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Activists are gathering for a not-so-fond farewell party outside the US embassy in London today (18th) to say Hasta La Vista to American military bases in Ecuador. The withdrawal follows the expiration of the lease on the US base at Manta, a lease that Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa had offered to renew on one condition – that Washington allow him to open an Ecuadorian military base in Miami. The Americans declined the offer and now the US military has until the start of November to pack up their guns, boots and abuses of sovereignty and get the hell out.

Unfortunately, Uncle Sam’s boys won’t be going far, just a quick march across the border to Colombia, where they will establish five new military bases to compliment the two already active.

The expansion of the US military presence in Colombia is part of the recently renewed and deeply controversial “Plan Colombia” (See Late last month regional leaders gathered in Argentina to condemn the move, which is also facing resistance from human rights organisations and social movements within Colombia.

Indigenous organisations have been particularly vocal in their opposition, as communities close to the proposed sites are set to be among those most affected. Luis Evelis Andrade, head of the National Indigenous Organisation of Colombia (ONIC), surmised the mood saying, “The Colombian state and the government are riding roughshod over what I understand to be the feelings and the collective imagination about the meaning of foreign military bases in any country, and especially in Latin America”.

* See

Keywords: colombia, ecuador, latin america, plan colombia


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