Galapagos: from world heritage to aircraft carrier of the US?

The government of Lenin Moreno has announced an agreement with the US that would open up the San Cristobal island airport to US military flights.

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The United States has always coveted the Galapagos (part of the Republic of Ecuador) invoking the Good Neighbor Agreements and the Monroe Doctrine. During WWII it occupied the archipelago manu militari for 7 years. Now, the Ecuadorian government of Lenin Moreno affirms it has reached an agreement with the US. An agreement for which details are scarce or unknown, that is said to open up the San Cristobal island airport to US military flights.


Ecuadorians first learned in June about the intentions of mister Moreno’s government to allow the US military flights when the Andean nation’s Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrin declared: “Galapagos is a natural aircraft carrier”. Condemnation by his fellow citizens and an international outcry followed.


During a press conference attended by foreign correspondents, the minister confirmed that US, P-3 Orion and AWACS aircraft will operate from the Galapagos, to combat drug trafficking and illegal fisheries, alleging that the islands will secure “permanence, resupply and ease of interception” to these operations. As if trying to sooth the animosity against his submissive stance towards the US, he concluded stating that “every flight will be overseen by Ecuadorian military officers”.


Both mister Jarrin and Norman Wray, President of the Galapagos Special Regime Governance Council, have stated that a foreign military base is not being installed and therefore, the Ecuadorian Constitution is not being breached. Precisely, so as to avoid repeating a situation like the use of a Base in the coastal city of Manta by US military forces, the fifth article of the referendum voted 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution states: “Ecuador is a territory of peace. The establishment of foreign military bases or foreign installations with military purposes will not be allowed. It is forbidden to cede national military bases to foreign military and security forces.”


This article of the Constitution is very clear in prohibiting the establishment of foreign military bases and “foreign installations with military purposes”. This is the nature of what is being proposed for the Galapagos Islands: it might not be a construction of a base itself, but it will clearly be a foreign installation (aircraft, resupply gear, military personal, etc.) in an Ecuadorian airport. In addition to this, Ecuador would be handing over a national military base to foreign military or security forces, contravening article 5 of the Ecuadorian Constitution.


At the same time, Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno tweeted “aerial surveillance is a joint activity between various countries to protect this world heritage”. This meant to tell that to protect this heritage, the participation of the US, but also widened cooperation with the governments of Peru, Chile and Colombia is needed “to develop a regional front against this type of threats” as was pointed out also by Norman Wray. In geopolitical terms, this means that Ecuador is yielding to the wider US strategy of exerting its control over South America and the whole Eastern Pacific Ocean, in function of its interests and imperial objectives, centered nowadays on the intervention on Venezuela, the “War on Drugs”, immigration, especially from Central America and the sidelining of its rivals China and Russia.


Galapagos would not turn out to be the only foreign “aircraft carrier” in the country, but also Guayaquil and again Manta. According to “El Comercio” newspaper on June 19, “once the Galapagos flights start operating, the government’s intentions are to develop a “security triangle” between Manta and Guayaquil. This should be the case since the P-3 Orion and the AWAC already deploy from the main port city (Guayaquil) and the capital of Manabi province”. (1)


US “intelligence gathering” flights have indeed been operating from Guayaquil since September 2018 in “reconnaissance flights by the use of photography and electronic sensors” according to Jarrin.


Jarrin, who spearheads Ecuador’s realignment and subjection to the US plans, has had a long-drawn involvement in an openly pro US military relations career.


He started his military career in 1966 and eventually reached the high echelons of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces. On January 15, 2003, he was promoted to head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces by then President Lucio Gutierrez, a post he left on June 18 of the same year amidst rumors of government destabilization efforts. (2)


Renowned Ecuadorian journalist Kintto Lucas, remarked in his “Ecuador cara y cruz, tomo II” (Ecuador, heads and tails, second volume) on the close relationship between Jarrin and General James Hill, Commandant of US Southern Command that included shared trips to the Ecuadorian jungle, and workshops in Miami in which “security at the Colombia-Ecuador border” were discussed in which Hill would argue “for the inclination of the US for a regionalization of the “Plan Colombia“ operations”.


