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| 4/27/2009 12:00:00 AM

U.S. Air Base Thorny Issue for Colombia

Apr 27 -- With a U.S military air base in the Ecuadorian coastal city of Manta scheduled to be shut down later this year, it looks increasingly likely that Colombia will step in as a new host for U.S. military assets in the region.

Newly re-elected Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa (see Henry Mance's WPR Briefing) has refused to renew Washington's decade-long lease when it expires in November, arguing that the presence of U.S troops undermines the country's sovereignty.

With Washington looking for a new hub for its counternarcotics operations in Latin America, speculation has been rife in recent months about Colombia's possible role once the Manta base is closed. In addition to its strategic location, Colombia is a staunch U.S ally and the largest recipient of U.S aid in Latin America, making it the obvious choice for the U.S's most important air base in the region.

But the potential move has raised controversy in Bogotá, and threatens to strain already fraught relations with Colombia's neighbors, Venezuela and Ecuador.
 
Read more here.
 
Semana International delivers news from Colombia in English. Find more in our home.
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