Colombia’s Constitutional Court invalidated a law that approved the exchange of classified intelligence between the Colombian government and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Wednesday.
Sources told Spanish news agency EFE that there were “procedural irregularities” in how voting was performed in the Senate. There were also apparently a number of “legal mistakes” and “vague terms.”
The law was further criticized for being overly liberal with the exchange of Colombian citizens’ personal and private information without them knowing, which the Inspector General claimed was unconstitutional. According to Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, this was a violation of Colombians’ constitutional rights.
The law was primarily intended to be used for the exchange of military intelligence. Had it been upheld, the hope was that it would serve as a “precursor to any possible future cooperation with Colombia, which member states [would have developed] through the organization,” anonymous NATO sources told EFE in Brussels.
Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon told EFE that the agreement would have allowed “Colombia’s experiences in the fight against drug trafficking and international terrorism, and other developed capacities to be known by other countries who need it.”
The notion of an alliance between Colombia and NATO has sparked harsh criticisms from neighboring countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia, whose governments interpret this approach as the first step towards Colombia becoming a NATO member, which could threaten stability in the region.
Bureaucracy has been an ongoing challenge in the various attempts by the Colombian government to collaborate with the NATO however. Colombia cannot become an official partner because it does not meet the geographical criteria. As a result, it is limited to only carrying out “specific collaborative activities”, which has been a crippling factor over the years.