Colombia hosts meetings on Amazon security

Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva arrived in Bogotá on July 18 for a three-day visit to Colombia that included joining Colombian president Alvaro Uribe in the inauguration of a meeting of business leaders from the two countries. On July 19 Lula and Uribe met in the Hatogrande estate on the outskirts of the capital to sign accords on investment, the environment and biofuels, and on security along the 1,500-km border Brazil and Colombia share in the Amazon region.

At a press conference Uribe announced that Colombia would be joining the Defense Council of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). On July 20 the two presidents were scheduled to meet with Peruvian president Alan García at Leticia on the southern border to sign a tripartite agreement, although the content wasn’t revealed. The three presidents were also planning to celebrate Colombia’s Independence Day together.

According to Colombian foreign minister Jaime Bermúdez, the agreements between Lula, a center-leftist, and the right-wing Uribe include “a memorandum of cooperation in the fight against trafficking in arms, munitions and explosives,” and another memorandum on the exchange of military intelligence. These agreements would undercut the position of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the Amazon region. The Brazilian daily O Estado de Sao Paulo had reported before Lula’s visit that he would give Uribe “explicit support” in the fight against the FARC. (La Jornada, July 19 from DPA, AFP, Notmex, July 20 from AFP, DPA)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 20

See our last posts on Colombia, Peru, Brazil and the struggle for the Amazon.