Colombia’s leftist opposition party claims that a recent military agreement with the European Union allowing Colombian forces to take part in EU missions is “unconstitutional.”
A letter sent to the president Juan Manuel Santos claims that the recent agreement subverts Colombia’s sovereign control over it’s own military forces.
“The Constitution assigns to the Public Forces the functions of protecting the sovereignty and independence of the country and the civil liberties of the citizens, and nowhere authorizes that Colombian soldiers or police be placed in the service of militaries of other countries,” the letter said.
The letter comes as a response to an invitation from the EU earlier this year for Colombia to participate in “crisis management” operations.
The initial invitation highlighted Colombia’s experience with counterinsurgency operations and proponents of the agreement see it as a reiteration of positive EU – Colombia relations.
However, the opposition voices, senator Jorge Enrique Robledo and congressman Alirio Uribe, emphasized that Santos should have allowed congress to vote on the agreement. The leftist lawmakers have asked for the president to bring it before the congress and constitutional court for review.
Robledo and Uribe also complained that agreeing to lend soldiers and police to foreign missions is simply “inconvenient” in light of Colombia’s own continuing conflict.
Colombia has previously provided support for peacekeeping operations in Haiti and Sierra Leone and is the second Latin American country, after Chile, to sign an agreement of military involvement with the EU.
The agreement could see Colombian forces utilized for more missions such as the the recently announced EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform (EUAM) to Ukraine.
The agreement could also help further secure the future of Colombia’s military that may see the end of 50 years of internal conflict if ongoing peace talks with leftist rebel groups like the FARC and ELN prove successful.