Marc Becker's Home Page


Find on

No Military Bases  

Sunday, March 11, 2007

International Conference for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases

(this is my report for WORT Third World View program)

An International Conference for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases held this past week in the South American country of Ecuador culminated with a march calling for the withdrawal of United States troops from the Manta airforce base.

The conference was organized by the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases. The network is a global organization of individuals, organizations, social movements, and coalitions working for the closure of foreign military bases and other forms of military presence worldwide. The conference brought together 300 activists from around the world united in a common concern for the proliferation of military bases, primarily those operated by the United States.

Ecuador was selected as the location for the conference because of a growing movement to evict United States troops from the Manta base. Since 1999, the United States has used the base as a so-called Forward Operating Location purportedly to halt drug trafficking from neighboring Colombia.

Critics charge that the presence of U.S. troops is dragging Ecuador into a growing regional conflict, and that the mission has expanded into other unrelated
activities?especially that of providing surveillance on Colombia?s internal political conflicts and interdiction of immigrants leaving Ecuador.

On the first day of the conference, Subsecretary of the Ministry of Defense Miguel Carvajal confirmed that the Ecuadorian government will not renew the United States lease on the base when it expires in 2009. Others consider the lease to be unconstitutional and a violation of national sovereignty, and would prefer to have the troops withdrawn now.

The no-bases network began two years ago at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The week-long conference began with three days of meeting in Ecuador?s capital city of Quito to strengthen the coordinating efforts. Panels focused on the impact of military bases on the environment, gender, human rights, peace, democracy, and sovereignty. Discussions included struggles against military bases in Vieques, Japan, Korea, Hawaii, and the Philippines.

On Thursday, March 8, International Women?s Day, activists joined a Women for Peace Caravan from Quito to Manta with intermediary stops demanding the closure of foreign
military bases. The week ended with the march on the Manta base and a festival celebrating the successes of the no-bases campaign.

Powered by Blogger

| Marc Becker's Home Page | |