Bolivian President Evo Morales said Wednesday he will propose a South American referendum on Bogota's decision to grant the U.S. military access to Colombian bases.
Morales will suggest the referendum at the UNASUR meeting in Bariloche, Argentina, on Friday where the South American leaders will meet to discuss the military agreement between the U.S. and Colombia.
According to the Bolivian President, this meeting is an opportunity "to discuss the dignity and sovereignty of South America." Morales reiterated his rejection of any U.S. base in the region and said, as a last instance, the conflicts should be settled by a popular vote.
"... if the Colombian President does not withdraw [U.S.] military bases from Colombia, why don't we go to a referendum in South America? The people of the 12 countries shall make a referendum on the military bases in South America," Morales said.
Bogota and Washington are close to signing an agreement that allows the U.S. to use Colombian bases for their fight against drug trafficking and terrorism. Morales is together with Venezuela and Ecuador one of the biggest opponents of the military agreement.
The Bolivian President even accused the United States of using the FARC to justify their military presence in Colombia. The FARC are "the best instrument of the U.S. empire" as the fight against the guerrillas has become the pretext for the military agreement, Morales said Monday.
Despite several explanations about the accord by high U.S. officials and a South American tour by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, the plan continues to raise concerns in a large number of Latin American countries.