Ecuador bans foreign military bases


This is a video from Ecuador about the INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR THE ABOLITION OF FOREIGN MILITARY BASES; QUITO & MANTA, ECUADOR; MARCH 5 – 9, 2007; with as its soundtrack an Ecuadorian song against the US Manta base.

From the BBC:

Ecuadorian lawmakers have approved a constitutional change that would outlaw foreign military bases on its soil.

The approval throws into doubt the future of a key US base in the South American country.

The US has its only South American base in the town of Manta but its 10-year lease is up for renewal next year.

The lawmakers’ decision, if given final approval in a public vote, could signal the end of joint Ecuadorean and US efforts to fight drug cartels.

If the US Bush’s administration real motivation for the Manta base would really be to fight drug cartels: then why they don’t they use it to fight Colombian President Uribe, a major kingpin in the drug cartels according to United States governmental data? In fact, however, the US military use Manta base to help Uribe violate the sovereignty of Ecudor by killing people on its territory.

“Ecuador is a land of peace; foreign military bases or foreign installations with military purpose will not be allowed,” read the amendment approved by the assembly, which is controlled by President Rafael Correa‘s Alianza Pais party.

Strained relations

The air base at Manta has great strategic value for the US military.

American officials say surveillance flights from Manta have led to more than half the illegal drug seizures in the region.

The coastal town also doubles up as a strategic look-out post for US forces monitoring warships heading north from the Middle East and Asia.

But Ecuador’s left-wing president Rafael Correa, a political ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, has said he would rather “cut off his arm” than allow the Americans to stay on at Manta.

The move to ban foreign bases in Ecuador was first proposed by the country’s constituent assembly last month.

It is one of several constitutional changes to be put to a national vote later in the year.

The dispute over the base comes during a period of strained relations between Ecuador and its neighbour Colombia – the US’s closest ally in the region.

Tension almost boiled over last month following a Colombian military raid inside Ecuador in which a top commander of the Colombian rebel group, Farc, was killed.

US Navy resurrects Fourth Fleet to police Latin America: here.

John Lindsay-Poland, New America Media: “Under the auspices of the drug war, the United States is returning to its historical pattern of using Central America and the Caribbean for its own military and strategic purposes. Even as a growing chorus of voices throughout Latin America argue that military responses to drug trafficking are ineffective against the narcotics trade and exacerbate existing human rights abuses and official corruption, the U.S. military presence in the region is growing”: here.

12 thoughts on “Ecuador bans foreign military bases

  1. Monday, May 5, 2008 by The Miami Herald

    US Base Is No Longer Welcome in Ecuador

    by Jim Wyss

    MANTA, Ecuador – Mayor Jorge Zambrano pulled up to the Manta City Hall in his black Ford Explorer, expecting to find a rally in support of the American military outpost that runs drug-surveillance flights from this gritty port city.

    He left an hour later behind a wall of riot shields and a cloud of Mace, as police fended off banner-waving protesters who crashed the event in March.

    With 18 months left on its decade-long contract, the U.S. Forward Operating Location in Manta has few friends in this South American nation — and fewer still who believe that the agreement has any hope of being extended.

    Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has vowed not to renew the base’s contract beyond its November 2009 expiration. And politicians drafting a new constitution have proposed banning the base or any other foreign military presence in the country.

    If the Manta base closes, it would leave the United States shopping for a new airstrip for the radar-mounted AWAC E3s, and P-3 spy planes that ply the Eastern Pacific, looking for drug runners.

    It would also be another dark turn for rapidly deteriorating U.S.-Ecuadorean relations.

    The United States sees the Manta compound — with its manicured lawns and staff of about 150 pilots and crew members — as part of a multinational effort that helped block $4.2 billion worth of narcotics last year.

    But in Ecuador, the Base de Manta is viewed largely as an affront to national sovereignty that threatens to drag the country into the regional drug war.

    Tensions

    The clashing views come as tensions between the nations are running high.

    President Correa — a staunch ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez — has made the ousting of the Manta base central to his presidency, and he recently led a shake-up of Ecuador’s armed forces, alleging that they were infiltrated by the CIA and too cozy with U.S. military advisors.

    Colombia, a staunch U.S. ally, is accusing the Correa administration of sympathizing with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Colombia claims that a FARC laptop, seized during a controversial and bloody cross-border raid into Ecuador on March 1, revealed that Correa’s election campaign took FARC money.

    Colombia also alleges that María Augusta Calle — a member of Correa’s Alianza País party who is pushing constitutional changes that would ban the Manta operation — allowed the FARC to use her bank account.

