In 1999, in the regime of Jamil Mahuad, an agreement with the United States began the collaboration of US military personnel who stationed themselves at the Manta Base for 10 years.
And after assuming power, Rafael Correa announced that this would not be renewed arguing that it affected the sovereignty of Ecuador. The prohibition of foreign bases in the country was introduced in the Constitution approved in 2008.
Ten years later, Ecuador again accepted international collaboration for the fight against drug trafficking, but this time not through a foreign air base in Ecuadorian territory, but with overflights of the P-3 Orion aircraft that arrived at 5:05 pm yesterday to Guayaquil and today opens its period of recognition flights.
In the inaugural flight will be the Minister of the Interior, María Paula Romo, who was in Guayaquil yesterday and ruled out that the arrival of the aircraft means a foreign intervention. The cooperation of the United States responds to an agreement.
The general commander of the Naval Force, Renán Ruiz, said that the flights will be basically aeronautical exploration and that Ecuadorian officers will be on the crew.
The Ministry of Defense reported that flights will be until September 11. Deputy Minister Diego Gomez said that the enemy now has no territory, their crimes are transnational and therefore requires multilateral security coordination by several countries.
After discarding that it is a new military base such as Manta, he said that the flights will be coordinated with the Ministry of Defense and the crimes that are sought to fight with this aircraft are: organized crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal fishing , contraband and, in special cases, search for aircraft and boats in distress.
The operation of the aircraft will be on the Guayaquil runway and the emergency runways will be Salinas and Baltra.
The information obtained on each flight will be sent to Ecuador immediately.
A team with the Naval Force, National Police and Air Force that will participate in the flight, an operator of the Navy will monitor on the screens and at the request of the team from Ecuador it could alter the flight patterns, if necessary.
The general commander of the Air Force, Patricio Mora, explained that the preliminary flights are given in order to test the agreed operating protocols.
The agreement between the two countries is not yet signed, at first, it is expected that the permanence of the US aircraft will be temporary, seven days per visit, although it is still not defined if it would be monthly, bimonthly or quarterly. Nor the number of crew that will come from the United States. When the Manta Base was operating, 180 Americans came to operate from there.
The flights that will be carried out now will be exclusively on the sea, not territorial or to operate on the northern border. (I)