U.S.-Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 19, 2009

Yesterday, Secretary Clinton met with Colombian Foreign Minister Jamie Bermúdez. Secretary Clinton said:"The foreign minister and I...discussed the bilateral defense cooperation agreement that our governments hope to sign in the near future. This agreement ensures that appropriate protections are in place for our service members. It will allow us to continue working together to meet the challenges posed by narco-traffickers, terrorists, and other illegal armed groups in Colombia. These threats are real, and the United States is committed to supporting the Government of Colombia in its efforts to provide security for all of its citizens.

I want to be clear about what this agreement does and does not do. First, the agreement does not create U.S. bases in Colombia. It does provide the United States access to Colombian bases, but command and control, administration, and security will be Colombia’s responsibility, and any U.S. activity will have to be mutually agreed upon in advance. The United States does not have and does not seek bases inside Colombia.

Second, there will be no significant permanent increase in the U.S. military presence in Colombia. The congressionally mandated cap on the number of U.S. service members and contractors will remain and will be respected.

And third, this agreement does not pertain to other countries. This is about the bilateral cooperation between the United States and Colombia regarding security matters within Colombia.

Our hemisphere faces a number of pressing challenges, from the economic crisis to the climate crisis to public health concerns, such as H1N1 virus, to narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and organized crime. These all demand our attention and our collaboration. And so the United States and Colombia are committed to working together and to making it possible for us to deliver results for the people of our two countries."

Read the Secretary's full remarks with Foreign Minister Bermudez or more about the Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA).



California, USA
August 19, 2009

Normita in California writes:

Dear Secretary Clinton:

Welcome back to the U.S.A.! I followed your journey through the beautiful images and commentaries reflected in your Dipnotes. The people you touched, in the land that you walked, were inspiring and a somber reminder on why you are working so hard - to offer opportunities for a better future for others.

As you now tackle the challenges posed by the other parts in the Americas, may you have a safe and fruitful journey.

God bless you and God bless the U.S.A.!

a proud hillaryvillager

Tennessee, USA
August 19, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

There seems to be conflicting political arrangements in Columbia, which hopefully will bring the U.S. and Russia closer internationally due to mutual interest.

The concept of U.S. base installations, most argued by Venezuela, seem to be offset by the actuality of the following: Tehran Times - ‎ Aug 16, 2009‎

Between 2005 and 2007 Russia signed 12 contracts worth more than $4.4 billion to supply arms to Venezuela, including fighter jets, helicopters and ...

California, USA
August 19, 2009

A.V. in California writes:

What this agreement does do -- without ANY public comment or debate in either country -- is explicitly expand the American mission in Latin America to include fighting in the Colombian Civil War. Prior to this agreement, the US was limited to fighting drugs under Plan Colombia. Now the U.S. has (in black and white) committed itself to helping a military with one of the worst human rights records on the planet fight its 40 year old insurgency. All under the name of a global war on terrorism we were just told is no longer U.S. policy. Again, without any public debate.

We should not surprised that this expansion of U.S. military power in the region has engendered fierce opposition from all sides in Latin America. The region has seen how Colombia showed no hesitation in bombing a neighboring country under the pretext of couter-terror (Ecuador). We have seen how that country's military has kidnapped and killed hundreds of poor innocent Colombians in order to boost kill rates. We have seen almost all Colombia's military leaders go down in human rights scandals. Now the relationship will be even closer, and blood will be hard to keep off U.S. hands.

This, and the lukewarm response to Honduras, is not the way to win friends in Latin America. Obama has already lost a lot of the goodwill engendered in Port of Spain.

Puerto Rico
August 19, 2009

Olimar in Puerto Rico writes:

Im glad to see that DOS hasn't forgotten about the continuos political conflicts that take place in Latin America. The consequences of the Guerrillas' actions are felt throughtout all America. This group not only terrorize the lives of Colombian citizens, but also are responsible for most of Colombia's narcotics trafficking, which ends destroying the life of teens around the United States. I applaud the diplomatic approach that State is showing with this agreement and I hope that will help to put an end to some of the violence in Colombia.

Maryland, USA
August 20, 2009

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Hello, Good Thursday Morning, or late Wednesday Nite.

I thought Minister Jamie Bermudez speech was helpful. People all around the world should be working to help each other . Colombia is no different then we are, they're helping there citizens build a better Future.

I'm glad they're our partners/friends .

...Cya .. :)

United States
August 21, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The establishment of a Pentagon "Southern Command" ought to worry everyone in South America. It signals that our government may be making plans for some unwanted military action in their future.

What would our citizens think if China's military set up a "North America Command" or a "New York Command"?

I think the DoS knows that our influence on other countries, and some of our foreign policy, begins inside the CIA and the Pentagon more often than in the State Department. The most serious damage to American influence in foreign nations has occurred from military and CIA operations, not from diplomatic errors. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have damaged America's image overseas more than any other event in recent history.

We can't have our military and government agencies headed in different directions and still appear to foreign citizens to have a coherent foreign policy.

We can't secure foreign governments against revolt by their citizens, or meddle in their elections, and then preach to their citizens about liberty and democracy.

It doesn't matter how often we reassure them of our good intentions if the Pentagon is preparing contingency plans to invade them, or if the CIA is feeding money into front groups to influence their political parties, buy their political leaders, or disrupt their elections.

There is no "goodwill tour" sufficient to cancel that kind of distrust.

New York, USA
August 21, 2009

Ron in New York writes:


I was talking with a morning radio jock on a short-hop flight from Cartagena to Bogota....I asked him why there was so much violence in the drugs-trade in Colombia. He said, " the drug trafficking from Colombia to the rest of the world was pretty peaceful when it was a cash business. Everything changed when the payment became cash and weapons". If we are serious about bi-lateral security, we need to get a grip on our global small arms and light weapons sales, and detox from the illicit coca trade.


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