Bush Sends More Troops to Colombia

February 24, 2003

On February 22, George Bush ordered another 150 U.S. soldiers to Colombia to assist military operations in relation to the downing of U.S. spy plane last week. This new deployment brings the total number of regular U.S. troops in Colombia to more than 400, exceeding the legal limit imposed by the U.S. Congress in 2001.

The U.S. plane, which the Pentagon admitted was on an "intelligence mission" over areas controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), either crashed or was shot down on February 13. One U.S. soldier and a Colombian army sergeant died in the crash and 3 other U.S. soldiers are being held by FARC.

For a number of years, the U.S. government has been continually increasing its military operations in Colombia. Over the last 3 years, the U.S. spent more than $2 billion to train and equip the Colombian army and dispatched several hundred U.S. military advisers to the country. Last year, Congress passed a new aid package in which it dropped even the pretense of fighting a "war on drugs" and gave U.S. troops the greenlight to directly engage the insurgent forces in Colombia. While U.S. troops are limited to 400, many observers put the real number of U.S. military personnel -- including CIA, "mercenaries" and regular army -- at more than 2,000. Last year, U.S. "advisers" led elite Colombian army units in several direct assaults on FARC-controlled areas, dramatically escalating the counter-insurgency war. At the same time, the Colombian government of Alvaro Uribe has declared martial law throughout most of the country.

The counterinsurgency war which the U.S. is waging in Colombia aims not only at maintaining U.S. economic and political domination of Colombia but also at militarizing the entire region. As the peoples in Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia and throughout Latin America increasingly come out against U.S. imperialist exploitation and domination, the U.S. is preparing to wage more counter-revolutionary wars.