WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
25 Nov 2009 | News

US-Colombian Military Base Agreement: More Questions than Answers

Today the Colombian Congress will be discussing the issue of the Palanquero military base agreement between the United States and Colombia, which has caused much controversy, polarization and concern in the region. The Washington Office on Latin America has submitted a Posture Statement for consideration during the Political Control Debate at the Colombian Congress. Members of both the Executive and Legislative branches will attend the debate.

As explained in the Posture Statement, WOLA considers the agreement vague and feels it leaves many questions unanswered. For example:

1. The agreement doesn't detail with precision the military missions that will be conducted by the U.S. Armed Forces from the Colombian military bases.

2. It's not clear how the agreement will contribute to stability and security in the region.

"This appears to be an agreement without borders, potentially allowing the U.S. military to conduct virtually any mission against virtually any perceived threat," said George Withers, Senior Fellow at WOLA. "The U.S. has said that it is not their 'intention' to go beyond Colombia's borders, but 'intentions' can change over a 10 year agreement, and other countries in Latin America know that, especially when considering the history of U.S. military intervention in the region."

"The agreement represents a bilateral military approach, which has the potential to increase tensions in a region that is sorely in need of multilateral U.S. diplomatic initiatives aimed at decreasing tensions," said Withers.

For more information contact:

George Withers, Senior Fellow, WOLA
Tel: +202.797.2171; [email protected]; cell: + 301.908.4765

George Withers, WOLA's Senior Fellow, served for over a decade on the staff of the House Armed Services Committee.