Some Latin American nations are wondering if the return of the U.S. Navy’s Fourth Fleet to their coastlines signals the return of “gunboat diplomacy” as well, Agence France-Presse reports.
Representatives of Argentine president Cristina Kirchner have raised the question with visiting U.S. officials during a recent economic summit.
The fleet, which dates from World War II, was reactivated on July 1 after being mothballed for 58 years.
The Navy maintains the fleet is not equipped for offensive maneuvers: It would be used only for humanitarian assistance and preventing drug traffic, and will respect national sovereignty.
However, left-leaning governments in Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba believe the United States is using the fleet to flex its military muscle and for surveillance and intelligence operations.
“Worries over U.S. fleet to dominate talks in Buenos Aires”
Agence France-Presse, July 10, 2008