Bolivia has refused to participate in the coordinated joint military exercises planned to take place in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, near the triple border of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru.
The exercises are called Operation United America and troops have been invited from the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Canada, Argentina, and Panama. They are planned to take place in November over a period of 10 days.
“The Armed Forces of Bolivia will not participate in such maneuvers,” the Defense Minister of Bolivia, Reymi Ferreira assured.
According to Ferreira, Bolivia recieved an invitation from Brazil to participate, but will be turning it down.
According to the Brazilian Army, one of the objectives of the exercises is to “increase the capacity of multinational rapid response, especially in the field of humanitarian logistics and support of coping with transnational crimes,” hispanTV reported.
Many critics of the plan have expressed concern that the exercise will serve as pretext for the establishment of an international military base in conjunction with the U.S. in the region.
The maneuvers are modeled after a similar operation that was held in Hungary under the direction of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which led to the establishment of a NATO base.
The move to invite U.S. soldiers to the maneuvers by right-wing Brazilian President Michel Temer was widely controversial among Brazilians who oppose growing U.S. involvement in the region, as well as military budget hikes in the midst of social program cuts.
U.S. Southern Command has held talks with Brazil to increase regional military cooperation between the two nations. The U.S. army is also currently holding exercises off the coast of Venezuela in order to secure a “partnership for a secure region,” according to Southern Command’s website.