The New York Times | 8/10/2009 12:00:00 AM
Colombia President, on South America Tour, Defends U.S. Military Role
Aug 10--President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia wrapped up a seven-country tour of South America this week seeking to calm skeptical neighbors about a proposal to allow an increased American military presence in Colombian territory.
Mr. Uribe took to the road on his diplomatic offensive this week after some countries — including Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua — denounced the plans to allow for increased American troop levels. Others, like Brazil, expressed concern about the agreement, which Colombian and American officials insisted would only extend and formalize a continuing counternarcotics program between the countries.
The concerns — and Mr. Uribe’s hastily organized diplomatic road show — underscore contrasting views about threats to the region’s security. For the Colombian president, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, remain the primordial threat, not only to Colombia but to the entire region, said Michael Shifter, vice president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a research group in Washington.
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