After the ousting of Gutierrez, President Alfredo Palacio would designate him as Defense Minister from August 19, 2005, until August 29, 2006. In one occasion commenting on current social unrest, Jarrin would publicly speak of the possibility of forming a sort of “Ecuadorian Peace Force”, pointing out that the Ecuadorian state would eventually “need an external power to reestablish order and peace to rebuild the nation and that otherwise Ecuador would become another Haiti”.


With the same arguments


The announced military presence in the Galapagos Islands results from the current cooperation accords between the current Ecuadorian Government and the US. The US plans to reset its ties with the Andean nation once again after a decade of more distant relationships, with the same reasoning that led to the establishment of the Manta base, the excuse of a “War on Drugs”.


It is worth remembering that on August 2, 2018, the Defense Ministry notified of the existence of a Security Cooperation Office (SCO) between the US and Ecuador according to Jarrin: “by orders of the executive and authorized by the Foreign Relations and the Defense Ministries”.


According to the US Defense Department, the SCO is part of the Defense Assistance Agency and its role is to take actions that “further the U’S security interests, including all international armament cooperation and security assistance activities”.


Justified by the concept of “cooperation”, US military forces have returned to Ecuador after a decade of having been expelled, when then president Rafael Correa popularized the decision of not renewing the agreement that allowed for US use of the base in Manta (signed in 1999, expiring in 2009), after social outcry and being demanded by various organized social groups.


Under the agreement, the US had installed a Forward Operating Location (FOL) that went much further than on the original agreement terms. People in the region still have fresh memories of the arbitrary actions taken by the foreign military force: the sinking of Ecuadorian flagged ships by US forces, harsh anti-immigration measures, recurrent harassment to Ecuadorian fishermen while at sea and the presence of US contracted Dyn Corp. in the region, a company that has since been connected with illegal activities like the deployment of mercenaries in many countries.


At its core, the base in Manta was considered to be of strategic importance to “Plan Colombia” in the words of its commanding officer Javier Delucca. Many consider that the base was a key resource on the illegal US backed Colombian bombing of Angostura (in Ecuador’s province of Sucumbios) in 2008 in which a high-ranking FARC (Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces, guerrilla) Raul Reyes and other 25 soldiers and civilians were killed.


Now history seems to be repeating itself. In the case of the base in Manta, all the discussions were held in secret between Ecuador’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Defense Ministry and the US Embassy in Ecuador until growing public outcry prompted a statement by Ecuador’s legislative branch.


The same seems to be the case for the current Galapagos agreement. Although the Ecuadorian government has confirmed the agreement through multiple statements of the executive branch, the US Defense Department denies any agreement nor any negotiations with the Ecuadorian government (4). Who to believe? All of this begs for transparency on exactly what has been discussed unbeknownst to the Ecuadorian public and its legislative branch.



Foto: ETG


A sensitive environment at risk


It is important to acknowledge that the Galapagos, situated some 1000 kilometers of the mainland Ecuadorian coast, were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978 because they fulfil four criteria, that seem not to concern the Defense Minister: to possess extraordinary natural phenomena or areas of natural beauty; to be outstanding examples of the history of the earth; to keep certain characteristics or geomorphological and geological processes; be an example of ecological and biological processes in the course of the evolution of its ecosystems and the biological diversity and endangered species. It’s worth to remember that that English naturalist Charles Darwin would base his explanation on the evolution of species on his observations in the Galapagos Archipelago.


It’s been widely recognized that thanks to its isolated millions of years of evolution, the Galapagos Archipelago is home to unique ecosystem found nowhere else on earth. This same ecosystem would be in serious jeopardy if the islands were to become a US “aircraft carrier” under the current Ecuadorian regime’s plan.


Former Environment Minister and current Legislator, Marcela Aguinaga while talking to Telesur network (program “EnClave Politica” June 20, 2019) warned of the environmental impacts of the planned extension of an airstrip and the extension of operating hours into night time at the San Cristobal island airport. She stressed that a plan of this magnitude would require an environmental impact study that would account for the increased waste, noise pollution that would affect not only the wildlife at nearby “La Loberia” bay but also the local population in the town that surrounds the airfield.


If San Cristobal should become an aircraft resupply site, Aguinaga asks how the fuel will be transported the nearly 1.000 kilometers (600 miles) from the mainland. In which quantities and what contingency plans are being put in place? At the same time, she stressed that all along the long-term plan has been to reduce the island’s dependence on fossil fuels. The need for lowering the fossil fuel dependence of the Galapagos was agreed on in the aftermath of the worst environmental disaster the islands have endured when in 2001 the tanker Jessica spilled some 240.000 gallons of fuel in Wreck Bay, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island having long lasting consequences on the local species. (5)


The legislator concluded that this places a great risk to the biosphere reserve, a world-renowned marine reserve and local people’s right to live in a healthy environment. For that, Aguinaga pointed out that the legislature has summoned the Defense and Environment Ministers so that they elaborate on the details of the agreement, expected impacts and contingency plans.


War on drugs


One of the arguments used to justify the US “aircraft carrier” installation in the Galapagos, is that it will help combat the threat of drug trafficking cartels and organized crime that use the Pacific Ocean route to transport drugs by ships, fast boat and aircraft. Retired General, Carlos Moncayo argues that “cooperation with another nation like the USA which has greater operational capabilities to combat drug trafficking and organized crime is necessary”, adding that the expansion of the airport is more beneficial to the Ecuadorian military operations than to the U’S.


Based on these assertions one can formulate the following considerations:


First. One has to start acknowledging the importance of dealing with illegal drugs that cause thousands of deaths every year and have been connected to many other problems to people that consume them. The US has a repressive stance on the issue that focuses on supply, exporting the War on Drugs outside of its geographical borders with many branching consequences. An alternative approach points out that the drug problem is overwhelmingly a public health and education issue. In 2016 the US had some 27 million drug addicts, some of which had high disposable incomes being able to afford drugs at whatever price they might be sold for. As long as demand for drugs is not diminished it is unlikely that the supply will ever be considerably reduced. The United Nations General Assembly discussed the topic in 2016 and proposed recommendations like tackling both the supply in drug producing countries as well as the demand for these drugs in countries where they are consumed. (7)


Second. The War on Drugs has been exploited by the US to strengthen its position of control and geo-strategic dominance over the Americas. After the fall of the Berlin wall (1989) and the collapse of the USSR (1991), under the tutelage of US power, the agendas of the regional Armed forces were redefined. The “fight against the threat of Communism” which was the reason for the existence of many Latin-American Armed forces was first replaced by the “War on Drugs” and after the 9-11 attacks by the “War on Terrorism”. The war on illegal drugs became a national security problem with increasing involvement of the Armed forces. The consequences in countries like Mexico and Colombia have been devastating as murder, displacement, disappearance, and torture statistics abound.


Third. In the complex fight against drugs, experts point out the need for a holistic approach that between other things contemplates reigning in the supply chain of chemical precursors that are used in the refining of cocaine and other illegal drugs, many of which are produced in industrialized countries; tightening of loopholes that allow for money laundering of the profits from smuggling and the sale of drugs most of which stays in offshore accounts or in banks of those industrialized countries that are the biggest markets for the drugs; to confront the drug crisis as a public health and education policies problem; to not underestimate the potential of oversight and financing that comes from legalizing certain controlled substances; to induce the replacement of coca leaf farming by means of state assistance so as to tackle poverty, lack of public services and participation of farmers.


What are the military bases for?


The role that US bases around the world play in the “War on Drugs” is worth discussing because of many unanswered questions. In Colombia for example the installation of 7 US Military bases around the country and hundreds of millions of dollars spend since the start of “Plan Colombia” in the year 2000 have done little to reduce the production and traffic of cocaine and other illicit drugs. Recently the UN released its World Report on Drugs in which it states that the world’s production of cocaine reached 1.976 tons in 2017, a 25% increase compared to 2016. In this context, Colombia, with over 200.000 hectares of planted coca, produced 70%of high purity cocaine in the world. (8) The same can be said about Afghanistan where production and traffic of heroin has soared since the US and its NATO allies invaded in 2001, after the 9-11 attacks. (9)


Regardless of them being called bases, FOL or “natural aircraft carriers” what needs to be analyzed is what role these play and for what objective. Mexican researcher Ana Esther Ceceña, states that the USA has “two general objectives: to guarantee the preservation of capitalism spearheaded by the USA; and to guarantee access to the worlds resources as a material basis to the functioning of the system, securing a continuation of its hierarchies and power dynamics…”. (10)


After the displacement and weakening of progressive governments and the parallel dismantlement of regional organizations like the South American Nations Union (UNASUR), Donald Trump’s government has embraced the initiative once again and established military agreements with the right-wing governments of Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Guatemala that allow the US an increase of its military presence in addition to the already established presence in Honduras, Panama, Cuba (Guantanamo), Curacao, Peru, Paraguay and Colombia.


The US Southern Command lists between the main “dangers” and “threats” to its country, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, drug trafficking, regional and international illegal activity networks, an increase in the presence of China, Russia and Iran in Latin America and the Caribbean and the response to disasters. According to Cuban journalist Raul Capote Fernandez: “the empire’s objective is to widen its military presence in the region with an aim to secure hemispheric dominance interests, to consolidate a front against Venezuela and to perpetuate its supremacy over the immense economic resources of Latin America and the Caribbean”. (11)


The US always with its eye on the Galapagos


The USA’s interest in taking over the Galapagos Islands for military and strategic reasons is not new. Since the islands were annexed by Ecuador in 1832, the US as well as France and the UK have tried to take them over through various excuses and reasoning, even with cooperation of several Ecuadorian governments.


The first Ecuadorian president Juan Jose Flores offered the islands to the UK as means of payment for revolution war debts; years later in 1861, conservative president Gabriel Garcia Moreno proposed France to take over the islands and parts of the Ecuadorian amazon as protectorates. Luckily, none of these negotiations were ever fruitful.


In 1883 the US senate declared the Galapagos to be “no man’s land” and stated “serious doubts on the Ecuadorian sovereignty of the islands”. (12) The resolution was adopted after the US send George Earl Church to South America as a commissioner on diverse missions between them to “demonstrate that the Galapagos did not belong to Ecuador”. As a response, the Ecuadorian government presented a formal protest through foreign relations Minister Antonio Flores Jijon, the US intentions would remain unchallenged.


In the year 1910, during the government of Eloy Alfaro, the US would offer Ecuador 15 million dollars for 99 years stay on the islands. Alfaro would put the proposal which he considered attractive as means to finance the development of the country up to a national debate through which the proposal would eventually be rejected.


After the construction of the Panama Canal which connected the Atlantic and the Pacific across the isthmus; a project started by the French in the XIX century and finished by the US at the beginning of the XX century, the Galapagos became a place of great strategic importance to the security, control and defense of the new canal.


During the first world war (1914-1918), the US deployed its forces in the Caribbean to defend the canal, but it needed to consolidate its defenses in the Pacific Ocean, especially since German and Japanese ships were regularly sighted around the islands. To this end, it placed great pressure on the government of Leonidas Plaza Gutierrez to acquire or rent the Galapagos by means of “tempting offers that could prop up the unstable finances of the nation”. (13)


Renowned Ecuadorian Galapagos historian Octavio Latorre asserts that “the US prepared the occupation of the Galapagos starting in 1920, based on the actions and compromises enshrined in the Good Neighbor Agreement disguising its strong-arm politics”. (14) One can also argue that the US has dealt under the Monroe doctrine summarized by the phrase: “America for the (north) Americans” as it referred to the dispute with the old European powers for dominance over the continent.


