RealNews

Congress Approves Doubling U.S. Troops in Colombia to 800

The number of American military personnel here will double, to 800, in the coming months, based on a weekend vote in the United States Congress. The action was welcomed by President Álvaro Uribe’s government for its fight against Marxist rebels but condemned by human rights monitors, who warned of a sharp escalation in Colombia’s conflict. The 2005 United States Defense Department authorization act, approved Saturday by Congress, also permits the Bush administration to increase the number of American citizens working for private contractors in Colombia to 600 from 400. The soldiers and many of the contractors will, among other things, develop and analyze intelligence on rebel movements, do surveillance and train Colombian troops in counterguerrilla operations. Full Story

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