RealNews

Colombia Conflict Set for Bloodiest Phase

As president-elect Alvaro Uribe prepares to take office on 7 August, the United States is ensuring that American military aid to Colombia will be ready to help him fulfil his campaign promise of getting tough on the country’s warring factions. There was no disguising the enthusiasm with which the US welcomed the election victory of Alvaro Uribe in May. The US ambassador to Colombia, Anne Patterson, was there to congratulate the bespectacled 49-year-old lawyer before the final results were even announced. That was followed with unseemly haste by a visit to Colombia of President Bush’s point man on Latin America, hardliner Otto Reich. He recently wrote a column in the Washington Times, saying: “Our values, our security and the future of our hemisphere are tied to Colombia’s victory in its war against terror.” Relations with the outgoing President, Andres Pastrana, have been very warm, resulting in Colombia becoming the third largest recipient of US military in the world. But Washington was never thrilled with the Pastrana peace process which saw sweeping concessions given to the country’s Marxist rebels in return for escalating levels of violence. Full Story

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