Senator Jorge Robledo, Bogotá, July 11, 2009
As we now know, the government is secretly planning --without consulting the Foreign Relations Advisory Commission, Congress or particularly public opinion-- to grant concessions to the United States to use five Colombian military bases, one of the worst decisions in the country's history. Two of the bases are on the Caribbean coast (Cartagena and Barranquilla), one on the Pacific Coast (in Bahía Málaga, close to Buenaventura), another one in the middle of the country (in Palanquero, close to La Dorada) and the fifth in Apiay, on the Eastern Plains. This decision would turn Colombia into an occupied country, threaten neighboring countries and violate national sovereignty and the Constitution.
The government has presented this piece of nonsense as a relatively minor matter because, they say, the military base that Washington currently operates in Manta, Ecuador --which will be closed as ordered by the new Ecuadorian Constitution-- will not be relocated to Colombia, but rather its functions will be transferred to five installations controlled by North American troops within Colombian military bases, parts of which they will use.
It should be pointed out that among the new strategies for global domination by the biggest empire in history is the use of military bases called "lily pads", which can be relatively small because they are designed to be expanded or for troops to jump from one to the other. According to Chalmers Johnson, emeritus professor from the University of California, "Most of these new bases will be what the military, in a switch of metaphors, calls 'lily pads' to which our troops could jump like so many well-armed frogs" (http://www.deslinde.org.co/files/Es...). And in Colombia they would do it with the advantage that, in the first jump, U.S. troops could take over the Colombian military base where they are stationed.
According to Cambio, the Colombian weekly news magazine that originally broke this story (http://www.cambio.com.co/paiscambio...), the five bases will escalate the American military presence in Colombia, not just because of their number and locations. They will be used to wage the drug war and also to fight "terrorism", a term that, as is well known, Washington defines as it sees fit. And the American troops will be able to operate in other countries from these bases, and without consulting anybody. Can any reasonable person rest assured that the Pentagon will never take action from these bases, breaking agreements and going against Colombia, if imperial interests so dictate?
With calculated and false innocence, the government of Alvaro Uribe --which maintains its support for the U.S. invasion of Iraq-- presents the five military bases as American "aid" to Colombia, when in fact these will be added to the other 700 that the United States already possesses in the world, bases on which half a million men and women operate. It would be naive to ignore the fact that they exist to defend the interests of domination that underlie the decisions emanating from the White House, including those made by Barack Obama. This, as well, should be understood in the logic of the dark strategy of "perpetual war" defined by the Pentagon, the most recent American military theory for control of the world, a policy within which, and as Brazil has denounced, the United States sent the Fourth Fleet to operate in Latin American and Caribbean waters (http://www.elespectador.com/impreso... and http://www.clarin.com/diario/2008/0...).
The main reason for the official secrecy is the total unsuitability of a decision made under the influence of a foreign power, that can only bring problems to the country due to the serious violation of sovereignty and self-determination in the political, economic and social spheres and because it subjugates the nation in the worst way to the horrors of war and the interests of the superpower, pits it against neighboring countries and discredits it more in the eyes of the world's democrats. And the secrecy also has to do with the fact that these five military bases --even if they're given another name, as has been planned to confuse people-- are unconstitutional for two different reasons. The first, because the Constitution stipulates that Colombia's international relations are to be based on sovereignty and the right to self determination. And the second, because there is no law that allows bases of this type in Colombia, given that the Charter, in articles 173 and 237, only authorizes "the transit --that is, the temporary passage-- of foreign troops through the territory of the Republic", without previous Senate approval and agreement by the State Council, a step the government decided to skip.