The new force will be deployed to the Palmerola base in Honduras and will include 250 troops
teleSUR (April 1) – The United States military will deploy a new special force for Latin America, revealed the website Defensa.com on Wednesday.
The 250-troop force will be deployed to the U.S. military base Soto Cano in Palmerola, Honduras. The deployment includes 4 armed helicopters and the JHSV Spearhead amphibian vessel.
The special force will work in a similar way as the U.S. African task force Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response, a combat unit designed to intervene in critical situations.
The new unit is expected to become operational between June and November this year.
The announcement comes after Ernesto Samper, UNASUR’s Secretary General, requested that the forthcoming Summit of the Americas considers banning U.S. military bases in Latin America.
Earlier this year, it was announced that over 3,000 U.S. marines would be deployed to Peru in September, to participate in joint operations.
UNASUR head calls for removal of US bases from Latin America
TeleSUR (March 31)– Ernesto Samper said the upcoming Summit of the Americas would serve as a good opportunity to “reassess relations between the U.S. and South America.” The Secretary-General for the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) suggested that all U.S. military bases in Latin America should be removed.
In an interview with news agency EFE, UNASUR head Ernesto Samper said that the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Panama next month could serve as place to “reassess relations between the U.S. and South America.”
“A good point on the new agenda of relations (on the continent) would be the elimination of U.S. military bases” from South America, “a leftover from the days of the Cold War and other clashes,” Samper added.
All eyes at the summit are expected to be on U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro, marking the first time the Caribbean nation will participate since being ousted from the Organization of American States in 1962. However, Samper believes the attention on Cuba-U.S. relations should not overshadow issues such as the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and U.S. militarization of the region.
In 2009, UNASUR held a special meeting of member-states to discuss Colombia’s intention of allowing U.S. troops access to seven military bases in its territory. Ultimately the regional bloc voted to declare the continent a “region of peace.”
The head of UNASUR also criticized the tendency of U.S. politicians to act in a “unilateral” manner. Those positions “go against what should be, in my opinion, a basic framework of understanding, which is an acceptance of multilaterialism as the basis of relations,” he said.
Aside from the historic meeting between Raul Castro and Obama, the summit is also expected to prominently feature the current tensions between Venezuela and the U.S. UNASUR formally rejected the unilateral decree issued by the U.S. president which declared Venezuela to be an “unusual and extraordinary threat.”
Samper spoke out against the decree, saying, “In a globalized world like the present one, you can’t ask for global rules for the economy and maintain unilateral rules for politics. No country has the right to judge the conduct of another and even less to impose sanctions and penalties on their own.”
At the fifth Summit of the Americas in 2009, shortly after Obama’s inauguration as president, the U.S. leader said there would be a “new chapter” in Latin America-U.S. relations. However, the expectations from Latin American leaders were dashed after the U.S. supported a coup in Honduras in June 2009.