Twenty Years Wandering (But Not in the Desert): Brazil’s 1967-1989 absence from UN peacekeeping

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Eduardo Uziel
João Vargas


Since the early 1990s, Brazilian officials have often underlined the country’s role as a traditional contributor of troops to peacekeeping operations, beginning with participation in UNEF I, in 1957. However, for the two decades from 1967 to 1989, Brazil did not take part in peacekeeping – a particularly puzzling absence given that this was a period of increased Brazilian activism at the UN, including in international security issues. This article suggests that one of the main reasons for Brazil’s withdrawal was concern regarding the excessive role of the great powers in controlling these operations. From 1967 to 1977, Brazil participated in the attempt to stop the Security Council from consolidating its control over these operations, seeking thereby to reduce their vulnerability to great power manipulation. In 1977, it desisted from this endeavor, and returned to peacekeeping only in 1989, by which time Brazil, the world, and peacekeeping had all changed significantly.

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How to Cite
Uziel, E., & Vargas, J. (2015). Twenty Years Wandering (But Not in the Desert): Brazil’s 1967-1989 absence from UN peacekeeping. Brasiliana: Journal for Brazilian Studies, 3(2), 6–31.
Author Biographies

Eduardo Uziel, Ministry of External Relations of Brazil

Graduated in history and law, Eduardo Uziel is a career diplomat. He has published the book "O Conselho de Segurança, as Operações de Manutenção da Paz e a Inserção do Brasil no Mecanismo de Segurança Coletiva das Nações Unidas" (Brasília, FUNAG, 2010), as well as several articles on peacekeeping and Security Council affairs.

João Vargas, Ministry of External Relations of Brazil

João Vargas is a career diplomat with an MA in History of International Relations from the University of Brasília. His is the author of “Campanha Permanente: o Brasil e a reforma do Conselho de Segurança da ONU” (Rio de Janeiro: FGV, 2011) and “Um mundo que também é nosso: o pensamento e a trajetória diplomática de Araujo Castro” (Brasília: FUNAG, 2013).