the new york times

U.S. Close to Deal With Colombia on Base Access

Jul 16--The United States and Colombia are nearing agreement on expanding the American military’s presence here, probably basing several hundred troops in a central valley to support Air Force drug interdiction missions.


Both countries said they hoped that a fifth round of talks scheduled for this month in Bogotá would seal a 10-year lease arrangement.

Opponents worry that an expanded role for the United States military in Colombia, the world’s No. 1 cocaine-producing nation, could antagonize Colombia’s leftist neighbors and draw the United States deeper into Colombia’s complicated, long-running conflict involving leftist rebels and right-wing paramilitary groups.

Most details of the negotiations have remained secret, but senior Colombian military and civilian officials said the goal was to make Colombia a regional hub for Pentagon operations.
 
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