    The commander of the Forward Operating Location in Manta, Lt. Col. Robert Leonard, admits that the United States is losing the public-relations battle.

    ”There is so much misconception out there as to what we do here and what’s going on,” he said. “And as you get further away from Manta, those misconceptions grow.”

    Soon after the Colombian incursion, which killed 25 people, including FARC leader Raúl Reyes and an Ecuadorean national, rumors swirled in Ecuador’s press that it was spy planes from Manta that helped pinpoint the rebel camp — and may have even carried the bombs for the strike.

    The United States insists that the stories are fiction, and analysts point out that Colombia has little need for such help. But the rumors have found a receptive audience in Ecuador, and the government has called for an audit of Manta’s operations.

    What it will find, Leonard says, are a handful of unarmed aircraft, dedicated solely to looking for drug runners at sea and in the air.

    The base is one of three in the region — including El Salvador and Aruba-Curac¸ao — that feed information to the Joint Interagency Task Force in Key West. JIATF South, as it’s known, consists of different U.S. agencies and liaison officers from 12 nations, including Ecuador.

    Wrong Message

    Paco Velasco, a member of the Alianza País party, said that fighting drugs is a national priority, but that the Manta base sends the wrong message. ”A foreign military base here makes our armed forces look bad, and it makes our nation look like it’s not capable of taking care of itself,” Velasco said.

    It also gives the appearance that Ecuador is helping U.S.-backed efforts in Colombia to fight the FARC — a conflict that Ecuador has tried to stay out of, he said.

    Responding to the opposition, the United States has said it is willing to abandon the airstrip and move its operations to the remaining Forward Operating Locations, or to new locations in either Colombia or Peru.

    At the same time, however, Manta’s command is in the midst of an aggressive charm offensive to win supporters and — just maybe — the chance to stay.

    For the last few months, Leonard has been escorting journalists and politicians around the base, inviting them to “open any door and look under any rug.”

    On show is the $71 million investment that has helped turn this once tiny airstrip into an international airport, complete with a state-of-the-art fire station. The base’s planes haul in tons of donations and emergency aid, and the base supports dozens of charities, including orphanages, schools for the handicapped and a beauty pageant.

    The Manta operation pumps $6.5 million a year into the local economy and employs about 150 local staff members, Leonard said.

    Those are figures that the government should be focusing on, said Zambrano, Manta’s longtime mayor.

    While the base is not the primary economic engine in this town of 250,000 that lives off industrial fishing, it does help, he said.

    ”The base not only creates direct jobs, but there are hundreds of small businesses that provide services to the base,” Zambrano said.

    Back in Quito, political analyst Simón Pachano cannot foresee a scenario in which the Manta base might be allowed to stay open.

    Unlike his predecessors, Correa is enjoying unprecedented popularity. And his aggressive anti-American and anti-Colombian stance plays well in this nation accustomed to taking a back seat in regional politics.

    In exchange for using the base free of charge for 10 years, the United States agreed to expand and update the airstrip, and cooperate with Ecuador on counter-narcotics initiatives.

    The fact that the 1999 deal was never approved by Ecuador’s full legislature — only that body’s International Affairs Committee — has made it a political target, Pachano said.

    ”The Manta agreement has always been viewed as a mistake, and it’s even less politically viable now,” said Pachano, a professor at the Latin American University for social sciences.

    As a cab driver in Manta, René Santana says he has mixed feelings about the base. While he appreciates the extra dollars he makes shuttling crew members or visitors to the airport, the extra money has its price.

    ”As an Ecuadorean, I can’t go anywhere in the world without a hassle, but we let these U.S. military people come here like they own the place,” he said. “All human beings want their home to be respected. We all want national sovereignty.”

    © 2008 The Miami Herald

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  2. Against Venezuela and Ecuador,
    Bush plays the ‘massive destruction weapons’ game again.
    Short inventory list of disinformation .
    10 wars, 10 medialies

    MICHEL COLLON
    May 16th, 2008

    Every war is preceded by a big medialie. Today, Bush threats Venezuela and Ecuador. Tomorrow, Iran ? And after that, who’s next ?
    With, as the puppet, President Uribe, drug dealer and Indians slaughterer (four millions refugees). This one Uribe pretends that proofs of Chavez support to terrorism and militarization of the region have been found in the indestructible Raul Reyes’s (FARC) computer.
    Mainstream newspaper reflect this propaganda campaign for the next Bush’s war. Let’s recall how many times USA and those same medias have manipulated us. Every major war is ‘justified’ by what will appear as disinformation, short list :

    1. VIETNAM (1964-1975) :
    – MEDIALIE : August 2 and 3 (1964), North Vietnam forces are accused by US government of attacks against two US military ship in the Tonkin Bay.

