U.S. ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield said Saturday that his country will not increase the number of U.S. military personnel present in the Andean nation.
Brownfield said that Colombia “will not be seeing more personnel from the United States, on the contrary we will see less.” He added, however, that the two countries would “maintain the same mechanisms of collaboration.”
According to the ambassador, the U.S. had been “incredibly clear” and “transparent” in signing a military base agreement with Colombia, which allows American troops to use seven Colombian bases, and that U.S. presence is specifically aimed at co-operation in the fight against drug-trafficking and insurgency.
Brownfield pointed out, in an interview with El Colombiano, that military presence in Colombia is already low.
“At this time we have around 220 members of the military, of whom 125 are at the embassy and 90 in various other locations … it is important to highlight that military presence outside my embassy and outside the CAN [Andean Community] is more or less 40 personnel,” said the official.
Due to an agreement signed in 2009 the United States has access to seven Colombian military bases in order to work with the Colombian armed forces in the fight against narco-trafficking and terrorism.
The deal has caused tension between the Colombian government and several leaders of other Latin American nations, including Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa.