US Organizations Support Ecuador Military Base Closure
More than 40 peace, religious and solidarity organizations publicly declared their support in October for Ecuadorâ€™s decision to close the US military base in Manta, Ecuador, in a letter sent to President Rafael Correa.
â€œWe applaud your administrationâ€™s publicly stated decision to not renew the agreement for the FOL in Manta, and to withdraw from the UNITAS naval exercises that were held in June, led by the U.S. military,â€ the groups said.
The groups pointed out that the US commander in Manta has said the baseâ€™s operations are â€œvery importantâ€ to Plan Colombia, and that Plan Colombia has not been effective against drugs. â€œThe militarized approach to reducing traffic of illegal drugs represents a tragic decision that has not affected the availability or price of these drugs in our communities,â€ they wrote. â€œEvery dollar spent on military approaches to drugs represents a theft from programs for at-risk youth in the United States, for investment in reducing the United Statesâ€™ carbon emissions, and for payment of other debts our country owes to the world.â€
President Correa has said publicly that it would be possible to maintain the base agreement, which expires in 2009, if the United States allows Ecuador to have a military base in Florida.
Fellowship of Reconciliation coordinated the letter to Correa, which was signed by leaders of the American Friends Service Committee, United Methodist Board of Church and Society, School of the Americas Watch, United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers, among others. â€œIn the struggle to demilitarize our countryâ€™s relations with yours, you may count on us,â€ they wrote.