Colombian opposition Senator and presidential candidate Gustavo
Petro told U.S. President Barack Obama in an open letter that the
announcement of increased U.S. operations from Colombia has caused
unnecessary tensions with its neighbors.
“The extention of an agreement on military cooperation of the magnitude and scope of what was announced, immediately creates unnecessary tensions with our neighbors on the continent,” the lawmaker said.
According to Petro, the increase in troops as explained by the Colombian government a week ago “would imply to maintain the minimum of 800 troops and 600 U.S. contractors as authorized by Plan Colombia.”
“No further details are known regarding tracking equipment, intelligence, interdiction and the presence and transport of troops within the agreement, designed according to the announcements to intensify the so-called ‘war on drugs’,” Petro said.
According to the Senator, both Colombia and the U.S. must recognize “the failure of a common policy,” in which both countries spent “large sums of money and human resources … without any success.” An expansion of military cooperation would not change that, he said.
Petro asks Obama to instead work on the cutting of ties between authorities and the mafiaand hopes that “through a dialogue between the two countries and the international community it is possible to construct arrangements to overcome the drug problem.”
After the announcement of increased cooperation and the U.S. use of Colombian air bases, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced he will revise relations with Colombia.