Colombia Palanquero USAF Print
Written by Becca Polk   
Friday, 13 August 2010 20:34
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August 1-8, 2010

THE U.S. AIR FORCE AND THE COLOMBIAN BASE AT PALANQUERO

As members of the SOA Watch delegation to Colombia, we are deeply concerned about the U.S.-Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement signed on October 30, 2009, by which Colombia permits the U.S. to use seven Colombian military bases. We are in Colombia in order to express our solidarity with Colombians and other Latin Americans in protesting and denouncing this agreement, and we commit ourselves to continue this struggle in the U.S.

In an article entitled “Yankees Welcome,” the Colombian magazine Semana (October 31, 2009) analyzed the agreement, noting with concern a separate U.S. Air Force document which reveals the strategic interests of the Pentagon in upgrading the Colombian base at Palanquero, one of the seven bases included in the agreement. (This article in Semana can be found at http://www.semana.com/noticias-nacion/yankees-welcome/130763.aspx )

SECURITY AND STABILITY THREATENED BY “ANTI-U.S. GOVERNMENTS”

According to this USAF document, “development of this CSL (Cooperative Security Location) provides a unique opportunity for full spectrum operations in a critical sub region of our hemisphere where security and stability is under constant threat from narcotics funded terrorist insurgencies, anti- U.S. governments [emphasis added], endemic poverty and recurring natural disasters.”

The magazine Semana explains that the document “is a report in which the Pentagon explains to Congress its plans for 2010, requesting, among other things, $46 million to be invested in developing the base at Palanquero. This is the first official document to mention the interest which the U.S. may have in using the Colombian base to help to maintain `security and stability’ vis-à-vis countries which are not favorable to Washington.” Thus far the Semana article.

“FULL-SPECTRUM OPERATIONS THROUGHOUT LATIN AMERICA”

The document, entitled “Military Construction Program,” was presented to the U.S. Congress in May 2009. It begins with a presentation of the “mission” or “major functions” of the project: “Palanquero provides an opportunity for conducting full spectrum operations throughout South America [emphasis added], including CN [counter-narcotics?] missions. It also supports mobility missions by providing access to the entire continent, except the Cape Horn region, if fuel is available, and over half of the continent if unrefueled.”

PALANQUERO SUPPORTS “THE U.S. MISSION IN COLOMBIA AND THROUGHOUT THE U.S. SOUTHERN COMMAND (USSOUTHCOM) AREAOF RESPONSIBILITY (AOR)”

Later the document refers to the “current mission”: “A fully functional airfield and ramp is essential for supporting the U.S. mission in Columbia [sic] and throughout the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR)…. This project will accommodate transport/supply, fueling and operational aircraft in the AOR…. Its isolation maximizes Operational Security and Force Protection and minimizes the U.S. military profile [emphasis added].”

“EXPAND EXPEDITIONARY WARFARE CAPABILITY”

“A presence will also increase our capability to conduct Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, improve global reach, support logistics requirements, improve theater security cooperation, and expand expeditionary warfare capability [emphasis added].”

The Air Force document can be found at http://www.justf.org/files/primarydocs/091104pal.pdf

Last Updated on Friday, 13 August 2010 20:39