2014 was about to end and the San Cristobal airport in Galapagos was delivered after being subjected to a remodeling that cost USD 7.5 million. The main building was enlarged, a new 300 m² technical block was built, an access road to the site was opened, the fire service hangar was remodeled and the night lighting was worked on.
This has remained so far. Now that the Minister of Defense, Oswaldo Jarrín, announced that this track will be used to combat drug trafficking and illicit activities such as illegal fishing, “we want to improve the conditions to operate especially at night”.
The intention is that he can work 24 hours a day and receive two American planes: the Orion P3 and the Awac, destined to fight criminal groups that operate at sea. A little after 09:00, the Government issued a statement and clarified that the operation of these aircraft does not imply the installation of a military base occupied by United States personnel.
Two hours earlier, Minister Jarrin said that the planes could occupy the track only once each month and that each visit would last from two to three days. According to the authorities, the use of the runway would only occur in cases of emergencies or refueling.
Enlarge Oswaldo Jarrín (right), Minister of Defense, announced that the runway at the San Cristobal airport will be used to combat drug trafficking and illicit activities such as illegal fishing. Photo: API Currently, at the airport of San Cristóbal, there is already an aircraft chase for aeronautical exploration and a helicopter destined for aeromedical evacuations.
The facilities are managed by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC). Its owner, Anyelo Acosta, warned that the tasks to be carried out “are simply a collaboration for the control of the territorial sea.” Once the aircraft enter from Galapagos, the idea of the Government is to create the so-called “security triangle”, which is made up of Manta and Guayaquil.
That happens because at this moment the Orion P3 and the Awac already fly from the Main Port and also they can do it from the Manabi capital. “There are not and there will not be foreign military bases in the country,” assured the president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno.
“We zealously preserve the Galapagos Islands. Aerial surveillance is a joint activity among several countries to care for this world heritage. Peace, sovereignty and national security are our legacy, “Moreno said in his Twitter account and published a statement.
In that text it says that “the cooperation with the United States has been determined by the Government. with exclusive purpose of improving the runway of the San Cristóbal airport and allowing the refueling of two aircraft to monitor illegal activities of the extensive marine reserve, in order to protect national sovereignty against these threats. ”
“The cooperation will be expanded, together with the governments of Peru, Chile and Colombia, to have a regional position against these types of threats, within their respective jurisdictions,” he said in the statement, which also mentions that the president of the Governing Council of the Special Regime of Galápagos, Norman Wray, stresses that in addition to the drug trafficking threat, there are other illegal activities that affect Ecuador as “illegal fishing or pressure on our resources by foreign fishing fleets”.
There are not and there will not be foreign military bases in the country. We zealously preserve the Galapagos Islands. Aerial surveillance is a joint activity among several countries to care for this world heritage. Peace, sovereignty and national security are our
No hay ni habrá bases militares extranjeras en el país. Preservamos con celo las Islas Galápagos. La vigilancia aérea es una actividad conjunta entre varios países para cuidar este patrimonio mundial. ¡La paz, la soberanía y la seguridad nacional son nuestro legado! pic.twitter.com/rzuJ2M3Wej— Lenín Moreno (@Lenin) 18 de junio de 2019
legacy! pic.twitter.com/rzuJ2M3Wej – Lenín Moreno (@Lenin) June 18, 2019 Official data show that drug trafficking mafias use clandestine corridors in the north and south of the Galapagos, to take routes to Central America and the United States.
Other investigations assure that the drug traffickers leave by boat from Manabí or Esmeraldas and reach the maritime southeast of the Islands. This route is used to evade the coast guards that patrol the north side of Ecuador. The boats, which depart from Esmeraldas, go down to Manabí and go to the Galapagos.
The crossing takes four days. Near the Islands, the crew members are assisted by fishermen, who provide them with the necessary fuel to reach Central America. At that point they leave the drug, which is withdrawn by people from Honduras and Guatemala, who carry the loads to Mexico. On October 22, the Anti-Narcotics Investigations Unit (UIAN) executed the operation Lady Mar.
The narcos carried 1.6 tons of cocaine. For that police incursion, the agents coordinated with the Dirnea and with the US Coast Guard. The narco-licit organization hid alkaloid blocks in 8 fishing boats. The small fiber boats of glass were towed by a fishing vessel.
That aroused the alert of investigating agents. 31 fishermen were arrested. The drug was brought directly to the United States. The operation was supported by the Orion P3 plane. In 2016, this newspaper already revealed that the Galapagos Islands have positioned themselves as a strategic point of the mafias.
By then, the World Customs Organization revealed how difficult it is “total and effective” control of the aquatic space and that only 2% of the containers circulating by sea can be inspected on a global scale. Juan Carlos Barragán knows how the mafias operate.
He was general of the Police and managed the National Anti-drug Directorate. This Tuesday June 18, 2019 said that the tasks that are executed from San Cristóbal will allow to fight the crime, the delinquency and the posters.
“It is a strength for the country, for the world, for the United States. That is, we all win. ” The coordinator of Inredh (DD.HH), Luis Ángel Saavedra, however, assured that the anti-drug policy should be thought from the issue of consumption and not only from the military. (I)