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consider the lease to be unconstitutional and a violation of national sovereignty, and would prefer to have the troops withdrawn now.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.

Friday, March 9, 2007


Yesterday we had a long day on the road with a caravan to Manta. This morning we had a conference at the university with speeches against the Manta base, and in the afternoon a march to the base. Right now we are having a closing fiesta at Manta´s Plaza Civic. A bit later we´ll get on buses for a night ride back to Quito. When I get a chance, I´ll try to upload more info and some pix.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Preventing the Next War in Iran

Medea Benjamin from Code Pink leads a discussion on how to prevent the next U.S. war in Iran.


The three days in Quito are filled with meetings. We are divided into two tracks. One track is a series of workshops geared toward organizing a new anti-base coalition. The second track includes self-organized events over a wide range of topics related to militarization and the presence of military bases. These included struggles against military bases in places such as Vieques, Hawaii, and the Philippines. Other presentations were more thematic, such as discussions of the environmental impacts of bases, Plan Colombia, and efforts to close the School of the Americas. A series of film screenings on struggles against military bases and broader peace issues also runs throughout the event. Thursday morning we will join a women’s caravan for peace to Manta where the U.S. has a Forward Operating Location (FOL) base.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


The International Conference for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases opened on Monday, March 5 at the Catholic University in Quito. The inaugural panel was a mixture of ceremony and an opening salvo of forceful statements against foreign military bases. Quito’s mayor, retired General Paco Moncayo, welcomed delegates to Quito, and then the university’s rector presented a welcome to the university. Ecuador’s newly elected left-populist president Rafael Correa was also invited but unable to attend.

Nieve Solórzano from the Coalición No-Bases Ecuador
Corazon Fabros from the Philippines
Subsecretary of Defense (Miguel Caraval?)

After the Inaugural Ceremony, a series of three panels presented perspectives from around the world on the impacts of military bases, and the struggles of social movements to abolish them. Speakers in particular focused on aspects of the environment, gender, human rights, peace, democracy, and sovereignty.

After a full day of speeches, the mayor arranged for a tour of Quito’s historic center that culminated in a reception in the City Museum. There, a mayor’s representative greeted Lindsey Collen as an honored guest of Quito, and in turn Collen accepted the honor in the name of all of the delegates. A folklore ballet then entertained delegates with traditional Andean songs and dance.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Back in Ecuador

Back in Ecuador, one place where I've spent a lot of time over the last 17 years--and it looks like the only place other than Kenya that I'll visit twice on my sabbatical. Running around buying books today. Tomorrow (Sunday) is usually pretty quiet (ie, boring) here. Registration for the no military bases conference is tomorrow, and then the conference itself starts on Monday. It will probably be a busy week.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

No Military Bases

I am traveling to Quito and Manta in Ecuador for the International Conference to Abolish Foreign Military Bases (March 5-9, 2007).

Powered by Blogger

| Marc Becker's Home Page | |