Why is the United States expanding its military bases in Colombia?
What does this mean for U.S.-Colombia relations?
What does this mean for the region?
These are the questions on the lips of many Latin American leaders and activists as they react to the deal under works between Colombia and United States that would grant the U.S. military access to at least five additional Colombian military bases. This deal with Colombia comes quickly after Ecuador decided to end its agreement with the U.S. that allowed the U.S. military access to the Manta airbase on Ecuador’s Pacific coast.
During a news conference on July 15th, Colombian Minister of Defense General Freddy Padilla de León explained that the purpose of the deal is “to strengthen an already existent cooperation in the war against drugs and terrorism, intensifying the fight in specific areas.” This sparked a heated reaction from the global community, especially from neighboring countries like Venezuela, Ecuador, and Brazil. The plan is generating concern that it will exacerbate regional tensions and reinforce the United States’ predominantly military interaction with Latin America. It may also make it less likely that the U.S. government will raise human rights concerns with the Colombian government in the future.
Here are some reports and responses thus far from Colombian and U.S. media:
- Criticism grows over Colombia's U.S. military plan
- Chavez objects to Colombia's base deal with US
- Chavez 'freezes' diplomatic ties with Colombia
- Petro le dijo a Obama que ayuda militar a Colombia crea "tensiones innecesarias" en la región
- Chávez dice que revisará relación con Colombia
New York Times:
- U.S. Close to Deal With Colombia on Base Access
- Increased U.S. Military Presence in Colombia Could Pose Problems With Neighbors
- La oposición citará a ministros al Congreso por acuerdo con EE.UU
- Colombia y Venezuela suspenden reunión de Comisión de Alto Nivel
Center for International Policy Blog:
Fellowship of Reconciliation Colombia Program Resource Page: