Colombia asked the United States to install aerial defense systems to protect the country from “external threats, particularly Venezuela.”
In a cable sent by then-Ambassador to Bogota William Brownfield on November 12, 2008, the ambassador wrote that the Uribe administration asked for these “comprehensive aerial defense systems” to provide security for American soldiers and material on Colombian military bases, but that the defense systems would be given to Colombia “free of charge.”
The ambassador included the official Colombian proposal in the cable.
The Government of the United States agrees to install and make operational
comprehensive aerial defense systems for use and operation by Colombian
authorities, within a period of no more than two years from the date of
signature of this Agreement, so as to provide the necessary security to
the agreed facilities and others of strategic value for purposes of
ensuring national security, and to transfer these systems to the
Government of Colombia free of charge upon termination of this Agreement.
The ambassador wrote the State Department to not agree with this.
The GOC draft of the third paragraph of Article IV provides that within two
years of signing the agreement, the U.S. shall install and make operational
comprehensive aerial defense systems" in order to provide necessary security
on the "agreed facilities and others of strategic value for purposes," which
systems shall transfer "free of charge" to the GOC at the conclusion of the
agreement. This provision is clearly aimed at external threats, particularly
Venezuela. COMMENT: Post believes the GOC does not appreciate the cost and
scope entailed in building an integrated air defense system, which could
cost billions of dollars and take years to develop. Post recognizes that the
proposed GOC language is unacceptable, and suggests that we try to remove
the provision from the agreement and deal with it in the context of other
A cable released earlier showed that Uribe considered closer military ties to the U.S. a deterrent for possible Venezuelan attacks.
The U.S. and Colombia signed the agreement without agreeing to the aerial defense system a year later. The pact was ruled unconstitutional by the Colombian constitutional court because the government had refused to ask congress to ratify the pact.