The Triple Frontier is a tri-border area along the junction of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, where the Iguazú and Paraná rivers converge. Near the convergence are the cities of Ciudad del Este, Alto Paraná, Puerto Iguazú, Misiones and Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná. This area is near Iguazú Falls and the Itaipu hydroelectric plant.
The population of the Triple Border is concentrated in three border cities. Of these, the largest east of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, which in 2010 had a population of 390,000, while the smallest with a population of 82,000 is Puerto Iguazu, Argentina. The tourist-centric Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu has a population of 300,000. The Arab and other immigrant Asian communities, which are an important part of the urban population in the Tri-Border region, are estimated at about 50,000.
The triple border is a major tourist area, within the sub-region tourist area of Las Grandes Aguas. Visitors can see the Tancredo Neves bridge, which connects the Argentine city of Puerto Iguazú and its neighbor Brazil, Foz do Iguaçu. At the convergence of boundaries, each of the three neighboring countries has erected an obelisk, painted in the colors of the country in which it resides. All three countries can be seen from each of the obelisks.
The particular geography of the border region, it is very difficult to control, facilitating and promoting organized crime and illegal activities related to it.
In 2002 and again in 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a note that there are “clear examples” of Islamist groups in the region as “terrorist financing activities.” Groups like the Egyptian al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda are believed to benefit from their financing activities in the triple border. The Paraguayan side of the Triple Frontier could serve as a haven for terrorist operations that this nation has no anti-terrorism laws. Thus, contribute financially 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 Asunción (Paraguay), which gives immunity to U.S. soldiers, caused some concern after media reports initially reported that 20,000 U.S. troops a base was built at Mariscal Estigarribia. Paraguay approved the entry in May 2006 of 400 American soldiers “for joint military exercises, such as programs on the fight against urban terrorists, public security and humanitarian assistance,” according to The Washington Post . However, in October 2006 Paraguay decided not to renew the immunity against prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
On June 16, the three governments said they would set up a joint intelligence center in Foz do Iguaçu specifically to monitor the situation.
The Guarani Aquifer is arguably the largest reservoir of fresh drinking water in the world – right under Triple Border soil (Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay). The majority (71%) of its 1.2 million square kilometers is located in Brazil.
The triple border is presented as the backdrop of the NCIS episode “An Eye for an Eye”, as Anthony DiNozzo NCIS special agents and Caitlin Todd must travel down for this region of southern Paraguay in order to investigate a professor involved in a case in which a pair of blue eyeballs were sent to assassinate a victim.
The triple border is also presented in the location for the episode Unit “the killing zone”, where unitary operators must save a member of their counterpart team, (Team Charlie) during a hostage situation.
In the new Vince Flynn Extreme Measures, a terrorist group funded by al-Qaeda trains and planes to carry out terrorist attacks on America while living in the triple border.
In the 2006 film version of Miami Vice, a notorious drug lord of the Americas is hunted by detectives Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs his lair in the Tri-Border region.
Featured in the episode Human Target “The return of the Baptist,” as the place where a kidnapped journalist is held by a crime lord. Accents and geography in the episode shown are inaccurate for this region.