Colombian President Álvaro Uribe
Colombia, This Week in Latin America, United States

U.S.-Colombian Base Deal Suspended By Constitutional Court

August 19, 2010 By Staff

Former president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — The Colombian Constitutional Court suspended Tuesday the proposed deal that would allow U.S. troops greater access to Colombian military bases and sent the agreement back to newly inaugurated President Juan Manuel Santos.

Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe signed the deal last year and it would permit the U.S. to use the bases to help with operations against drug trafficking and terrorism.

However, the court said that the joint agreement was “an arrangement which requires the State to take on new obligations as well as an extension of previous ones” and that it should be an “international treaty subject to congressional approval,” according to the United Kingdom’s Telegraph newspaper.

“The Constitutional Court of Colombia … resolves to refer to the president the supplementary agreement for cooperation and technical assistance in defense and security between the governments of Colombia and the United States,” the court said, according to Reuters.

The deal, signed last October, would give the U.S. access to Colombian bases for 10 years and could see a total of 800 U.S. military personnel and 600 civilian defense contractors based in the South American nation.

The U.S., which since 2000 has given Colombia over $7 billion in aid, needed a new regional center of operations after Ecuador refused to resign a lease it had with the U.S.

The deal has been heavily criticized throughout the region and has been a point of contention between Colombia and Venezuela, who have recently renewed diplomatic relations.

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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America


  • A Colorado man who founded a school for street children in Haiti acknowledged Wednesday that he sexually abused several, wrapping up a case in which prosecutors said he manipulated the boys with promises of food and shelter and threatened to expel them if they refused.
  • In the space of two weeks, Wyclef Jean has redrawn the map of Haitian politics, emerging as a new force — and perhaps the leading contender — in a presidential election scheduled for November.
  • President Barack Obama’s administration has granted permission for the American Ballet Theatre to perform in Cuba, clearing the way for the company’s first performance in Havana in 50 years.

Central America

  • Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said Tuesday she wants the United States to offer an anti-drug aid program just for Central America.
  • More than 2,000 participants from 18 countries are taking part in Panamax 2010, which kicked off August 16, and is a multinational maritime training exercises aimed at defense of the Panama Canal. The U.S. Southern Command and the Panamanian government cosponsor the event.


Southern Cone

Image: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador @ Flickr.

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