Defence Ministers from 23 Latinamerican countries including US Defence Secretary William Cohen are holding a summit in the Brazilian Amazon city of Manaos to officially consider "hemispheric security in the XXIst. century".
However although not formally included in the agenda, Colombia and the multi billion dollar US sponsored plan to combat the drug trade, (and neo Marxist guerrillas) is expected to figure top of the list.
Colombia's neighbouring countries, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador fear that a more effective and aggressive Colombian Army, with US support, could spill the guerrilla and drug problem, plus refugees, into their own territories.
The front line countries, as they are identified, and the rest of the continent have been reluctant to support the US sponsored Colombian plan, and would rather see a political solution to the conflict that has been dragging for decades and threatens to split the country. Marxist inspired guerrillas and the drug lords already control a fifth of the Colombian territory.
Brazil and Venezuela that share borders with Colombia, plus Argentina are at the forefront of this position and have been under strong pressure from Washington to accept the US-Colombia stance.
Meanwhile in Colombia almost 400 officers and junior officers mostly from the Army, have been forcibly retired, for allegedly being involved in human rights crimes, one of the US Congress conditions to start making effective the 1,3 billion US dollars to re equip the Colombian Armed Forces.