    – WHAT WE’VE LEARNED LATER ON : No ships have been ever attacked. That was a White House’s pure invention.

    – REAL OBJECTIVE : To impeach Vietnam independence and to maintain the US domination in this region.

    – CONSEQUENCES : Millions of victims, genetic malformations (Orange Agent), massive social problems.

    2. GRENADA (1983) :
    – MEDIALIE : The small Caribbean island is accused to install a Soviet military base and to attend to the life of US doctors.

    – WHAT WE’VE LEARNED LATER ON : Completely false. US president Reagan invented all of that from scratch.

    – REAL OBJECTIVE : To impeach socials and democratic reforms of the Prime minister, Bishop (who was murdered). Reagan said ‘We cannot allow communist apaches to take over our private garden…’

    – CONSEQUENCES : US Marines invasion, brutal oppression et restoration of Washington control over the country.

    3. PANAMA (1989) :
    – MEDIALIE : The US marines invasion was setup to arrest president Noriega accused to be a drug dealer.

    – WHAT WE’VE LEARNED LATER : CIA agent, Noriega claimed Panama Channel sovereignty at the end of the lease. Unacceptable for USA.

    – REAL OBJECTIVE : To maintain US control over this strategic communication way.

    – CONSEQUENCES : US bombing killed from 2 to 4000 civilians, ignored by medias.

    4. IRAQ (1991) :
    – MEDIALIE : Iraqis stoled incubators in Kuwait-city maternities.

    – WHAT WE’VE LEARNED LATER: Total invention produced by Hill & Knowlton advertising agency, paid by the Emir of Kuwait himself.

    – REAL OBJECTIVE : To impeach middle-east to gain independence against USA domination and to maintain Israel military control over the region.

    – CONSEQUENCES : Uncountable amount of victims during the war, followed by a long embargo, medication included .

    5. SOMALIA (1993) :
    – MEDIALIE : Mister Kouchner presents himself as a hero of a humanitarian campaign in Somalia.

    – WHAT WE’VE LEARNED LATER: Four US companies had bought a quarter of Somalia underground, rich of oil.

    – REAL OBJECTIVE : To control a military strategic region.

    – CONSEQUENCES : Unable to control Somalia, USA maintains the country in a total chaos.

    6. BOSNIA (1992 – 1995) :
    – MEDIALIE : US Firm Ruder Finn and Bernard Kouchner denounced so called ‘Serb’s extermination camps’.

    – WHAT WE’VE LEARNED LATER : Ruder Finn and Kouchner lied. Those camps were for war prisoners ready for exchange. Muslim Bosnian President Itzebegovic admitted it.

    – REAL OBJECTIVE : To destroy the socialist Yugoslavia, its social coverage system, to submit the area under multinationals control, to control strategic Danube river and balkanises roads.

    – CONSEQUENCES : Four years of terrifying war for all nationalities (Bosnians, Serbs and Croats). Provoked by Berlin, prolonged by Washington.

    7. YUGOSLAVIA (1999) :
    – MEDIALIE : Kosovo’s Albanese were genocided by the Serbs.

    – WHAT WE’VE LEARNED LATER : Pure invention as admitted by Jamie Shea, official NATO speaker.

    – REAL OBJECTIVE : To impose NATO control over the Balkans and its transformation as the World Wide Police Force. To install US military base in Kosovo.

    – CONSEQUENCES : 2000 victims of NATO bombing. Ethnic cleaning of Kosovo by UCK covered by NATO.

    8. AFGHANISTAN (2001) :
    – MEDIALIE : Bush wanted to take revenge after 9/11 and to capture Bin Laden.

    – WHAT WE’VE LEARNED LATER : There is no proof of the existence of the Al-Qaida organisation. Anyway, Taliban had proposed to extradite Bin Laden.

    – REAL OBJECTIVE : To military control this strategic Asian region, to build a pipe line across Afghanistan to control energy supply of South Asia.

    – CONSEQUENCES : Long term occupation and massive increase of opium production and traffic.

    9. IRAQ (2003) :
    – MEDIALIE : Saddam has dangerous massive destruction weapons, stated Colin Powel at UNO, test tube in his hand.

    – WHAT WE’VE LEARNED LATER: White House imposed to its services to falsify (Libby case) or to create false reports.

    – REAL OBJECTIVE : All oil resources control and possibilities to blackmails rivals : Europe, Japan, China…

    – CONSEQUENCES : Iraq in chaos and civil war, women conditions back to submission and obscurantism.

