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hussein 08-07-2009 07:39 PM

Latin fears about US plans to open bases in Colombia
 
Quote:


Latin fears about US plans to open bases in Colombia

Richard Reynolds in Buenos Aires
August 8, 2009 - 12:03AM


THE decision by the United States to reactivate a big military presence in Latin America has caused consternation in the continent, stirring memories of its interventionist history in the region.

The head of Colombia's military, General Freddy Padilla, has confirmed the US will open three new US bases in his country and be granted access to four other military facilities, marking the biggest US military build-up on the continent in 40 years.

Army, air force and navy facilities will all potentially have a US military presence by the end of the year. The US has also reconstituted its navy's Fourth Fleet, covering South America, for the first time in 59 years.

On Monday most South American leaders will gather in Ecuador, and the topic of the bases is expected to dominate discussion.

''Obviously history has a role here,'' said Vladimir Torres, a Venezuelan analyst now living in Canada. ''Nobody has forgotten the role the US played in South America in the past.''

Between 1945 and the 1980s the US supported, either directly or behind the scenes, at least 16 coup d'etats in Latin America, which put in place military dictatorships.

The new military push appears at odds with the charm offensive of the US President, Barack Obama, to improve relations with South and Central American countries.

The leaders of Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay and Venezuela have since condemned the US move to re-establish a military presence on the continent. While some have now backed off their initial harsh rhetoric, discomfort over the US move remains.

''I don't see why we need an American military presence on our continent,'' the Brazilian President, Lula da Silva, said last week.

Both the US and Colombia have been at pains to reassure South American leaders that there is no hidden agenda behind the new bases deal. The US sent the National Security Adviser, James Jones, to Brazil's capital last week to discuss Mr Obama's concerns.

The Colombian President, Alvaro Uribe, the US's only close ally in the region, completed a rapid-fire, seven-nation tour that was to end in Paraguay yesterday to try to persuade South American leaders there was no hidden agenda behind the deal for US bases.

''This is strictly about drug interdiction,'' he said. Colombia is indeed the main supplier of cocaine to the US.

The deal with Colombia comes after Ecuador voted to close the US's only sovereign base in the country by the end of the year.

''We still have concerns, but our discussions were constructive,'' said the Argentine President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, after meeting Mr Uribe on Thursday. Bolivia's President, Evo Morales, reportedly told Mr Uribe that he felt threatened by a US military presence. ''We do not accept US troops in Bolivia, and we do not accept them in Latin America.''

The Colombian bases decision also follows the US decision last year to reconstitute its navy's Fourth Fleet, which covers South America. The fleet had been disbanded in 1950, and the decision appears entirely symbolic, as no ships were assigned to the new fleet.

''It was all about some sort of message being sent to Latin America,'' said William Reynolds, a retired Royal Navy vice-admiral. ''Creating a fleet of ships without any ships can only be about sending a message.''

Juan Batista, an Argentine political scientist who has published three books on the US role in Latin America, said US moves to reconstitute an obsolete fleet under president George Bush or the new bases under Mr Obama made no sense.

Given the strained relations between the US and Venezuela, these messages are probably intended for President Hugo Chavez, a US foe. Yet they are also being read in other South American capitals.

''Even those who are positive toward the current US Administration are sceptical about US moves when it comes to our part of the world,'' Mr Batista said. ''We all remember the School of the Americas.''

The infamous school trained many top Latin American military officers who were later involved in coups.

IN AMERICA'S BACKYARD

1954 CIA-backed coup in Guatemala

1961 Failed invasion of Cuba at Bay of Pigs

1962-present US trade embargo on Cuba

1965 US troops land in Dominican Republic

1973 CIA-backed coup in Chile

1980 US supports right-wing junta in El Salvador

1981-90 US-backed Contra rebellion in Nicaragua

1983 US invasion of Granada

1984 CIA mines three Nicaraguan harbours

1989 US troops invade Panama, arrest General Manuel Noriega

1994 US Navy blockades Haiti

2002 US accused of backing a failed coup against Venezuela's Hugo Chavez

This story was found at: Latin fears about US plans to open bases in Colombia
The United States re-establishing its geopolitical influence in the region? The backlash is unsurprising, since the region is not particularly noted for its pro-American sentiment.

