US Pressures Brazil To Use Armed Forces In Venezuela Relief Operation

Brazil's Defense Department fears that the situation might evolve to open conflict and ruled out allowing American forces in Brazilian territory

Igor Gielow Patrícia Campos Mello
São Paulo

The United States wants Brazil to use its Armed Forces in its Venezuelan relief operation, but the Brazilian Defense Department is resisting the proposal out of fear that the situation at the border evolves to open conflict and also ruled out allowing American forces into Roraima to help the aid efforts.

The relief operation is one of the ways the United States and allies are trying to pressure Venezuela into ousting president Nicolás Maduro. Opposition leader Juan Guiadó, considered by both Brazil and the US as the legitimate interim president, requested food and supplies to be available at the Brazil and Venezuela border next Saturday (23rd).

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaidó speaks at a protest of the public transport sector against the government of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela February 20, 2019. - REUTERS

Colombia has around 1,000 US troops and has already started to set up a distribution center near Cúcuta, a town at the border with Venezuela. There, American soldiers are working freely, but Maduro blocked the bridge connecting the two countries to the transportation of food and medications. There is already fear of confrontations between military forces on both sides.

In the last few weeks, the United States has been signaling that it would like to be allowed into the Brazil-Venezuela border, as well.

The Bolsonaro administration said that the relief efforts are already being coordinated with the American government, but ruled out any actual involvement from military forces from either Washington or Brasília. The supplies will be transported in trucks from Venezuela driven by Venezuelan nationals.

Sources told Folha that the US State Department was certain that Brazil would allow American troops in Roraima, given the first exchanges it had with Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Araújo - a self-declared Trump fan.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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