US Military in Paraguay
July 22, 2005 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Washington Secures Long-Sought Hemispheric Outpost, Perhaps at the Expense of Regional Sovereignty This press release from the Center for Hemispheric Relations is just about the only reporting I've found about the establishment on July 1 of a new US military base in Paraguay. There was a short article in Prensa Latina on July 11, only 3 days after it first published a story that Paraguay had denied the establishment of the base.

There are a very few stories here and there online, but nothing in the American press about this development. You have to know the story exists to find out anything about it. Which is more disturbing, that the US military is on the verge of establishing a new foothold in another sovereign nation or that the US media is not reporting it at all? I really can't decide what I think about this.
posted by elgoose (3 comments total)
Hmm. So the US claims it has no intention of establishing a permanent base in Paraguay, and the Bolivians are convinced that this is about controlling their oil. That sounds familiar.

And they even thought of this this time:

The agreement grants the U.S. troops legal immunity from possible offenses committed during their stay.
posted by leapingsheep at 1:56 PM on July 22, 2005

Fortunately, we know the US military would never ever interfere in Latin American politics.
posted by signal at 2:01 PM on July 22, 2005

There might be a good reason it is not being addressed in the media: could it be a non-story?
- The incredible/unprecedented/outrageous agreement sounds to me like a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The US military has lots of them with many countries. They are hardly new. But let's assume worst case scenario: they are actually referring to an Article 98 Agreement, which is sort of a beefed up, more formal SOFA. Even these are hardly unique, even in Latin America. US has about 100 of them world wide.
- The article gives no facts which support establishing a base, they just refer to how people are afraid thats what it means.
- When the article refers to other nations objecting, the implication is that the governments of those nations are objecting. Most of the quotes given are by media people, or in a rare case, an opposition congressman.
- Argentina has a formal Ally status with the US, legally considered equivalent to a NATO ally. I really don't think they are objecting too much to Para establishing a SOFA and hosting an exercise.
- And how about that exercise? Reading the second link: its called a "medrete." A MEDRETE is a Medical Readiness Training Exercise. The US military does a couple hundred every year throughout the world. These kind of exercises generally provide health service for the poor. This one sounds like it has a counter-terrorism component. So the big new here is what? The US is training Paraguay in counter-terrorism over the next 18 months while simultaneously doing medical assistance to the poor. Hardly seems worth talking about considering the really big issues that are out there. The current administration would probably love it if we all got worked up over these easily explained things and drew some of the heat away from their truly questionable international activities.
posted by Osteo at 5:46 PM on July 22, 2005

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