Brazil to build wall on Paraguay border

Brazil will build a two million dollar wall on its border with Paraguay. Reports say that the government of Brazil contracted the construction of the 3 kilometer wall to begin at the end of March and end within six months. The government stated that the barrier is intended to obstruct the Paraguay-Brazil smuggling industry, which traffics cigarettes and appliances. The wall will be built in the tri-border area where Ciudad del Este (Paraguay) meets Foz de Iguacu (Brazil) and the nearby Argentine city of Puerto Iguazu.

Paraguayans expressed surprise at the news and are discussing the plan with Brazilian officials. Paraguayan Vice-Chancellor Federico Gonzalez said “the construction of such a wall is contrary to the spirit of greater integration between the countries.” The bridge where Ciudad del Este connects to Foz de Iguacu is called the Puente de Amistad [Friendship Bridge], and was build during the Paraguayan Strossner dictatorship.

On March 13, The Brazilian minister of Foreign Relations told the Paraguayan Chancellor Rubén Ramírez Lezcano that the Brazilian government is not planning to build an emergency wall on the border, but will only build customs “works” on the Brazilian side.

In comments following an Editorial on the Ultima Hora Website, Paraguayans complained that while the Brazilian Government was concerned with keeping pirated goods from Paraguay out of Brazil, there were no measures being taken to keep Brazilian drug-traffickers, homesteaders and agro-industries from terrorizing Paraguayan small farmers.

According to a press release, the authorities in both countries conducted “several major anti-piracy operations” in the tri-border area earlier this month. On March 2, the Paraguayan “Specialized Anti-Piracy Unit” (UTE) seized over 40,000 pirated DVDs and CDs from warehouses in Ciudad del Este. Using intelligence from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the UTE also searched a warehouse in the International Free Zone of Ciudad del Este, seizing “approximately 100,000 recorded music CD-Rs and 303,000 film DVD-Rs.” On March 6-7, Brazilian authorities in Paraná seized 566 DVD-R burners, 16,000 film DVD-Rs, 6,000 music CD-Rs, 475,000 blank CD-Rs and DVD-Rs and half a million inlays from a vehicle.

April Howard for Upside Down World, March 13

See our last posts on Paraguay and the tri-border region.