Caracas: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez charged that the controversial new US deal to use Colombian military bases means US troops can move anywhere within the South American country.
"They are turning all of Colombia into a (US) base," an outraged Chavez yesterday said in his television and radio program Alo Presidente.
"They cannot keep this a secret; the details are coming out. Gringo military staff have been authorised to operate anywhere in Colombia," Chavez charged.
The leftist-populist Venezuelan President displayed a document that he said was from the US Air Mobility Command to justify his claims.
He said he would bring it to an upcoming meeting of Latin American leaders August 28 in Bariloche, Argentina which has been called to discuss the US military presence in Colombia.
He claimed that it reads in part: "The United States requires freedom to act in strategic global areas."
Chavez interpreted that to mean that the United States is bent on "taking the Orinoco (River delta) resources area" and muscling into Brazil's Amazon basin area.
"I am bringing the document and I am going to listen to the Colombian government's lies," in Argentina, Chavez said.
"Colombia is lending its territory for them to come in and install their radars, their drone planes, their equipment, so they can dominate South America and act freely across the continent," Chavez charged.
First Published: Monday, August 24, 2009, 09:10