It’s a weird day when the United States lags behind Colombia when it comes to checks and balances and democratic governance.
This week, Colombia’s top court ruled that the military agreement signed between Bogota and Washington last October was unconstitutional.
Why? Because it was essentially a treaty, and as such, the Colombian congress first had to approve it.
By the same reasoning, our own Congress should have had to ratify too, since that’s what our own Constitution requires.
But that never happened. First Bush, then Obama, pushed the sucker through.
The Pentagon wanted the agreement because it granted the U.S. military access to seven bases in Colombia and allowed for an increase of U.S. troops and contractors, who’d be allowed immunity.
The agreement, which was sold as a way to fight Colombian drug traffickers, actually had larger, more sinister purposes.
One U.S. Air Force document said the deal offered a “unique opportunity” for “conducting full spectrum operations” in the region, including against “anti-U.S. governments.” (See “U.S. Bases in Colombia Rattle the Region”, by Benjamin Dangl, in the March 2010 issue of The Progressive.)
No wonder Hugo Chavez down in Venezuela was concerned about it.
And so should we be.
The process has been undemocratic all around.
And we don’t need another outpost for meddling in Latin American affairs.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his article “Petraeus’s New Offensive: Preparing the Way for Obama to Retract the Withdrawal Pledge.”
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter