Argentina Bariloche gets ready for Unasur Summit
The mayor of Bariloche city, Rio Negro province, Marcelo Cascón expressed his happiness for the realization of the extraordinary summit of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Presidents there, and said that "the city is already working to receive the leaders."
In dialogue with Argentine news agency Télam, Cascón expressed his gratitude to President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner for the decision of establishing the venue in Bariloche and expressed that the summit "is good news for the city."
"Thanks to the summit the image of Bariloche will have an extraordinary widespread diffusion in the entire world, and for that reason the Municipality and the whole city will be at this event disposal", he said.
The National Government decided that coming August 28th, the summit of presidents will be carried out at the Llao Llao Hotel , conclave to which 12 Latin American presidents will be attending, next to same number of foreign ministers.
The extraordinary meeting was proposed last week in Quito by the Argentine President and her Ecuadorian counterpart, Rafael Correa, to debate the intention of the United States of establishing military bases in Colombia.
Brazil and other South American countries are being welcomed by Colombia to increase military ties with that country. That's what Colombians President Alvaro Uribe made clear on Friday, August 14, after the Foreign Affairs ministry announced it had completed talks with Washington on allowing US troops to use seven Colombian military bases.
We would like the accord with the United States to be projected throughout the continent," Uribe told a business conference in the city of Medellin.
"We would like to have it with Brazil," he said. "I do not see this pact with the United States as incompatible with having pacts with other countries as well."
Under the deal, the US military will be able to operate on Colombian soil to tackle drug-trafficking and terrorism. Colombia 's foreign ministry said that Bogotá had agreed the text of the deal with Washington: "this agreement reaffirms the commitment of both parties in the fight against drug-trafficking and terrorism".
The deal will now be reviewed in both countries before being signed.
A number of South American countries, mainly Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, have condemned the plan as a threat to regional stability, others have supported Colombia's "sovereign" decision (Peru, Chile, Paraguay); Argentina stated the bases are "not helpful" and Brazil called for a meeting between President Obama and regional leaders.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said that "the climate of unease disturbs me" and he also supported that the controversy be debated in depth by the Union of South American Nations, Unasur, which is scheduled to hold an extraordinary summit at the end of August in Bariloche, Argentine Patagonia.
Brazil, SouthAmerica 's biggest country and largest economy, is building up its armed forces as part of a push to increase its role on the world stage.
Washington has given billions of dollars in military assistance to Colombia, helping Uribe put the insurgents on the defensive. But the country remains the world's biggest producer of cocaine.
The US has been forced to look for a new base to counter drug trafficking and terrorism operations after Ecuador refused to renew the lease on its Manta base, which the US military was using.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the Colombian move would amount to preparation for an invasion of his country by US forces. Mr Chavez warned that "the winds of war were beginning to blow" across the region.
Last week President Uribe visited several of his South American neighbors to try to calm fears over the proposed deal with Washington.
The US deployment on Colombian soil would be capped at 800 troops, according to the agreement, but Chavez has warned that the bases could be used as a launching point to unseat Latin American leaders.Those seven Yankee bases there are a declaration of war against the Bolivarian revolution and that's how we see it. A declaration of war," Chavez said.
Bogota and Caracas share a $7bn-a-year trade realtionship, but in light of the military deal, Chavez has threatened to shift many of the country's purchases to Argentina.
He also withdrew his ambassador to Bogota earlier this month, before sending him back several days later.
Venezuela's threat to cut ties with Colombia came before a regional summit in Bariloche, Argentina, on Friday, where Latin American leaders will discuss the US-Colombian security arrangement.
Bolivia and Ecuador, allies of Venezuela, have also criticised the troop deal, but a number of nations in the region have dismissed the concerns, saying that it is purely an internal matter for Colombia.