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Latino Daily News

Wednesday August 18, 2010

Agreement over U.S. Access to Colombian Bases Declared Unconstitutional

A deal crafted last year giving U.S. military personnel more access to Colombian military bases was deemed unconstitutional by the country’s Supreme Court.  Last year the government of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe struck a deal with Washington to allow U.S. personnel onto military bases where the U.S. did not have a presence.  This accord involved seven military bases and garnered a lot of criticism from other Latin American country’s including Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela fearful of the U.S. imposing on their sovereignty.  The accord was not approved by Congress the reason it was struck down by the court.

The deal was crafted by the current President Juan Manuel Santos when he was the country’s defense minister in order to “improve our ability to combat drug-trafficking and terrorism”.  The accord’s original intent was to secure more U.S. know-how to combat leftist guerrillas in the country and improve anti-drug trafficking campaigns.  It did not call for additional U.S. military personnel to come into the country but rather to have the 1,400 already present have access to other military bases. 

The Colombian government can go before Congress and seek approval so that the accord can go into effect.  However, it remains a controversial ask in the eyes of many Colombian legislators who prefer to have the country manage their own problems without U.S. influence.