Alex Constantine - July 29, 2009
Hylton: Rest of South America has reason to be alarmed by future US military presence on Colombian bases
With the hemisphere fixated on the coup d'etat in Honduras, the Colombian military announced it would be opening up some of its military bases to be shared with the US military. This caused immediate condemnation from the leadership of Colombia's neighbors, Ecuador and Venezuela. Forrest Hylton, expert on Colombian affairs, believes that the two countries are justified in their reservations about the move, given the potential the base offers and the recent history of US surveillance activity in the region. On the other end, Hylton points out some discomforting activities in the Colombian military, an institution that is the fifth largest recipient of US military aid. With the US now seeking even deeper ties with that same military, Hylton concludes that "Colombia's increasing violations of human rights in its pursuit of counter-insurgency doesn't seem to have any impact on the flow of US aid."
Forrest Hylton is the author of Evil Hour in Colombia (Verso, 2006), and with Sinclair Thomson, co-author of Revolutionary Horizons: Past and Present in Bolivian Politics (Verso, 2007). He is a regular contributor to New Left Review and NACLA Report on the Americas.