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U.S. Navy Shows That What America Can Do, Brazil Can Do As Well

Few soldiers like to say that their activities are for political purposes - and the Americans that command the aircraft carrier George Washington are no exception. In a brief visit to the main vessel of the UNITAS maneuvers this Monday (Apr. 28), Admiral Phil Cullom, the commander of the George Washington Strike Group [see photo and video, right], only eluded to in the broadest possible way, the "political significance" of the presence of the George Washington in the South Atlantic.

Indeed, the arrival of the powerful warship for maneuvers - the heart of an attack force known as the Strike Group 8 - together with the Brazilian and Argentine navies, set an important political precedent. Amongst Brazilian Naval officers there was enormous discontent that three years ago, UNITAS (the official name of these maneuvers - Spanish for 'Unity') wasn't carried out because of political interference that Brazilian officials attributed to [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chávez.

"Since the Brazilian government doesn't provide us with the funds to reequip the Navy, why can’t they at least let us participate in these maneuvers with a fleet so much more advanced, so that we can learn things that aren't in the manuals?," asked a major Brazilian commander a few months ago, who preferred to remain nameless.

In that sense, the "message" given by the Americans is reasonably clear. The George Washington has 85 combat aircraft, including the Super Hornet, the most powerful carrier-based aircraft. On a single aircraft carrier of this class (the Nimitz) there are more late-generation fighter aircraft flying than the total number available to the entire Brazilian Air Force.

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