U.S. Expands Military Presence in Colombia

November 22, 2009

On October 30, U.S. and Colombian officials signed a military pact that allows the U.S. to expand its military presence in Colombia.

The agreement not only allows the U.S. military to occupy and utilize 7 Colombian military bases, but also any "other facilities and locations as may be agreed." The pact places no limits on the number of U.S. military personnel that can be deployed to Colombia, and U.S. troops and private military contractors charged with criminal activity in Colombia are granted immunity from prosecution under Colombian law. The agreement integrates the Colombian armed forces more fully under the Pentagon's command structure and calls for "deepened cooperation" in such areas as "interoperability, joint procedures, logistics and equipment, training and instruction, intelligence exchanges, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities."

In recent years, the U.S. government has been steadily increasing its military operations in Colombia. Over the last 9 years, the U.S. government has sent at least $5.3 billion in military aid to the Colombian government; at least 400 U.S. military advisers, as well as several thousand U.S. mercenaries – including "former" CIA and army operatives – are fighting alongside the Colombian military. The 2010 Congressional aid package increases military aid that is free of even the pretense of fighting a "war on drugs" by 30 percent and gives U.S. troops the greenlight to directly engage the insurgent forces in Colombia.

While the U.S. is dramatically escalating its counterinsurgency war in Colombia, it aims not only at maintaining U.S. economic and political domination there, but also at militarizing the entire region. As the peoples in Venezuela, Honduras, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Nicaragua and throughout Latin America increasingly come out against U.S. imperialist exploitation and domination, the U.S. is preparing to wage more counter-revolutionary wars.