Former Cuban President Fidel Castro labelled Colombia “a country converted into a base” and criticized U.S. military presence in Latin America.
“They don’t have them in Venezuela. Colombia is a country converted into a base. In Honduras, they have them. In Costa Rica, they do have 40 boats with aircraft carriers and helicopters pads ‘nobly’ helping in the fight against drugs. It is total cynicism,” Castro said, during a meeting with Russian author Daniel Estulin in Havana on Thursday.
Castro criticized the U.S. military presence in places such as the Falklands Islands and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, adding that in other locations “they don’t appear, but in reality they are there” and “they undertake training and exercises.”
The U.S. military presence in Colombia is a controversial issue. In 2009 Colombia signed a pact granting U.S. armed forces access to seven military bases in the Andean nation.
In mid-August 2010 Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruled that the pact was unconstitutional until ratified by Congress.
The Colombian government claims the military agreement is not a new treaty, but falls under agreements that have previously been approved by the country’s Congress and thus does not have to be ratified.
According to House of Representatives President Edgar Gomez the pact “is not an international treaty but a simplified agreement that develops obligations in multilateral treaties signed by Colombia and the United States, [treaties] which were revised by Congress and the Constitutional Court at the time of signing.”
If the agreement is passed, the U.S. will be allowed to use seven Colombian military bases for “counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics” operations. The pact caused controversy among neighboring countries, who consider an increase in U.S. military activity in South America a threat to their sovereignty.