Colombia

As a starting point, I use the recently approved USA – Colombia military pact. This agreement has more to do with international power arrangements and the place of the U.S. in that configuration than it does with Colombia, which seems to serve as a country from where U.S. power can be projected.

As a starting point it must be temporary as it slights the Colombian people, drug wars, drug cartels, Plan Colombia, and the entirety of Colombian domestic affairs and living conditions.

With all that in mind, the ‘Colombia-US base accord is explored here.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the U.S. and Colombia has signed “…signed a controversial military cooperation pact with the United States Friday that will expand US access to Colombian military bases to conduct operations aimed at combating drug trafficking and leftist rebels.”
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The article says that the pact causes concern regarding an increased U.S. presence in South America.

The pact is intended to replace surveillance capacities previously anchored at military base in Manta, Ecuador. Ecuador refused to renew Washington’s lease thus reducing American capacity to track drug vessels in the Pacific.

The Monitor cites George Withers, of the Washington Office on Latin America, The Monitor quotes Withers, “He said that, according to information that has been leaked, the agreement seems to give the US military authority to conduct operations beyond Colombia, though he has been assured by the State Department and Department of Defense that that is not the intent of the accord.”

The Miami Herald has a good article on the pact with more details regarding the reaction of South American countries to the pact, Columbia’s desire to maintain secrecy around the talks. and the dynamics involved in the winding down of Plan Columbia and the Chavez effect.

In an article for the Center for International Policy, John Lindsay-Poland wrote “The new facility in Palanquero, Colombia would not be limited to counter-narcotics operations, nor even to operations in the Andean region, according to an Air Mobility Command (AMC) planning document. The U.S. Southern Command (SouthCom) aims to establish a base with “air mobility reach on the South American continent” in addition to a capacity for counter-narcotics operations, through the year 2025.

With help from the Transportation Command and AMC, the SouthCom noted that “nearly half of the continent can be covered by a C-17 without refueling” from Palanquero. If fuel is available at its destination, “a C-17 could cover the entire continent, with the exception of the Cape Horn region,” the AMC planners wrote.”