Havana: Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro accused the United States of seeking to "eliminate" Venezuela's leftist government and amass power in South America through its military deals with Colombia.
His attack came on the eve of a summit of South American presidents that could be overshadowed by a growing row over a deal between Washington and Bogota to give the American military access to seven Colombian bases.
Washington's "only purpose with these bases is the ability to put US troops in South America in a matter of hours”, Castro said in an article published on the official government website cubadebate.cu.
The United States insists the facilities, spread across the territory of its main regional ally, are aimed at fighting drug gangs and left-wing rebels in Colombia.
Castro said America's real objective was to "eliminate the revolutionary process" begun by Venezuela's firebrand leader Hugo Chavez, a key Cuban ally, and to "gain control of the oil and other natural resources in Venezuela”.
"The delivery of land to establish seven US military bases in Colombia directly threatens the sovereignty and integrity of the peoples of South and Central America and the great Latin American fatherland our forefathers dreamed of," he wrote.
First Published: Friday, August 28, 2009, 13:08