the new york times

Uribe Wins Some, Loses Some on Whirlwind Tour

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has said almost nothing in public about his meetings with South American presidents this week in response to fears that the U.S. military could become too powerful on the continent if given long-term leases on Colombian bases.--The New York Times

Halfway through his trip, Uribe won solid support in Peru, and Chile's president called the U.S. bases deal an internal matter for Colombia only days after she said the whole region had legitimate concerns. But Bolivia's Evo Morales blasted the U.S. plans Wednesday, while Uribe had very little to say during his stop in Argentina.

Still on the agenda for Uribe were meetings with leftist presidents in Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil -- the latter where the U.S. national security adviser, Jim Jones, acknowledged the deal could have been explained better to the region's leaders.

U.S. officials haven't released details, but Colombians have said U.S. forces would have access to at least seven Colombian bases. They say there would be no more than 1,400 American personnel in the country helping support Colombia's fight against drug trafficking and leftist rebels.

''There is no magic, nothing secret under the table,'' Jones said. ''Just to make sure, we will send a military briefing team around to interested countries in the region to make sure everybody understands what this is and what this isn't.

In Chile, Uribe was greeted by protests outside the La Moneda palace and at least 15 demonstrators chanting ''No more Yankee bases'' were arrested. He had a warmer reception from Michelle Bachelet, who called the bases deal a matter of Colombia's national sovereignty.
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