After meeting in La Paz with his Colombian counterpart Álvaro Uribe Aug. 5, Bolivian President Evo Morales announced he will request the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) reject the opening of foreign military bases on the continent. “We will take the UNASUR meeting a draft resolution to not accept the presence of any foreign armed soldier in the region,” Morales said. The UNASUR summit is to open Aug. 10 in Quito, Ecuador. (Prensa Latina, Aug. 5)
Uribe went on a seven-country tour of South America this week seeking to calm skeptical neighbors about his proposal to open Colombia’s territory to US military bases. Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet said countries in the region are “unnerved” by the plan, and that the issue should be addressed at Quito. Uribe does not plan to attend the summit. Ecuador and Colombia broke off diplomatic relations last year after Colombia’s military raid of a FARC camp in Ecuadoran territory.
Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva requested guarantees from Uribe that the military cooperation with the US will not spill over Colombia’s borders. Argentina’s Cristina Fernández de Kirchner told Uribe he needs to “reduce the conflict in the region” and that “the installation of the bases didn’t fit with that objective,” according to the Argentine state news agency. The presidents of Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay said that Colombia’s sovereignty should be respected, but only Peru’s Alan García openly supported the Colombian proposal. Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua have all denounced the plan. (NYT, Aug. 8)