Peace Time: Brazil Invades And Bombs Brazil

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August 18, 2011: Brazil is at war with drug smuggling gangs that are using remote jungle airstrips to move cocaine and other contraband into the country. This is literally war. For example, earlier this month, aerial reconnaissance discovered an illegal air strip in in the northwest (Amazonas State, which borders Peru, Colombia and Venezuela). Four Super Tucano aircraft were sent in, each armed with two 227 kg (500 pound) bombs. After the eight bombs were dropped on the air strip, two UH-60 helicopters were sent in with police, army and environmental personnel, to check out the site (to make sure the air strip was unusable and to search for any evidence.).

The air strike was part of Operation Agatha, which involves 3,000 troops and 35 aircraft sweeping the border area for other signs of illegal activity (including illegal mining and logging, as well as other forms of smuggling.) Amazonas State is very much the “wild west”. In an area of 1.5 million square kilometers (606,000 square miles) there are only 3.5 million people. Much of the area is thinly populated jungle and grassland. Most of the people in Amazonas are Indians, the descendants of tribes that have lived in the area for thousands of years. The drug gangs, and other criminals moving in are not welcome, but the bad guys are heavily armed and used to having their way. That’s why so many troops moved in for this operation, and why air strikes are being used. The government plans to periodically send the troops back, to keep the gangsters on the run, or at least on the defensive.

 

 


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