Brazil's first circle of international relations is with its Latin American neighbors. Being the largest nation in the region makes this process somewhat delicate. Most border issues were settled in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but some questions concerning the borders with Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay, and Venezuela remain. In 1995 Brazilian farmers and forest gatherers penetrated Bolivia's Pando Department, in an action reminiscent of the invasion of Acre by Brazilian rubber tappers in the 1890s. Brazil regularly extends export credits and university scholarships to its Latin American neighbors. A certain quota of Latin Americans are admitted to the Rio Branco Institute and the armed forces staff schools.
An active participant in regional security activities, Brazil hosted the conference that established the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) in 1947. In addition, Brazil was a founding member of the OAS in 1948 and has participated in several OAS peacekeeping endeavors. Most notable was Brazil's participation in the Inter-American Peace Force (Fuerzas Interamericanas de Paz--FIP) in the Dominican Republic in 1965. In the 1980s, Brazil was an active participant in the Contadora Support Group (see Glossary), which sought a permanent peace in Central America. In June 1995, eighty-seven Brazilians were attached to peacekeeping operations in the Americas--thirty-seven in El Salvador, thirty-two in Nicaragua, ten on the Ecuador/Peru border, six in Honduras, and two in Guatemala.
The Treaty of Asunción--signed in 1991 by Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay--was the culmination of a rapprochement between Brazil and Argentina after 160 years of regional rivalry (see Trade Patterns and Regional Economic Integration, ch. 3). It also incorporated Uruguay and Paraguay into Mercosul, and Bolivia and Chile joined Mercosul in 1996.
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