Friday, November 13, 2009

Panama: Government denies U.S. involvement in four new bases

Xinhua - The four aerial-maritime anti-drug bases to be established on the Pacific coast would be under full Panamanian sovereignty and have no U.S. involvement, a senior Panamanian official said Thursday.

The bases "will be purely Panamanian," Panama's Interior and Justice Minister Jose Raul Mulino announced.

The Panamanian opposition has claimed that these bases would be controlled by the United States.

Mulino said that affirmation was baseless because there would be neither U.S. troops nor U.S. aid on those bases.

"These bases are 100 percent Panamanian, and I will invite you to the establishment of the first (base) to see if you can find any 'gringo' (U.S. citizen)," Mulino said.

With these bases, the Panamanian government seeks to combat weapons and human trafficking and to strengthen the fight against Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, which use Panama's coast to transport drugs to the United States.

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