The U.S. is still interested in pursuing a military agreement with Colombia, despite the recent legal block to the deal in Colombia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs Frank Mora told El Tiempo.
In 2009 the two countries signed a pact to govern U.S. military presence on seven bases in the South American country, but in August the agreement was ruled to be unconstitutional by the Colombian Constitutional Court. Mora said the U.S. understands the ruling was a “legal, political” decision, but that the U.S. still wants the agreement, as it “institutionalizes the relationship in terms of defense.”
Mora recently returned to the U.S. from Colombia after meeting officials from the new Santos government to discuss “issues of common interest.”
With regards to Venezuela building up its military, Mora said the increase is “concerning” as there is a lack of transparency. Venezuela’s claim that the build up is in response to a U.S. threat is unfounded because the U.S. has not given “the slightest indication” that it would attack Venezuela, according to Mora.
In response to a question about unrest in Ecuador, Mora did not call it a “coup,” but said it was clearly “a threat to the order of constitutional democracy” and called Bolivian president Evo Morales’ claims that the U.S. was behind the police insubordination “absurd.”
The U.S. government recently stated that Colombia “is a priority” for the Obama administration, and that the government hopes to expand and improve the relationship to work on international and regional issues.
Colombia is consistently the 5th or 6th largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, and the top recipient of aid in Latin America.