Ecuador Giving U.S. Air Base The Boot

Flag of ecuador

Flag of ecuador

MANTA, Ecuador — When U.S. officers stationed in this humid coastal city give reasons they should continue their decade-old airborne surveillance mission, they talk not only about fighting drug runners on the open seas but about the $71 million they’ve spent to renovate and maintain the city’s airport, and the $6.5 million they inject each year into the local economy.

But the government of Ecuador has decided, and Washington has apparently agreed, that one of the most important foreign outposts in the United States’ war on drugs will close. The 450 U.S. Air Force personnel and contractors stationed at a military base that shares the airport’s runway will be leaving next year.

This decision reflects both the prevailing political climate here — standing up to the United States tends to be widely popular — and a new economic reality. With major projects underway in Manta by the Venezuelan government and a Hong Kong company, the U.S. dollars don’t amount to much.

President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela stood alongside President Rafael Correa of Ecuador in July to announce a jointly financed $6 billion oil refinery to be constructed on the outskirts of Manta. And Hong Kong-based Hutchison Port Holdings has begun building what will be among the largest deep-water ports on the west coast of South America, a $523 million project with piers, cranes, tuna-boat terminals, roads, and the capacity to eventually handle 1.6 million shipping containers a year at the continent’s closest point to Asia.

“The U.S. stopped being the benchmark of what is good for Latin America,” said Gustavo Larrea, Ecuador’s security minister. “Because Latin America did everything that the U.S. asked it to do and wasn’t able to get out of poverty, the North American myth lost political weight.”

full article: www.insight-info.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: