A border war down in South America

President-Elect Jair Bolsonaro recently made news with his announcement about Cuban doctors in Brazil.  He also ran as a "law and order" candidate, and the Paraguay-Brazil border will quickly be on his agenda.

This is the latest report from that border:

Paraguay shares a thinly policed, 848-mile border with Brazil, and has long been a hub for smuggling and money laundering.  The country is a major producer of marijuana, has a vibrant arms market and acts as a conduit for cocaine shipped from neighboring Bolivia.

But now, powerful gangs from Brazil are exploiting Paraguay's lax gun laws, police corruption and weak justice system to establish a more permanent foothold. 

These criminal organizations "no longer treat Paraguay like a foreign country, but rather part of their criminal domain," Mr. Guizzio said.

Eradicating the gangs' influence poses a significant institutional challenge for Paraguay, senior officials say.

Yes, a problem for Paraguay, but just as big for the incoming Bolsonaro administration.

In a way, Paraguay is turning into the 1990s Afghanistan of the South American drug cartels – in other words, a haven or place where they run to, regroup, count their dollars, and plan the next operation.

Also, Paraguay is a small country that simply can't compete with well armed criminal organizations.

So what does "law and order" Bolsonaro do?

He will probably beef up border patrols and put troops on the border.  After that, Brazil could take military action, something similar to U.S. troops chasing the North Vietnamese into Cambodia under President Nixon.

As any Brazilian will tell you, drug violence can be seen in any major city.  The murder rates are high and getting higher.

So don't be surprised if President Bolsonaro acts soon.

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