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US granted access to all Colombian airports

US-ColombiaA recent military agreement between Colombia and the US, which sparked outcry in Latin America, allows Washington access to civilian airports as well as military bases.

The full text of the deal published on the Internet on Wednesday, suggested that Bogota and Washington “will establish a mechanism to determine the estimated number of flights that will have use of international airports.”

According to the text of the accord, the US will have access to all international airports across the Andean nation including airports in the cities of Barranquilla, San Andres, Cartagena, Bogota, Cali, Medellin and Bucaramanga.

The deal envisions 800 US troops and 600 US civilian contractors operating in the Colombian territory and they will be granted diplomatic immunity.

The capitulation clause of the deal has greatly infuriated opposition parties and non-governmental organizations.

Washington and Bogota claim that the defense deal is aimed at enhancing a joint war against narcoterrorism, and poses no threat whatsoever to neighboring countries.

“The pact is based on the principles of total respect for sovereign equality, territorial integrity and not intervening in the internal affairs of other states,” read a statement issued by the Colombian foreign ministry.

Regional countries and in particular Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador are fiercely against the deal as they perceive US military presence in the region a threat to their own security.

Following the emergence of the military deal in July, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned that it would unleash “winds of war” in the region.

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