By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory
In a seemingly bizarre decision, the Ecuadorian government has given permission to the US Airforce to use Galapagos Islands as their airfield. This has reportedly angered many critics in the small South American country who have deemed this step as unconstitutional.
Interestingly, this deal signed between the US and the right wing Ecuadorian government has been denied by the US. It apparently gave Pentagon allowance to use the tiny airport of San Cristobal Island as an airstrip to fight drug trafficking.
The South American news broadcaster Telesur has reported that a Boeing 707 carrying radio surveillance and a Lockheed P-3 Orion would be monitoring the Pacific, using Galapagos as the launching point.
This is unconstitutional because the Ecuadorian constitution prevents the use of national territory by any foreign military under any circumstance. In addition, it is also prohibited to use the national military bases by other nationals for their military.
Oswaldo Jarrin, the Defence Minister, has tried reassuring the critics by mentioning that the US would pay any and all costs that would be incurred in the process. Also, this wasn’t a military ‘base’, for a base would point towards permanence, and the US wasn’t looking for a permanent field, apparently.
To Ecuador, the Galapagos is a natural aircraft carrier because it is thousands of kilometres away from the coast. Jarrin also mentions that the island replenishes them, nourishes them, and is definitely permanent. It would last indefinitely.
But Ecuador’s former president Rafael Correa has made it perfectly clear in a tweet that the island was not a carrier for the USA.
He hit back towards Jarrin, and in a veiled reference to Jarrin assuring compensation from the USA, has also brought down disrepute upon the government he belongs to.
The spokesperson to the US Ministry of Defence, Chris Mitchell has mentioned it to The Independent that there have been no negotiations going on between the DoD and the Ecuadorian Government regarding the usage of the Galapagos islands as an airstrip. Despite that, both countries continue to share a degree of friendship with each other.
The opposition Congressman, Carlos Viteri has strongly objected to this and believes that it is simply unethical that the Ministry was planning this. The fact is that it would cede a part of Ecuador into itself – something that must be prohibited.
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With Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Islands have come into universal renown with travellers frequenting it in order to acclimatize themselves to the unique ecosystem present in that area. These Islands have a UNESCO world heritage site tag, which gives them protected status.
Let’s see what the US Ministry of Defence reveals about all this!
Image Credit: 123RF