The budget handed down by U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration
allocated US$46 million to the expansion of Colombia’s Palanquero Air Base north of Bogota.
request, which must be approved by U.S. Congress, does not explicitly state if the Palanquero base will replace the U.S base in Manta, Ecuador. The Ecuadorean Government requested the base be closed by November and the U.S. looked to Colombia to maintain its military presence in the region.
According to El Tiempo, the Colombian Ministry of
Defense said that the discussion over the transfer of U.S. operations to Colombia was still open.
The U.S. document states that, “the
objective of the Department of Defense Department is to develop a series of access
agreements for contingency operations, logistics and training in
Central and South America and we are discussing arrangements to increase
our access in several countries in the region.”
“The 2010 budget includes
$46 million to a place for security cooperations (LCS) at the Palenquero base, Colombia,”it continues.
The replacement of the Manta base the Palanquero
base is a possibility at this stage, although the agreement has not been closed El Tiempo said.
in Washington told El Tiempo that the budget funding will be spent largely on strengthening the base, which apparently has some ‘logistical weaknesses’.