Ambassador Says That Use of Bases Is a Threat Only to Drug Traffickers

By Dialogo
August 06, 2009

Managua, 5 August (EFE).- The U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua, Robert Callahan, said today that the use of Colombian bases by military personnel from his country will not represent a threat to Latin America, but only to “drug traffickers.” These bases, which are the centerpiece of an accord being negotiated by Colombia and the United States, are not “a threat to anyone, only to drug traffickers,” the ambassador affirmed in a press conference. “It is not a threat against any government in Latin America,” Callahan repeated. The president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, said on 31 July that the base accord has the purpose of organizing operations to try to put an end to social, popular, and democratic processes in Latin America. The Sandinista leader affirmed that the bases are not only a threat to nations bordering Colombia, but also to all of Latin America “and to Nicaragua.” According to the Sandinista executive, Colombia, by sharing the use of the bases with the United States, “can have more forces available and even combine operations aimed at putting an end to social, popular, and democratic processes like those that are moving forward in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador,” Nicaragua’s allies in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA). The U.S. ambassador in Managua insisted that the bases belong to Colombia, not to the United States, and that what is being negotiated is “permission to use (them) every so often in order to try to control the plague of drugs.” “It’s something that is quite normal and completely constitutional, and it’s not a threat to anyone, only to drug traffickers,” he reiterated. The aim, Callahan said, is to try to control drug trafficking in the Western Hemisphere. The accord will permit U.S. military personnel to use up to seven bases in Colombia for anti-drug-trafficking operations, according to the authorities of the South American country. Ambassador Callahan made these declarations at the headquarters of the American Chamber of Commerce of Nicaragua (Amcham) in Managua, after meeting with directors of the organization.