Transparency Debated in Congress; WHINSEC (Ex-School of the Americas) Continues to Spark Criticism

• Passage of House legislation concerning WHINSEC.

• School of the Americas (SOA) legacy continued.

• Department of Defense upholds contradictory policy.

• US Foreign Policy in Latin America misguided and ineffective.

• A demand for transparency and change.

The McGovern/Sestak/Bishop Amendment

The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), successor to the Pentagon’s notorious School of the Americas (SOA), has once again drawn attention following recent legislation fueled by ongoing opposition to the school’s historically controversial role. On May 22, 2008, the US House of Representatives voted to approve the McGovern/Sestak/Bishop Amendment, which will require the Defense Secretary to release the names, ranks, and countries of origin of all graduates of and instructors at the school upon request. If authorized, WHINSEC will be required to release the aforementioned information from 2005-2008 and all years thereafter.

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This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associates Michael Katz and Elizabeth Reavey.

U.S. Ambassador Maintains: “Without a doubt. There are possibilities in Colombia (for a US military base)”

Last Monday, Colombia’s Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos once again has reiterated that Colombia “does not have, nor will have” any American military bases. However, rumors persist that the US plans to relocate its military facility from Manta, Ecuador to an unspecified location in Colombia. These have been circulating since late last year, but several recent incidents lend additional credence to them. First, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff’s visit to Colombia early in January could signal, according to Colombian Liberal senator Juan Manuel Galante, a subtle indication that the U.S. is, in fact, interested in establishing a military base in the country. The Colombian senator assured his listeners at the time that there is a base with the necessary infrastructure at Tres Esquinas, which has already been provided with radar equipment by the U.S.

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This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Erina Uozumi.

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