Amongst growing Latin American concerns about a new military deal between Bogota and Washington, the Venezuelan president claims that the US wants to use Colombia as a power base, from which to dominate South America.
Hugo Chavez presented a document from the US Air Mobility Command during his weekly television program on Sunday which according to him showed Washington’s future plans for the region.
“The US requires freedom to act in strategic global areas,” Chavez read from the document.
The United States is bent on “taking the Orinoco (River delta) resources area” and muscling into Brazil’s Amazon basin, According to the paper.
He said he would bring the document to an upcoming meeting of Latin American leaders in Argentina, which has been called to discuss the US military presence in Colombia.
“They cannot keep this a secret; the details are coming out. Gringo military staff have been authorized to operate anywhere in Colombia,” said Chavez, who added that they are “turning all of Colombia into a (US) base.”
The Colombian government reached a preliminary agreement with Washington that would give the US military access to seven Colombian bases for 10 years.
US officials say American troops will continue to be involved in helping Colombia in counter-drug operations and in supporting its fight against leftist rebels.
However, a number of South American countries maintain that the US uses the regional war on drugs as a pretext to boost its regional military presence.
“Colombia is lending its territory for them to come in and install their radars, their drone planes, their equipment, so they can dominate South America and act freely across the continent,” Chavez charged.