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Stretching the Border: Smuggling Practices and the Control of Illegality in South America


From an article by José Carlos G. Aguiar, published in “Global Consortium on Security Transformation: New Voices Series,” No. 6, October 10, 2010.

From the Introduction:

The Tri-Border Region in South America spreads across the frontiers of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. It encompasses a trans-border urban conglomerate of about 600 thousands inhabitants in the three countries. Through the years, it has been a frontera porosa (porous border) where tracking boomed after Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner declared Ciudad del Este a free-trade zone in the 1960s. The city soon became a shopping paradise for counterfeit, cigarettes and spirits. Yet, since the 2000s there are sings of some reordering in the region. In the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States government encouraged national states to control the ows of people and goods at the region. Allegedly, illegal activities are headed by international networks, which would nance religious extremism around the globe. The governments have accordingly launched a number of plans to improve surveillance, such as the Integrated System of Migration Registration (SICaM in Spanish) in Argentina in 2005 and the ‘sacoleiro law’ in 2009, an attempt to regulate smuggling in Brazil. Paraguay has also embarked in 2009 in the renewal of the customs oce at the international bridge. These policies reveal programmes of increasing state intervention to halt tracking in electronics, drugs, weapons and humans, and any kind of undocumented border crossing.

Read the full article here.

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