Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Colombia Court Blocks U.S. Military Accord Behind Regional Fight

Posted in News and Articles by politicalrisklatam on August 18, 2010

by Joshua Goodman and Helen Murphy for Bloomberg, August 18th, 2010.

Colombia’s Constitutional Court blocked an accord that grants U.S. armed forces access to several military bases in the country because it wasn’t approved by the legislature.

The court, in a 6-3 decision last night, said the agreement is not covered by any international treaty, as former President Alvaro Uribe had argued. The year-old agreement to allow U.S. personnel and equipment inside seven bases prompted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to freeze trade with Colombia and order troops to their shared border.

The Colombian government will respect the court’s ruling, Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera said in a written statement. The statement didn’t say whether the government would seek to ratify the accord in congress, though it “reiterated the fundamental importance” of several decades of U.S. support in the country’s fight against terrorism and drug trafficking.

In addition to Chavez, more moderate regional leaders have also assailed the military pact. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said it was a throwback to the Cold War. A group of South American nations that held a summit in Argentina sought assurances from President Barack Obama that U.S. troops wouldn’t be used beyond Colombia’s borders. (continue reading… )

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