Country Report on Terrorism 2018 - Chapter 1 - Brazil

Overview: Brazil and the United States maintained strong counterterrorism cooperation in 2018, building on collaborative efforts since the 2016 Summer Olympics. The Brazilian Federal Police (DPF), Brazil’s lead counterterrorism agency, worked closely with the United States and other nations’ law enforcement entities to assess and mitigate potential terrorist threats. The Brazilian government continued to support counterterrorism activities, which included third-country technical assistance for controlling sensitive technologies and investigating fraudulent travel documents.

2018 Terrorist Incidents: There were no terrorist attacks reported in Brazil in 2018.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: There were no major changes to counterterrorism legislation in 2018.

In February, President Michel Temer divided the Ministry of Justice and created the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), with DPF moving under the authority of the MPS.

In August, Brazil adopted into law UNSCR 2396 on countering threats posed by terrorist ravel, including returning FTFs, and awaits creation of a domestic implementation strategy.

In May, DPF launched Operation Bravata to combat racist and terrorist threats made online, with one person arrested in Curitiba. In April, a federal judge in Curitiba accepted charges against a journalist accused of promoting terrorism after infiltrating ISIS sympathizers as part of a journalistic investigation conducted in 2016. According to the judge, the journalist “exceeded the tolerable limit and promoted the terrorist organization Islamic State” in messages to the group.

There were no new arrests or convictions related to 2016’s Operation Hashtag, which dismantled a loose, online, pro-ISIS network prior to the 2016 Olympics. In November, a federal judge sentenced a defendant arrested under Operation Atila, which began in 2017 to investigate the use of mobile communication applications to promote terrorist groups. The defendant, one of 11 arrested and charged with promoting ISIS in Brazil, was sentenced to reduced charges of “advocating the commission of crimes and corrupting minors.”

All Brazilian law enforcement agencies, including those tasked with border security and counterterrorism, continued to suffer from budget constraints caused by the ongoing economic recession and fiscal shortfall. These effects were particularly acute at major ports of entry.

Brazilian authorities continued to work with other concerned nations – particularly the United States – to counter document fraud. Regional and international joint operations successfully disrupted numerous document vendors and facilitators, as well as related human smuggling networks. The Department of State provided comprehensive and ongoing training on counterfeit and fraudulent document recognition to airlines and border police units through its Investigations Program. The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) trained Brazilian airline employees on identifying fraudulent documents.

CBP launched a pilot of the Joint Security Program (JSP) in October 2017 with the goal of identifying high-risk air travelers and contraband arriving to and departing from Brazil. JSP officers work side-by-side with Brazilian law enforcement and border control counterparts to identify inbound and outbound travelers with links to terrorism and narcotics, weapons, currency, or alien smuggling. CBP conducted three pilot operations since 2017 in São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport – the busiest airport in South America. The Brazilian army continued to implement an Integrated Border Monitoring System to monitor the country’s borders using a combination of personnel, cameras, sensors, and satellites. The strategic initiative is underway in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, with the intention of covering the entire Brazilian border by 2021.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Brazil is a member of the FATF and the Financial Action Task Force of Latin America (GAFILAT), a FATF-style regional body. Its FIU, the Council for Financial Activities Control, is a member of the Egmont Group. Brazil made progress mitigating the shortcomings identified in its third-round FATF mutual evaluation report from 2010, and it continued to address the remaining deficiencies.

On January 31, 2017, Brazil issued two implementing regulations for Laws 13.170 and 13.260 to address gaps in its countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) regime, specifically allowing for domestic terrorism designations and facilitating international cooperation on terrorism investigations. Despite this progress, FATF noted in its 14th follow-up report to the 2010 mutual evaluation report, that Brazil’s CFT regime was not in full compliance with FATF standards, particularly regarding its domestic designation framework, which was not sufficient. In response to FATF’s observations, Brazil committed to an action plan for addressing the remaining deficiencies.

For additional information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Countering Violent Extremism: The Brazilian Senate and various government agencies, including DPF and Ministry of Foreign Relations, organized or participated in conferences addressing international terrorism, with a particular emphasis on countering online radicalization to violence and preventing the use of the internet for terrorist purposes.

International and Regional Cooperation: Brazil participated in regional counterterrorism fora, including the Organization of American States/Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Joint Working Group on Counterterrorism, and the Southern Common Market’s working group on terrorism and sub-working group on financial issues. Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay coordinated law enforcement efforts in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) with Argentina and Paraguay by means of their Trilateral Tri-Border Area Command. In September, Brazil participated in a Workshop on Preventing Terrorism and Transnational Crime in the TBA, which encompassed Puerto Iguazú, Argentina; Ciudad del Este, Paraguay; and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. The Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT) hosted this Department of State-sponsored event. The three-day workshop included prosecutors, judges, law enforcement investigators, financial intelligence and sanctions officials, and intelligence officials from the region.