Venezuela Warns Colombia on US Military Base

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 16 May 2008

Recent comments by US officials that they may establish a military base in the Colombian region of La Guajira have been angrily rejected by the Venezuela Government. La Guajira borders Venezuela and Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has told the US-backed Colombian Government that he will consider it an act of "aggression" should they allow Washington to build the base.

On May 14th President Chavez stated that he would not permit a US base to be established so close to the border and said that if the Colombian Government went along with it Venezuela would revive a decades-old territorial conflict and stake a claim to the whole Guajira peninsula which the two countries currently share.

Concern mounted following recent comments by the US Ambassador to Colombia, William Brownfield, that the US may soon look at setting up a new military base somewhere in Colombia to replace their current base in the Ecuadorian city of Manta. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, a progressive and close ally of Chavez, has told the US that they must leave Manta by next year.

US troops are already stationed in various bases around Colombia although these are considered to be Colombian, rather than US, installations. The only other country to have troops in Colombia is the UK though the British Government is notoriously secretive about the exact nature of their involvement believed to be predominantly counterinsurgency operations and training.

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