The Colombian Air Forces (FAC) announced on Tuesday that the nation will carry out a joint military exercise with United States troops in the Caribbean maritime area of Coveñas, department of Sucre. The announcement received the rejection of wide social sectors and it takes place in the framework of the next visit to the country of the Secretary of State of the United States, Mike Pompeo.
The statement issued by the Colombian military forces indicates that the operational exercise has the objective of “strengthening procedures and standards in the detection, location and neutralization of illicit activities at the service of the transnational crime of drug trafficking.” The action will take place from September 18 to 21 under the name “Poseidon”, Telesur review.
This Tuesday, the United States announced that the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, will visit Colombia, Guyana, Brazil and Suriname during a tour that will take place on September 17, 18, 19 and 20.
“This trip will highlight the United States‘ commitment to uphold democracy, combat COVID-19, while revitalizing our economies during the pandemic and strengthening security against regional threats,” said a statement.
Regarding military exercises, the training will optimize the interoperability of the FAC and strengthen procedures for the interdiction, interception and neutralization of illegal maritime targets.
Likewise, in-flight refueling and search and rescue maneuvers will be carried out in open waters, under international standards of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
At least 20 Colombian legislators reacted to the announcement and filed a tutela against President Iván Duque. The legislators consider that the president “violated his rights to politics in the form of the exercise of political control”, because he did not request the Senate “authorization for the transit of foreign troops.”
On August 27, the Colombian president authorized the resumption of other advisory and cooperation tasks for a United States military brigade in the country.
Visit de Mike Pompeo
The joint military exercises between the United States and Colombia will coincide with the visit to the South American country of the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
This Tuesday, the State Department issued a statement in which it announced that Pompeo will make a tour, between September 17 and 20, through countries in South America. The tour will take you to Paramaribo, Suriname; Georgetown, Guyana; Boa Vista, Brazil and Bogotá, Colombia.
The purpose of the trip, according to the State Department, is to highlight “the commitment of the United States to defend democracy, combat Covid-19 while revitalizing our economies after the pandemic, and strengthen security against regional threats.”
In the particular case of Colombia, Secretary Pompeo intends to meet with President Iván Duque. Among the issues on the American’s agenda are “the strong partnership shared” by Colombia and the United States, “managing the response” to Covid-19, “promoting mutual prosperity” and issues related to Venezuela.
The United States maintains a hostile policy against the Venezuelan government, which includes an economic, commercial and financial blockade; as well as support for destabilization and sabotage actions within the Bolivarian country.
Likewise, the Colombian Executive has served as a spearhead in the Trump Administration’s plans against Venezuela, welcoming terrorists and acting as a base for aggressions against the Venezuelan people.
Gringo military in Colombia
Last August the government of Iván Duque authorized the resumption of the advisory and cooperation work of a United States military brigade in the country, after they were suspended by order of a court, the Defense Ministry reported.
At the beginning of July, when 48 members of the Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) were already in Colombia, the Administrative Court of Cundinamarca ordered the Government to suspend the activities of that unit after failing a tutela ( appeal) from a group of congressmen.
At least 20 legislators filed a tutela against Duque, considering that the president “violated his rights to politics in the form of the exercise of political control” because he did not request the Senate “authorization for the transit of foreign troops.”
The court then ruled that the head of state should forward all the information on the activities of the military brigade to the Senate so that the congressmen could assume “their exclusive function of political control.”
“Once this matter was defined, through the communication of 69 senators and the communication sent by the then president of the Senate, the president (Duque) authorized the American soldiers to continue the advisory tasks,” said Defense Minister Carlos today. Holmes Trujillo.
According to Trujillo, the Government complied with sending the Senate the complete report on the work that the brigade would carry out in Colombia and then 69 senators from different political parties confirmed that they had complied with political control over said report in a “satisfactory manner.”
“More than the absolute majority of the Senate told the president of the Senate that this is a matter of military cooperation that does not involve the transit of troops. (They also said) that it is imperative that the Republic of Colombia can continue with all the actions that are necessary in the fight against the drug trafficking chain, “added Trujillo.
Mission of the SFAB
The SFAB is a unit of the US Army formed to advise and support operations in allied nations that arrived in Colombia in June to help in the fight against drugs.
The announcement of the arrival of the members of the brigade revived fears of a military escalation like that of two decades ago with Plan Colombia, financed with close to 10 billion dollars by the US, and the spearhead of the campaign. against drug traffickers and guerrilla groups.
However, Minister Trujillo has always argued that it is a mission “of a consultative and technical nature”, the product of military cooperation between the two countries, and that at no time will there be “transit of foreign troops, nor will they participate in military operations. ».
“Of course we are going to continue deepening cooperation with the United States to strengthen capacities to effectively combat drug trafficking,” Trujillo added this Wednesday.
Controversy in Congress over US military in Colombia
Minister Trujillo said today that once the Government complied with all the provisions required by the Administrative Court of Cundinamarca, several senators asked that same court to open an incident of contempt for the president of the Senate for not having convened the Upper House to fulfill the tasks of political control.
Trujillo explained that the court in compliance with its functions denied the request of the legislators.
However, on Wednesday several congressmen said that the authorization of Congress to the US troops announced by Trujillo did not exist.
Senator Roy Barreras said that the communication referred to by the minister “was a letter prepared in the Presidency of the Republic and signed only by the then president of the Senate, Lidio García. It was never voted. It was never decided in Congress “, reported the EFE agency.
They will sue Duque for the gringo troops
Jorge Enrique Robledo, senator for the Polo Democrático Alternativo party of Colombia, Sue to the president of that nation, Iván Duque, and to the Minister of Defense, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, for having lied to the country regarding their support for the presence of US troops conducting operations in Colombian territory, which they allegedly received from 69 senators.
“I will accuse them both before the respective authorities,” he emphasized via twitter.
Robledo indicated that Duque “violated the law by authorizing US troops in Colombia” and is an accomplice together with the Ministry of Defense of having “lied to the country about this case.
He specified that allowing US troops to continue their operations, allegedly in the fight against drug trafficking, in Colombian territory, “is a clear violation of the Magna Carta.”
Court order. Last July, the Colombian justice banned foreign operations and almost two months later Minister Holmes, arguing that 69 senators gave their approval, reported that the order was carried out for just one week.