MrLiberty 08-07-2009 10:35 PM

Re: Latin fears about US plans to open bases in Colombia
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hussein (Post 79476)
The United States re-establishing its geopolitical influence in the region? The backlash is unsurprising, since the region is not particularly noted for its pro-American sentiment.

but latin america had no problem with russia coming in and establishing bases with Chavez did they? How many other communist countries are helping latin america? I see this as a reasonable response, although I'm surprised it is being done under obama.

hussein 08-07-2009 11:29 PM

Re: Latin fears about US plans to open bases in Colombia
 
True enough. I would much rather an American superpower establishing itself in the region, for all its faults, than a Russian superpower, with Putin at the helm, extending its tentacles.

saltwn 08-08-2009 12:48 AM

Re: Latin fears about US plans to open bases in Colombia
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hussein (Post 79476)
The United States re-establishing its geopolitical influence in the region? The backlash is unsurprising, since the region is not particularly noted for its pro-American sentiment.

WHen the money starts rolling in from US soldiers stationed in the region, the big talk may quiet down a bit.

Hiedi 08-08-2009 07:54 AM

Re: Latin fears about US plans to open bases in Colombia
 
Quote:

Both the US and Colombia have been at pains to reassure South American leaders that there is no hidden agenda behind the new bases deal. The US sent the National Security Adviser, James Jones, to Brazil's capital last week to discuss Mr Obama's concerns.
Of course there is a hidden agenda. Otherwise, the US wouldn't be wanting to establish bases there. Maybe Obama sees this as just another opportunity to micromanage something else. :unsure

saltwn 08-08-2009 04:41 PM

Re: Latin fears about US plans to open bases in Colombia
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hiedi (Post 79579)
Of course there is a hidden agenda. Otherwise, the US wouldn't be wanting to establish bases there. Maybe Obama sees this as just another opportunity to micromanage something else. :unsure

There's an agenda alright. It's to manage our boarders better, cap the drug trade id possible, and make the economy better where we have military spending money with the locals. We used to have a presence in those regions, and we will again.

Hiedi 08-08-2009 11:28 PM

Re: Latin fears about US plans to open bases in Colombia
 
Let's face it; the world is a screwed up place. If one looks hard enough, there are justifiable reasons to place bases in just about any location around the world. However, the Obama administration has not even ended the war in Iraq yet; and of course, there is the troop buildup in Afghanistan, which is a complete waste of time in my opinion. I believe our military is already stretched too thin as it is with two wars. But it really does not matter what I think anyway because I do not have any control over what our president or politicians do in Washington.
:slapme

saltwn 08-09-2009 12:42 AM

Re: Latin fears about US plans to open bases in Colombia
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hiedi (Post 79668)
Let's face it; the world is a screwed up place. If one looks hard enough, there are justifiable reasons to place bases in just about any location around the world. However, the Obama administration has not even ended the war in Iraq yet; and of course, there is the troop buildup in Afghanistan, which is a complete waste of time in my opinion. I believe our military is already stretched too thin as it is with two wars. But it really does not matter what I think anyway because I do not have any control over what our president or politicians do in Washington.
:slapme

The world is screwed up for sure, but we must not wallow in self pity. Our immediate neighbors are important. I for one am glad we are down there again to head off the communists and try to slow the awful drug trade.
Afghanistan is important because of its location and the fact Osama made a stand there before. Pakistan is also important. And Iraq is the heart and the key according to scholars in the know. And I will take their word for it.
It is a complicated issue, but one, unfortunately, we must address.

Hiedi 08-09-2009 09:26 AM

Re: Latin fears about US plans to open bases in Colombia
 
I am not wallowing in self-pity; I am just being realistic. It is a waste of time, resources, money, and American lives to think the US can not rid the world of all evil. In fact, the US military can not even accomplish the missions it is currently undertaking at this present time.

Is the Colombian government funding this because this should certainly not be something the US taxpayers have to pay for. If anywhere, we need a troop buildup on the border states. How about those troops protecting American citizens in their own country by placing bases at border states and helping the US economy, instead of the Colombian economy.

Hiedi 08-09-2009 04:31 PM

Re: Latin fears about US plans to open bases in Colombia
 
This article gives conflicting information. :unsure

Obama denies US creating military bases in Colombia


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