Polo Democratico presidential candidate Gustavo Petro says he wants to undo the “illegal” military deal with the United States and improve relations with neighboring countries first.
The leftist politician wrote a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama wherein Petro explains he considers the deal, allowing the U.S. to freely use Colombian military bases and civilian airports, illegal.
“If elected as President of the Colombians in 2010, I will not accept the mentioned agreement and will denounce it before international tribunals for being illegal,” the leftist politician was quoted by news website Terra.
Petro opposes the fact that the deal was ratified by the Colombian government, without then being sent to Congress for approval. Without parliamentary approval the deal “has no judicial value.”
According to the presidential candidate, because Congress was ignored in the matter, “the agreement is not binding for the Colombian nation and we are not obliged to comply.”
Petro asked Obama to “unilaterally suspend the process of implementationof the military bases and the moving of U.S. personnel to Colombian territory.”
U.S. Congress is still to vote on the military agreement that allows the U.S. to station 800 soldiers and 600 military contractors in Colombia. Military personnel will enjoy diplomatic immunity.
The deal has caused great friction with neighboring countries Venezuela and Ecuador, who consider an increase in U.S. military presence in Colombia a threat to their sovereignty. Other countries on the continent also voiced their objection to the pact.