Skip to content


Christian Alonso

What are the Latin American countries with the most US military bases?

- The first extraterritorial base of the United States is located in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

What are the Latin American countries with the most US military bases?

The United States of America is a country with more than two hundred years of independent life, of which more than half have been lived under the shadow of war. Whether for territorial defense or for national interests, the truth is that US policy is one of the most questioned in recent years given its interventionist nature. Currently, the North American country is considered the largest military power in the world, having a presence in more than 100 countries through the existence of more than 800 military bases. [1] The dilemma falls on whether the presence of US troops outside US territory is a violation of the sovereignty of the receiving countries or if it is a "mutual benefit" regarding security national of both

The first extraterritorial base of the United States is located in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It was created during the military occupation resulting from the Spanish-American War, which began in 1898. Years later, during the period between the wars, the development of the containment theory, formulated by Nicholas Spykman, laid the foundations for the extension of the US military. to different regions of the world. The objective of this was to stop the advance of Soviet influence through the military and political presence in different countries of the periphery.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disappearance of the Soviet Union, the United States strengthened its presence throughout the world. After the emergence of new global problems such as drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism, new strategies also emerged that caused US military intervention in different countries under the pretext of safeguarding international security. Through various methods such as peacekeeping operations, military training, and the establishment of large offshore military complexes, the United States continued to bolster its military presence around the world.

The United States Department of Defense divides its extraterritorial military operations into 6 geographically distributed commands with delimited fields of action, these are: Northern Command (NORTHCOM); the Southern Command (SOUTHCOM); the Africa Command (AFRICOM); the European Command (EUCOM); the Central Command (CENTCOM); and the Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). In addition, it has another 5 commands in charge of various areas of action, such as the Space Command; the Cyber Command; the Special Operations Command; the Strategic Command and the Transportation Command.

In the case of Latin America, SOUTHCOM is the entity in charge of administering and monitoring the military activities of the United States at the regional level through the presence of approximately 76 military bases distributed throughout the south of the continent and the Caribbean divided in 3 categories. The first of these is the "base of operations", characterized, according to the Pentagon, by having an extension of more than 10 acres, a value of more than 10 million dollars and an active service of more than 200 US military. They are facilities belonging entirely to the United States Department of Defense.

The second category is the "small military base" or "Lily Pad", a small military installation belonging to the United States that consists, according to the Annual Report of the Pentagon, of an extension of less than 10 acres and a value of less than 10 million of dollars. This categorization also includes any other cooperative security location or forward operating site where the US military has a presence.

The third category is the “funded base,” which is a host-country facility where US operational personnel may have full or partial access given government funding for such sites. Most of the existing bases in Latin America fall into this category and serve as centers of operations and military training against drug trafficking.

In addition to these three categories, there is one more that is not specified by the Department of Defense, but denounced by civil organizations and local media, it is the "unconfirmed operational bases" that turn out to be military centers with the presence of US troops. , but that have not been officially declared by either of the two governments.

Although it seems that the presence of US military troops follows a logic of regional security, the truth is that the existence of military settlements outside the United States reinforces the interventionist logic that has characterized this country for more than a century. The theory of the security perimeter, formulated by Nicholas Spykman, is still valid today and, under these actions, the United States seeks to continue consolidating its supremacy at the continental level for many more years.

Argentina 0 0 1 1 2 Trelew, Golfo Nuevo, Resistencia, Chaco.
Belize 0 0 0 8 8 Hunting Caye, Hatieville, Ladyville, Big Creek, San Pedro Caye, Belize City, Ambergris Caye, Price Barracks
Bolivia 0 0 0 0 0
Brazil 0 0 0 1 1 Alcântara, Maranhão
Chili 0 1 0 0 1 Concon, Valparaiso
Columbia 0 1 3 1 5 Palanquero, Tolemaida, Larandia, Bahía de Málaga, Three corners
Costa Rica 0 1 0 4 5 Liberia, Caldera, Colorado and
Cuban 1 0 0 0 1 Guantanamo
Ecuador 0 0 1 1 2 Galapagos, Lita
El Salvador 0 1 0 4 5 Comalapa, Miraflores, La Union, Cuscatlán, Site of the child
Guatemalan 0 0 0 8 8 Puerto San José, Poptún, Champerico, Cobán, Santa Ana de Berlín, Las Mañanitas, Tecun Uman, Puerto Barrios
Honduras 1 2 0 6 9 Palmerola, Mocorón, Puerto Castilla, Guaraja, La Venta, El Aguacate, Puerto Lempira, La Brea
Mexico 0 0 0 0 0
Nicaragua 0 0 0 3 3 The Bluff, Corinth, Corn Island
Panama 0 0 0 6 6 Puerto Obaldia, Puerto Piña, Isla Grande, Punta Coco, La Palma
Paraguayan 0 0 1 0 1 Marshal Estigarribia
Peru 0 2 0 3 5 Lima, Iquitos, Tarapoto, Puno, Ancon
Rep. Dominican 0 0 1 1 2 Saona Island
Uruguay 0 0 0 1 1 Toledo, Department of Canelones
Venezuela 0 0 0 0 0

Note: this list only takes into account the existing military bases in the countries presented on the map, so the total sums may vary when counting other existing bases in dependent countries of the Caribbean.


    Spykman, N. Estados Unidos frente al mundo, Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 1942.

    US. Dept. of Defense. Combatant Commands, disponible en: : Vine, David. Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2015.

The best content in your inbox

Join our newsletter with the best of CEMERI

Related articles

Alonso, Christian. “¿Cuáles son los países de América Latina con más bases militares de Estados Unidos?.” CEMERI, 12 sept. 2022,