Sep 20 2013

Drones, Drug Wars & Special Ops: New Report Highlights Changing Military Relationship Between US and Latin America

Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro has condemned what he is calling a ban on Venezuelan aircraft through US airspace, and the denial of a visa to a top Venezuelan official to attend a UN meeting. Bolivian President Evo Morales, a strong ally of Venezuela, has reacted saying he will file a lawsuit against President Obama for “crimes against humanity.”

The US’s relations with Latin America have been quite strained in recent years. The US has a sordid history of military interventions in Latin America and is known for providing training schools for right wing paramilitary forces, and funding drug war programs. However, the political landscape has dramatically changed in the past ten years with a majority of countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Brazil electing left-leaning leaders wanting greater independence from El Norte.

A new report by three US-based think tanks this week examines the complex and ever-changing military relationship between the US and Latin America. It turns out that under President Obama, major military cooperation via agreements like Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative is waning. The US is now more heavily relying on special operations forces deploying directly into various countries. Meanwhile the so-called Drug war is still going strong.

GUEST: Adam Isacson Senior Associate for Regional Security at the Washington Office on Latin America, and one of the three authors of the report entitled Time to Listen: New Trends in US Security Assistance to Latin American and the Caribbean.

Click here to read the WOLA report on US-Latin America Military Relations.

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