In 1935, after frustrated negotiations by Ecuadorian dictator Federico Paez for a loan from the USA, President Roosevelt would argue for the possibility of making the Galapagos Islands into “an international park for the protection of its wildlife, which would be owned by all member countries to the Pan-American Union, between them the US”. (15) The purpose, to avoid any military use by an “enemy country”.


During WWII the US would occupy the Galapagos, building a large military base on Baltra island (also known as South Seymour) and with outposts on Isabela, Espanola and other islands. It also build a base in Salinas, in mainland Ecuador.


On December 12, 1941, 36 US Marines landed in the Galapagos to erect a fuel depot, at a time when there was no official agreement with Ecuador. (16) This occurred five days after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii that would prompt the US to officially enter WWII.


Months before (September 13, 1941) the Ecuadorian government presided by Carlos Alberto Arroyo del Rio (17), through its ambassador to Washington DC, Colon Eloy Alfaro, had signed a secret document through which Ecuador would allow US forces to fly to the Galapagos from outposts in Central America.


Only after the Galapagos had already been occupied were official agreements for the construction of bases in both Baltra and Salinas signed between the two nations.


On January 24, 1942, representatives of the US armed forces and their Ecuadorian counterparts signed the cooperation agreement that would allow the “General Commandant of Caribbean Defense to occupy land in the Salinas Parrish to build military installations” and that “as well in neighboring territorial waters of the same jurisdiction, buoys shall be installed and to use the waters for water landings of aircraft and as an anchorage for ships”. (18)


On February 2, 1942, ambassador Alfaro would sign an agreement with US State secretary Cordek Hull through which Ecuador and the USA convened on establishing: “continental defense operations in each other’s territory”. “By means of this authorization, and whiteout further regulation on the matter nor any precise mention of the islands nor any notification, the USA had occupied by means of a base, South Seymour (Baltra) island and other locations in the Archipelago” as stated by Alfredo Luna Tobar. (19)


Arroyo del Rio’s government ceded the Galapagos to the US “in accordance with valid multi-lateral agreements, it cooperated effectively towards the aim of continental defense demonstrating sincere solidarity towards the US” in his own words. And it was done at no cost “to demonstrate that it was done as a sincere gesture and moral imperative and not with any mercantilist purpose of dealing with our national territory” and as a temporal measure “for as long as the global conflict would last and only for that extent of time, having to return the bases at the end of the war without any harm to our sovereignty”. (20)


The Second World War lasted until 1945, but US troops stayed in Galapagos until 1948. The official ceremony for the return of the islands to Ecuadorian control was celebrated on July 1, 1946. Armed US personnel would stay on the islands until December 1948.


The US did not only occupy the archipelago at no cost, but as its forces withdrew, they disposed of and destroyed “tons of objects of the most varied type and quality” (21) invoking a secretly agreed clause that read “return in the same state as received”. Instead of handing over the infrastructure and machinery to Ecuador, the country that handed over the islands under no conditions, airplanes would dispose of huge amounts of equipment at sea while much was simply thrown down the steep cliffs of the island.  Much of this equipment consisting in medical equipment, radios, automotive and aircraft spare parts, cutlery to name a few. (22) Something similar occurred in Salinas where more than a hundred people had been expropriated to make space for the base having received laughable compensations. (23)


What did remain was the environmental harm. No research has ever tried to quantify the environmental impact of the US occupation of the Galapagos, but one can only imagine the cumulative impact of the construction of runways and roads, the constant noise and traffic that extinguished the local Land Iguana population, the waste accumulation and disposal of some 10.000 troops that transited the area during the occupation and the long-lasting impact it must have left on the local ecosystems.




The announcement by the Ecuadorian authorities on the presence of a foreign military force in Galapagos have tried to minimize fears of the impacts and appease the public, but serious doubts remain about the official stance, especially because of contradictory statements and the secrecy that surrounds the matter, following a similar path to what happened during WWII and during the installation of the Manta base in 1999. Some pressing questions remain to be answered. What is the content and reach of the agreements with the USA? How long will the US occupation of the Galapagos airport as well as the airports in Guayaquil and Manta last? What will the legal status of US personnel be? (24)


It is Ecuador’s legislative power, the National assembly’s responsibility to discuss and approve these international agreements. Certain legislators have made their unease on the matter public. What can be done about it by the right-wing alliance that controls the legislature? What might happen under the Moreno aligned legislature president Cesar Litardo, is unclear.


