Colombia and the United States on Friday signed a military pact that allows the U.S. to use seven military bases in the Andean country. The treaty will now be sent to U.S. Congress for ratification. Colombia’s Congress will not have the possibility to ammend the pact.
The pact is controversial as neighboring countries like Venezuela and Ecuador consider an increase of U.S. military influence in the reion a threat to their countries’ sovereignty.
Inside Colombia, the treaty is also subject to debate as the national government refuses to send the pact to Congress for approval, claiming it falls under existing treaties with the Americans and thus does not need ratification.
Colombia’s State Council, who did receive a copy of the pact, recommended the country’s Government to renegotiate parts of a military pact with the United States and to allow Congress to review the agreement, newspaper El Espectador reported Friday.
The newspaper received a copy of the 40-page document containing the recommendations that had not been disclosed by either the State Council or Government.
The administrative court claims that the pact serves the interests of the U.S. more than it serves those of Colombia.
After having studied the pact, the administrative court concludes that according to the agreement “the United States determines the activities. Colombia is no more than an accessory.” According to the State Council, the pact “talks about the use and access of the military bases, without determining the form and limits to this.”
Moreover, in the agreement it is stated the intention to subscribe to international covenants of implementation but the State Council claims that it would be more appropriate to clearly specify these covenants and their limitations. In the same way, the State Council calls for a explicit delineation of “procedures for entry, overflight and landing of aircrafts.”
The immunity granted to U.S. military personnel in Colombia is something the Colombian government should renegotiate with its American partner, the State council recommends. The State Council states that this clause contributes to the disadvantageous nature of the agreement, where Colombia is required only required to cooperate.
The Council urges the government to get Congress approval before sending the agreement to the Constitutional Court as a means to fulfill the democratic control and insists its recommendations on this case are binding. The National Government, however, considers the administrative court’s recommendations optional.