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The Triple Frontier should not be confused with Tres Fronteras, at the common border among Brazil, Peru, and Colombia.
The Triple Frontier (Spanish: La Triple Frontera, Portuguese: Tr√≠plice Fronteira) is a tri-border area along the junction of Paraguaymarker, Argentinamarker, and Brazilmarker near the cities of Ciudad del Estemarker, Alto Paran√°; Puerto Iguaz√ļmarker, Misionesmarker and Foz do Igua√ßumarker, Paran√°marker respectively. On the Argentine side, it is often referred to as "Los Tres Fronteras" in the local signage. This area is the location of the Iguazu Fallsmarker and the Itaipumarker hydroelectric plant.


The population in the Hito Triple Frontera is concentrated in three interacting border cities. In 2001 Ciudad del Este was the largest city, with a population of 240,000, while the smallest ‚ÄĒ Argentina's Puerto Iguaz√ļ ‚ÄĒ had a population of 28,100. The Brazilian tourist-centric city Foz do Igua√ßu has a population of 190,000. The Arab and other Asian immigrant communities, which make up an important part of the urban population in the Tri-Border Area, are estimated to number approximately 50,000.


At the Hito Tres Fronteras, the Iguaz√ļmarker and the Paran√°marker rivers converge. It is an important tourist area, within the touristic subregion of the Regi√≥n de las Aguas Grandes, with key hydroelectric resources. Visitors can see the Tancredo Nevesmarker bridge, which connects the Argentine city of Puerto Iguaz√ļmarker and its Brazilian neighbor, Foz do Igua√ßumarker.

At this landmark, one can see all three countries simultaneously. Furthermore, a visitor can see an obelisk in each country, painted with the national colors of the country in which it is located. Also, there is an artisanal fair at this landmark, where one can buy artisanal and artistic works characteristic of the surrounding area.


The particular geography of the border region makes it very difficult to monitor, facilitating and promoting organized crime and the illicit activities connected with it.
In 2002, and again in 2006, the United Statesmarker Treasury Department mentioned in a memo that there are "clear examples" of Islamic groups in the region that "finance terrorist activities". Groups like Egypt'smarker al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda are believed to draw some of their funding from activities in the Triple Frontier. The Paraguayan side of the Triple Frontier could be serving as a haven for terrorist operations as that nation has no anti-terrorism laws. Thus, financially contributing to terrorist organizations is not punishable by law. Suspected terrorists are instead apprehended under tax evasion and other charges of similar nature.

In response to the situation, a military training agreement with Asunciónmarker (Paraguay), giving immunity to US soldiersmarker, caused some concern after media reports initially reported that a base housing 20,000 US soldiers was being built at Mariscal Estigarribiamarker. Paraguay approved the entry in May 2006 of 400 US soldiers "for joint military exercises, such as programs on fighting urban terrorists, public security and humanitarian assistance," according to the Washington Post. However, in October 2006 Paraguay decided not to renew such immunity from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On 16 June, the governments of the three nations stated they would set up a joint intelligence centre in Foz de Iguazu specifically to monitor the situation.

In popular culture

  • The Triple Frontier (or here referenced as the Tri-Border Area) is featured as the backdrop for the NCIS episode "An Eye for an Eye" , as NCIS Special Agents Anthony DiNozzo and Caitlin Todd must travel down to this area of southern Paraguay in order to investigate a professor involved in a case in which a pair of blue eyeballs were mailed to a murder victim.

  • In the novel by Vince Flynn, Extreme Measures, a terrorist group funded by al-Qaeda trains and plans to execute terrorist attacks on America while living in the Triple Frontier.

  • In the 2006 movie version of Miami Vice, a notorious drug lord is tracked down the Americas by detectives Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs to his hideout in the Tri-Border Area.


  1. Cristiana Brafman Kittner, "The Role of Safe Havens in Islamist Terrorism", The Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence, September 2007.
  2. Jeffrey Goldberg, "In the Party of God", Part 2 of 2, The New Yorker, 28 October 2002.
  3. US Marines put a foot in Paraguay, El Clarín, September 9, 2005 .
  4. Paraguay Hardens U.S. Military Stance, The Washington Post, October 10, 2006
  5. Agency to monitor tri-border area, BBC, August 17, 2005.

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