MOSCOW: A new military cooperation agreement between Colombia and the United States is “a shame for the history of our continent,” Spain’s news agency EFE quoted the Venezuelan foreign minister as saying.
The 10-year deal signed last Friday during a brief closed-door ceremony in Bogota envisions the deployment of some 800 U.S. military personnel and 600 civilian contractors at seven military bases in Colombia.
According to EFE, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said on Monday during a news conference that the presence of U.S. troops in Colombia “poses a serious threat to stability in the region.”
“There is no guarantee that the Colombian territory could not be used against other countries in the region,” Maduro said, adding that the deal was signed under a shroud of secrecy.
Both Washington and Bogota insist that the agreement concerns “practical aid” in measures against drug trafficking and domestic insurgents, primarily the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a leftist guerilla movement, but Venezuela continues to see the deal as a threat to its national security.
Ecuador and Bolivia have earlier claimed that the planned U.S. military deployment was “suspiciously large for its stated purpose.”
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has promised to disclose the details of the deal with Washington later this week.