An extensive flag of the United States, in June of this year, was displayed inside the building that represents the highest authority in Ecuador, the Palace of Carondelet, and, with it, the clear representation of the renewed presence of the North American country. President Lenin Moreno’s decision to receive several senior US officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, charted a new path in foreign policy. After a criticized agenda, it was materialized, in August, the opening of a Security Cooperation Office (OCS), which gave way to what some analysts call: Manta Base 2.0. The news is part of “The 15 facts of Ecuador in 2018”.
When asked if there would be the possibility of reinstating a US military base in Manta, closed in 2009 after 10 years of being in Ecuadorian territory, President Moreno, jokingly, said: “Enchanted, the moment in which the States United allows us to also put a base in Miami for us to control that the rights of migrants are not violated. I say it as a joke. “
With this speech, in January 2018, he demonstrated his clear interest in resuming relations with the United States, his most repeated argument: he is Ecuador’s main trading partner.
The first visit that Lenin Moreno received was that of a delegation from the United States Government, led by the Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Shannon, on February 27, where they discussed cooperation issues.
“With great cordiality, we have resumed a relationship that will be beneficial in many areas,” said President Moreno, and with that, he began a parade of American officials by Carondelet.
In the middle of an armed conflict with irregular groups on the northern border, a high military level of the United States arrived in Ecuador in March: Lieutenant General Joseph P. DiSalvo, Military Subcommander, and Ambassador Liliana Ayalde, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Command South of the United States. During their stay in the country, they met with defense authorities, both civilian and military.
Ecuador aimed to seek cooperation, among other things, military and, from the public, there was already talk of a possible installation of a new US military base. However, Ambassador Liliana Ayalde affirmed that the North American country has no intention of reopening a military base in Ecuador. “We are going to see what is the interest of the Ecuadorian authorities for a return of our military,” she said. Similarly, the Ecuadorian security and defense authorities denied this possibility.
Since 2009, relations with the United States have been “frozen” with the departure of Manta Base, promoted by former President Rafael Correa, and reaffirmed with the closure of the United States Development Agency (USAID) in 2014.
But in June 2018, the visit of the vice president of North America, Mike Pence, President Moreno ratified his estrangement with the foreign policy of his predecessor and now seeks to “refresh relations” and promote trade with the United States, according to the site official of ProEcuador, there is a negative balance for Ecuador of USD $ 922,347 million between January and March of this year. “The United States is our main trading partner”, reiterated President Moreno, Foreign Minister José Valencia and a large majority of Ecuadorian authorities as justification of the presence of Pence and other officials.
The agreements reached were the delivery of money to Ecuador to, among other things, fight corruption and strengthen security. In addition, Pence thanked the Ecuadorian President for the restoration of the Office of Cooperation for Security in the US Embassy in Ecuador, which took place in August 2018.
“Base (military) no, our Constitution forbids us, but cooperation of what can give us this great people that is the United States,” said President Moreno. The Minister of Defense, Oswaldo Jarrín, added that every three or four days, an American plane will come for intelligence operations.
The first flight of the US military plane (Orion P3), in Ecuadorian territory, took place on September 6 and without state authorities on board. Its operations will be from the Simón Bolívar Air Base in Guayaquil, with the purpose of detecting and monitoring crimes such as drug trafficking in the borders and the sea.
“The important thing is to recognize that everything that he did, in his time, (the base) of Manta, can now be done by just one plane, because of the advance of technology that has only the capacity of a power like the United States”, Oswaldo Jarrín specified at the end of August.
“It would seem that the cry of ‘Gringos, go home’ is silenced in Ecuador to open the Base 2.0 with impunity,” wrote analyst Marín Pastor, who explained that this “cooperation” should alert Ecuadorians for their unconstitutionality, since, according to Article 5 of the 2008 Constitution, Ecuador declares itself as a territory of peace, where “the establishment of foreign military bases or foreign installations for military purposes will not be allowed. Besides, it is prohibited to assign national military bases to foreign armed or security forces. ” (I)