    10 VENEZUELA – ECUADOR – (2008 ?) :
    – MEDIALIE : Chavez supports terrorism, imports weapons, is a dictator (Final pretext has not been chosen yet).

    – WHAT WE’VE ALREADY LEARNED : Many medialies have been already downplayed : Chavez shooting at his people, Chavez anti-Semite, Chavez militarist… The game continues…

    – REAL OBJECTIVE : US major companies wants to keep control over the continental oil and others resources. They are afraid of the democratic and social liberation of Latin American.

    – CONSEQUENCES : Washington leads a global war against the entire south continent : putsches, economical sabotages, blackmails, installation of US military bases next to the natural resources…

    CONCLUSION :
    Anyway, every war is preceded and justified by a massive medialies campaign. And our inventory is far to be complete !
    To impeach wars is to denounce those medialies the sooner as possible and in the largest way. Thanks for circulating this article, for translating it into other languages if possible (available in French, a Spanish version is coming soon) and to sending us the translation. In the news war, you are the real force !

    MICHEL COLLON

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  3. South American Security Policies: Meaning and Prospects
    with Alberto Mueller Rojas*

    Tuesday 27 May, 7 pm.
    Transnational Institute, De Wittenstraat 25 Amsterdam (top floor)
    free entrance

    Mr Mueller currently serves as Vice-President of the United Socialist
    Party of Venezuela (PSUV) (2008), and as an advisor to President Chávez
    on international affairs and defence policy. He has recently played a
    crucial role in both the new South American Security Council and in
    Venezuela’s humanitarian mission to secure the release of FARC hostages.

    Mr Mueller has been an Army Division General (now retired), Chief of the
    Presidential General Staff (2007), Venezuelan Ambassador to the Republic
    of Chile (2004), Senator in the Republic Congress, and leader of Patria
    Para Todos (PPT) party (2003). He has taught Political Sciences,
    International Relations and Strategy at the Central University of
    Venezuela, the Simón Bolívar University, the Institute of High Studies
    for National Defence, the Institute of High Diplomatic Studies Pedro
    Gual of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and in other education centres of
    the armed forces. He has published several essays and articles on
    strategy, international relations and armed forces, and political Latin
    American systems.

    TNI is very pleased to host an evening with Mr Mueller to discuss the
    new South American Security Council and related matters.

    Background

    On January 27, 2008, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez invited the
    governments of Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua to join forces and
    form something akin to a regional defensive alliance. Perceived U.S.
    threats to regional integration prompted the initiative. Chávez stated
    that Latin American countries should “work to form a joint defence
    strategy and start joining armed forces, air forces, armies, navies,
    National Guards, and intelligence forces”.

    Some weeks later, in March, a deep regional crisis sparked when Colombia
    bombed a rebel camp in Ecuador. The resolution to the crisis was reached
    without Washington’s involvement and was seen as a milestone for Latin
    American diplomacy.

    In the aftermath of the recent crisis, the Brazilian government proposed
    the creation of a South American Security Council. The new organisation
    is not intended to have operational capacity but would co-ordinate
    defence policy in the region. The body, which excludes the United
    States, would be up and running by the end of 2008, according to recent
    statements by the governments of Brazil and Venezuela. “This is a South
    American council and we have no obligation to ask for a licence from the
    United States to do it”, Brazil’s Defence Minister Nelson Jobim declared
    during a visit to Caracas in April. Several South American countries
    have already committed their integration in the new regional defence body.

    For further information please contact:

    Andrea Sturkenboom
    +31 30 662 66 08
    andrea@tni.org

    Transnational Institute
    P.O. Box 14656
    1001 LD Amsterdam
    The Netherlands
    tel +31 20 662 6608
    fax +31 20 675 7176
    http://www.tni.org

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  12. Leger VS test materieel in Suriname

    Het Amerikaanse leger gaat vanaf volgend jaar voertuigen in de
    Surinaamse jungle testen.

    De twee landen hebben daarover een akkoord bereikt. De Amerikaanse
    minister van Defensie Gates ontkent dat de VS een militaire basis in
    Suriname wil hebben. De Amerikanen raken in 2009 hun Zuid-Amerikaanse
    basis in Ecuador kwijt.

    Voordelig

    President Venetiaan van Suriname zegt dat de militaire contacten met
    de VS ook voor zijn land voordelig zijn.

    Bron:

    rtl.nl

    Commentaar: dat voordeel geldt hoogstens een beetje op korte termijn
    voor de staatskas. Over de nadelige gevolgen voor milieu,
    onafhankelijkheid, enz. van Suriname heeft Venetiaan het niet. Dat
    hebben ze in Ecuador beter begrepen.

    Like

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