The Colombian Government has signed permission for the United States to operate seven military bases for US troops within Colombian territory. The final text of the agreement has been kept secret, but it presumably authorizes all kinds of operations in the interior and exterior of the country.
Along with the deployment of the US IV fleet, this increases the United States’ military presence in a strategic region enabling any launched operations full access to the continent. By signing the agreement, Colombia guaranteed immunity to US military personnel and contractors, effectively guaranteeing them impunity and placing them at the margin of national and international judicial controls.
Meanwhile, the use of the bases signifies an intervention in Colombian internal affairs and a threat to the democratic processes of the whole region. For example, the Soto Cano military base in Honduras has been a space for US support of coups in the same country. The Tocumen international airport in Panama is used by the American reconnaissance planes E-3 AWACS, which keep permanent watch over Central American airspace. The campaign of the current Panamanian president, Ricardo Martinelli, was financed in Washington; in correspondence, he was barely in power when he put the Tocumen agreement into effect, without prior negotiation or referendum. While there is a noticeable growing presence of US warships at the old Radman base, situated by the Panama Canal exit to the Pacific Ocean, the United States has plans to deploy aircrafts E-3 AWACS, Orion P-3 and cargo transport C-17 in the Palanquero base, Colombia.
The intent to intervene in the processes of Latin American integration is clear. This is done by means of an incentive to those who want to destabilize the democratic advances and provoke conflicts in a region that has resumed its fight for autonomy and the search for its own roads to development. To that effect, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, on signing the agreement with the Colombian Government, claimed that its objective is “regional security”.
The presence of the American bases in Colombia has been justified by the pretexts of the fight against terror and narcotrafficking, but in reality it represents a piece of the United States’ global military device and supports a military and unilateral approach to these problems, impeding them being dealt with regionally, socially, politically and with autonomy and multilateralism. Unilateral militarization involves regional destabilization, and its presence in Colombia and bordering zones is a contributing factor to the aggravation of the humanitarian, environmental and social crises that cover vast regions.
One possible consequence is that the countries that feel directly threatened by this US policy, in turn seek out resources of their own to reinforce their security, and so begins another regional arms race, provoked by the United States.
Additionally, Washington’s growing military presence in Latin America follows the model of globalization of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the only transnational military alliance, which hopes to displace the United Nations (UN) as the principal global forum and the most important supranational organization.
The United States Southern Command, responsible for the planning, coordination and management of US military activities in Latin America and the Caribbean, has installed military bases with airports in Aruba-Curaçao, the Netherlands Antilles, Manta, Ecuador and Comalapa, El Salvador; it is trying to install others in Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.
As good-willed men and women from all over the world, committed to peace and complete disarmament, we demand that the construction or concession of new bases and the extension of existing ones be permanently suspended. We ask every government, from Latin America, the Caribbean, the world, to express its wholehearted rejection of the United States Government’s plot to dominate the planet and all humanity; and that a serious agreement is made with immediate effect to carry out a global disarmament plan, one that is simultaneously and proportionately applicable to all nations, especially the super powers.
We want the elimination of all nuclear arsenals to be the first step towards the total disarmament of our planet. It is time to listen to the voices of millions of men and women from all over the world who demand an end to the buildup of arms, starting with nuclear weapons and wars. Let nonviolence be the identity card of human beings, and let there be peace.
*(Translation provided by Rupert James Spedding)*