The U.S. State Department on Friday denied Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez’s allegations that the use of bases in Colombia is part of a
strategy to control South America.
At a summit of South American leaders, held earlier on Friday in Argentina, Chavez read parts of a U.S. military White Book and concluded the U.S. was using the war on drugs and the bases in Colombia as an excuse to forward operations that seek to dominate the hemisphere.
A White House spokesman acknowledged the existence of the White Book, but said the bases could be used for humanitarian or emergency situations, and that “it is not a strategic or political plan.”
“It is an evaluation of global transport alternatives for emergencies and humanitarian aid,” the spokesman was quoted by Spanish press agency Efe.
Chavez is a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy and considers the expansion of U.S. military cooperation with Venezuela’s neighbor Colombia a threat to his leftist government. He and his Ecuadorean counterpart Rafael Correa want to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss his alleged plans to dominate the hemisphere.