The Collective
Thursday, August 27, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

WaPo has an interesting piece of the basing deal today: U.S.-Colombia Strategic Accord Prompts Questions at Home, Across Region.

A few items from the piece struck me as worth noting.

First, there is a useful map of the location of the bases in question:

Second, issues concerning the lack of details on the agreement continue to cause political concern in both countries:

Colombian lawmakers who serve on a congressional commission that deals with security and defense said that they first learned about the agreement through news media reports in July and that they then received only a smattering of details in closed-door briefings with Colombian military officials. An Interior Ministry document justifying the plan speaks of a “changing nature of transnational threats” and the need for “joint exercises” with the Americans.

“Those are terms that are very ambiguous and broad,” Sen. Juan Manuel Galán said. “Without seeing the text, it’s hard to understand exactly what was agreed upon.”

Sen. Cecilia López said the plan should have been debated in Congress. “Why is there so much secrecy?” she asked.

In Washington, Sens. Christopher J. Dodd and Patrick J. Leahy, senior Democrats who help shape policy on Latin America, asked Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a letter why they had not been consulted about the plan and wondered why the Obama administration was deepening its ties with a military they accuse of human rights abuses.

Third, the following statement from Ambassador Brownfield about the potential of a deepening US involvement in the guerrilla war:

“If you ask me if the missions will take advantage of this accord in the future to incorporate the FARC in the target zones, the response is yes, no doubt at all,” Ambassador William R. Brownfield said last week in an interview with El Tiempo, the national newspaper.

While there has been a clear evolution of US involvement in the guerrilla war since 2002, this statement seems to indicate a further shift. While I thoroughly understand that there is a substantial interweaving of the FARC’s action with narcotrafficking, I can’t help but wonder about the wisdom of a more overt entanglement of the US mission in Colombia with the war against the FARC specifically.

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Filed under: Colombia, Latin America | |
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One Response to “More on the US-Colombia Base Deal”

  1. MSS Says:

    Reporters and editors for the Washington Post ought to know that, in English, congresses have committees, not commissions.

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