Latin American Herald Tribune

Brazil Opposed to U.S. Bases in Colombia

Aug 05--The top foreign affairs counselor to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told the U.S. national security adviser on Tuesday that Brazil opposes the prospect of Washington’s stationing military personnel at bases in Colombia.

5 de agosto de 2009

“I called his attention to the fact that it (Brazil’s objection) is not related to any ideological position,” Marco Aurelio Garcia told reporters after meeting in Brasilia with Gen. James Jones. “That it comes from a government that has good relations with Colombia.”

Garcia met Monday in Caracas with leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has frozen relations with Colombia over the issue of possible U.S. basing rights in the neighboring country.

Without revealing the content of his talks with Chavez, Garcia said he conveyed Venezuela’s position to Jones.

“It’s time for a more diplomatic action, to avoid a media war,” the Brazilian official said.

“The United States’ connection with some countries in South America is very tenuous,” Garcia said, advocating “a consistent dialogue that eliminates secondary questions and focuses on fundamental matters.”

He said Jones assured him the U.S. was seeking bases in Colombia only to facilitate “humanitarian activities” and aid the battle against illegal drugs.

But Garcia seemed unconvinced.

“No matter how many explanations there are,” he said, foreign bases in the region “do not appear to be a factor that contributes to a relaxation” of tensions.

Lula’s aide said that while Brazil would not turn the bases issue into a “point of tension with the United States,” Brasilia hoped to see Washington pursue a new dialogue with Latin America.

“I told him (Jones) that Lula had very good relations with President Bush and that he nourished and nourishes greater expectations in regard to President Barack Obama,” Garcia said.

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