Colombian embassies around the world were instructed on how to explain
the controversial U.S.-Colombian pact that allows the U.S. to conduct
international counternarcotics operations from Colombian soil.
Confronted with broad criticism about the agreement, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Tuesday started a tour through South America visiting countries like Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil.
The visit is meant to take wind out of the sails of the agreement’s fiercest opponents, Venezuela and Ecuador, before the continent’s Defense organization, UNASUR, meeting in Ecuador on August 10. Colombia announced not to be present in Quito to explain the pact.
On Tuesday, Uribe met Peruvian President Alan Garcia and Evo Morales of Bolivia. The conservative Garcia expressed his support for Uribe, who he says “has done a lot for Colombia and teh continent.” Morales continued opposing the U.S.-Colombian agreement, rejecting U.S. military presence in South America.
While Uribe is flying all over South America, ambassadors all over the world received a document with the details of the plan so they can inform their host countries’ Foreign Ministers. According to newspaper El Espectador, the ambassadors of some countries met with Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez on the issue.
Venezuela accused the U.S. of building up military presence in South America to be able to attack the country, whose government has been very critical of U.S. foreign policy. Other countries in South America expressed their disagreement with the agreement and demanded a Colombian explanation.
The U.S. says it plans to conduct anti-narcotics operations in the Caribbean and Pacific and, according to Colombia, have agreed to not attack any country and to assist neighboring countries while present on the continent.