3 April 2008 by Helga Serrano N.

The National Assembly that is writing a new Constitution for Ecuador approved the
following article on April 1, 2008: "Ecuador is a territory of peace. No foreign
military bases or foreign installations for military purposes may be installed. No
national military bases can be granted to foreign armies or security forces." This is a
triumph not only for organizations such as the Ecuador No Bases Coalition that have
proposed that this article be included in the Constitution, but also for the global
movement for the abolition of foreign military bases. This also, of course, also affects
imperial strategy that seeks to control the Latin American and Caribbean region.

When the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases was formed in
Ecuador in March 2007 with more than 400 activists from 40 countries struggling against
bases in their own countries, nobody imagined that one year later we would share Share A unit of ownership interest in a corporation or financial asset, representing one part of the total capital stock. Its owner (a shareholder) is entitled to receive an equal distribution of any profits distributed (a dividend) and to attend shareholder meetings. such
good news. During the Conference, the negative impacts of such bases on sovereignty,
democracy, nature and human rights, especially indigenous peoples, women and children,
were discussed. The article approved today in Ecuador clearly provides space for hope
to the people and organizations that demand sovereignty, self-determination and dignity
in the world.

In Ecuador, since the agreement for the use of the Manta Base by the United States was
signed in 1999 for a ten-year period, many organizations have been demanding that the US
military personnel abandon Manta. Since President Correa assumed office in 2007, he has
insisted in his committment not to renew the Agreement that ends in 2009. This position
has been supported by the Ecuadorean people. However, in the last two weeks, the mayor
of Manta, right wing Jorge Zambrano, has declared that he will call a referendum for the
people of Manta to decide on the renewal of the Agreement. According to the Regional
Foundation on Human Rights (INREDH), 55% of the population in Manta is against such
renewal. Youth and other organizations have expressed their strong opposition to this
proposal, considering that this affects not only Manta, but that this is an issue of
national sovereignty and Ecuadoreans have taken their position. However, with the
article approved today, there is no bases for the Mayor’s propsal, since it clearly
states that Ecuadorean military bases cannot be used by foreign armies.

After the violation of Ecuador’s sovereignty by the Colombian army on March 1, 2008, the
Constitutional Assembly requested that its Sovereignty, International Relations and
Latin American Integration Committee follow up on such acts. One of the main
resolutions so far has been the request made by the Committee’s President, María Augusta
Calle, for an immediate audit of the Manta Base and the US Forward Operating Location
(FOL), considering the persistent rumours on the participation of this US military post
on the March 1 events.

A communiqué distributed by the Ecuador No Bases Coalition last week said that:
"activities carried out by US military personnel from Manta are considered a risk for
Ecuador. Ecuador’s army has serious concerns about the support that could have been
provided by AWACs for the March 1 bombings carried out in the border with Colombia.
Ecuador’s Army is asking what was the activity of the HC130 that left from Manta on the
night of the bombing and returned the next day." All this should be investigated by
the Assembly in the following weeks.

Today, organizations in Ecuador celebrate that our country is a territory of peace and
that we will never again have foreign military personnel in our territory. Today the
world justice and peace movement that works for demilitarization and the abolition of
foreign military bases is also celebrating with the Ecuadoreans a position of dignity
that will contribute to build global equality, justice, peace and solidarity. And that
is why it is important to recognise the important contribution made by the Assembly
Representatives in Ecuador, by placing in the new Constitution this article which will
no doubt be an example for other countries around the world.




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