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Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Brazil

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 18 August 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Brazil, 18 August 2011, available at: [accessed 17 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: The Brazilian government cooperated in countering terrorism-related activities, including investigating potential terrorism financing, document forgery networks, and other illicit activity. Operationally, security forces of the Brazilian government worked with U.S. officials to pursue investigative leads provided by U.S. authorities regarding terrorist suspects.

Although Brazil has no official list of terrorist groups and does not recognize the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) as one, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and current President Dilma Rousseff have been critical of the FARC's use of violence and publicly called on the group to desist its armed struggle against the Colombian government.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Government of Brazil's counterterrorism strategy consisted of deterring terrorists from using Brazilian territory to facilitate attacks or raise funds, while monitoring and suppressing transnational criminal activities that could support terrorist actions. It accomplished this through coordination among its law enforcement entities and through cooperation with the United States and other partners in the region.

The Brazilian government is achieving visible results thanks to recent investments in border and law enforcement infrastructure that were made with a view to control the flow of goods – legal and illegal – through the Tri- Border Area (TBA) of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, whose proceeds could be diverted to support terrorist groups. The inspection station at the Friendship Bridge in the TBA that was completed by the Brazilian customs agency (Receita Federal) in 2007 continued to take effective action to reduce the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and contraband goods along the border with Paraguay. From January to November 2010, Receita Federal seized more than US$ 716 million in contraband goods, including drugs, weapons, and munitions.

As a result of the effective crackdown on the Friendship Bridge, most smuggling operations now take place through the Parana River and Lago Itaipu, and some have migrated to other sections of the border, such as the towns of Guiara and Ponta Pora. The Federal Police has special maritime police units in both Foz de Iguacu and Guaira that patrol the maritime border areas, but because of the scale and complexity of the endeavor to curtail smuggling and trafficking activities through the waterways, Brazil is considering using an unmanned aerial vehicle to assist law enforcement in monitoring the border, a development that could further improve border security. In the meantime, the State of Parana has paired with the Federal Police to create a Border Operations Independent Company consisting of roughly 120 officers.

The Container Security Initiative in Santos continued in 2010.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Brazil is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and is also a member of the FATF of South America (GAFISUD). Brazil seeks to play an active leadership role in GAFISUD and has offered technical assistance to Argentina to implement FATF recommendations. The relevant executive branch agencies in Brazil view FATF recommendations as a top priority. The government has created a working group, chaired by the Ministry of Justice, to incorporate these recommendations into proposed legislation and regulation, however, Congress had not acted by year's end.

Terrorist financing is not an autonomous offense in Brazil. Terrorist financing is, however, an established predicate offense for money laundering. A 2008 draft terrorist financing bill passed the Brazilian Senate and was awaiting approval by the lower chamber at year's end. The bill would facilitate greater law enforcement access to financial and banking records during investigations, criminalize illicit enrichment, allow administrative freezing of assets, and facilitate prosecutions of money laundering and terrorist financing cases.

Brazil monitored domestic financial operations and effectively used its financial intelligence unit, the Financial Activities Oversight Council (COAF), to identify possible funding sources for terrorist groups. Through COAF, which is a largely independent entity under the authority of the Finance Ministry (Fazenda), Brazil has carried out name checks for persons and entities on the UNSCR 1267 list, but it has so far not reported any assets, accounts, or property in the names of persons or entities on the UN lists. The Brazilian government has generally responded to U.S. efforts to identify and block terrorist-related funds.

In December, the United States designated Bilal Mohsen Wehbe, Hizballah's chief representative in South America, under Executive Order 13224. Wehbe has been involved in transferring funds collected in Brazil to Hizballah in Lebanon. COAF has reported that Wehbe's name was placed in their database for continued monitoring. COAF does not have the authority to unilaterally freeze assets without a court order. The FATF has recommended that COAF create a standard operating procedure for freezing funds, which COAF has prioritized for next year's actions.

Regional and International Cooperation: Brazil participated in regional counterterrorism fora, included the Union of South American Nations and Mercosur's working group on terrorism and the sub-working group on financial issues, the latter of which covers terrorist financing and money laundering among the Mercosur countries. Brazil signed the Beijing Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Relating to International Civil Aviation and the Beijing Protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft at the conclusion of an International Civil Aviation Organization diplomatic conference in September.

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