and Colombia.

According to Theofilo de Oliveira, the top general of the Brazilian Armed Forces, the U.S. military will carry out the drill along with the three Latin American nations this November over a period of ten days. The Brazilian military has asserted that the objective of the exercise is to “ develop greater knowledge, share experiences and develop mutual trust.” Brazilian government officials have strongly denied rumors that the exercise will lead to the establishment of a multinational military base in the Amazon.

The U.S. was invited to participate by Brazil’s unelected president Michel Temer, who has notably boosted Brazilian military spending by 36 percent while simultaneously freezing public spending for two decades through a controversial constitutional amendment.

A friendly relationship with Brazil’s military is key for the U.S.’ strategic interest in South America. As Hector Luis Saint Pierre – coordinator of international security, defense and strategy at the Brazilian Association of International Relations – told the BBC: “Brazil is a strategic partner for the doctrine of the military. If the United States has a good relationship with the Brazilian navy, it is easier to spread its message among the military in the region.”

Pierre pointed out that the drill is of particular interest to the U.S., as it presents an opportunity to focus on the political situation in Venezuela. According to Telesur, President Donald Trump has already met with the presidents of Peru and Colombia to discuss the U.S.’ interest in Venezuela

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