The ball is on the public’s side of the pitch once again, for which the first task will be to demand that Lenin Moreno’s government state what exactly has been agreed on with the US, and second, the public will have to step up once again to the challenge, as it did in the early 2000’s when it succeeded in having US forces expelled from Manta and Ecuador. This time it’s the Galapagos’ World Heritage and national sovereignty that are at stake and on a wider sphere to preserve Latin America as a land of peace, as agreed by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).


July 2, 2019


Citations (All links to Spanish language sources):


1 El Comercio, (US Aircraft will operate from runway at airport in the Galapagos once a month.)

Naves de EE.UU. ocuparán pista de aeropuerto de Galápagos una vez al mes, 19-06-2010,  (consulted 02/07/2019)


2 La Hora, (Surprising reassignments in Armed Forces and Police.)

En FFAA y Policía: Cambios sorpresivos, 18-06-2003, , (consulted 02/07/2019)


3 El Universo, (Jarrin speaks of Peace force for Ecuador.)

Jarrín habla de fuerza de paz para Ecuador, 22-02-2006 , (consulted 29-06-2019)


4 (Major Chris Mitchell, Pentagon spokesperson, cited by Gisell Tobias, Voice of America, Washington.)

 Mayor Chris Mitchell, Portavoz del Pentágono, citado por Gisell Tobías, Voz de América, Washington.


5 El Telégrafo, (A ship ran aground in the Galapagos without spilling any fuel.)

Un buque encalló en Galápagos sin que haya derrame de contaminantes, 28-01-2015, (Consulted, 29-06-2019)


6 Entrevista al (interview to) general (r) Carlos Moncayo, Radio Pichincha Universal, 25-06-2019, Quito, (consulted, 29-06-2019)


7 Naciones Unidas,  "Declaración Política y Plan de Acción sobre Cooperación Internacional hacia una Estrategia Integral y Equilibrada para contrarrestar el Problema Mundial de las Drogas",


8  Revista Semana, (Cocaine production grows around the world and Colombia produces 70%) Producción de cocaína crece en el mundo y Colombia aporta el 70%, 26-06-2019,  en: , Bogotá, (consulted 2/7/2019)


9 Vicky Peláez, (Opium, the real pretext for the war in Afghanistan?)

El opio, ¿el pretexto real de la guerra en Afganistán?, 28-06-2017, , consulted 2/7/2019


10 James Patrick Jordan, (Resisting the military bases and the Pentagon strategy for Latin America.)

Resistiendo las bases militares y las estrategias del Pentágono en Latinoamérica, 29/01/2018 , (consulted 2/7/2019).


11 Raúl Capote Fernández, (US Military bases in Latin America and the Caribbean, Plan South America.)

Bases militares de EE.UU. en América Latina y el Caribe. El Plan Suramérica, 9 de agosto de 2018, (consulted: 02/07/2019 )


12 Hugo Hidrovo, Baltra-Base Beta, Ministerio de Cultura de Ecuador, Quito, 2008, p.31


13 Ibid, p.58


14 Octavio Latorre, (Human history of the Galapagos.)

Historia humana de Galápagos, Artes Gráficas Señal, Quito, 2011, pp. 182-183


15 Jorge W. Villacrés Moscoso, (International ambitions on the Galapagos islands.)

Las ambiciones internacionales por las Islas Galápagos, Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, Guayaquil, 1985, p. 97


16 Alfredo Luna Tobar, (International Political History of the Galapagos islands.)

Historia Política Internacional de las Islas Galápagos, Ediciones Abya Yala, AFESE, Quito, 1997, p. 269)


17 The occupation of the Galapagos didn’t get the attention it deserved at the time, the public’s attention was captive by the military invasion of Ecuador by Peru which started on July 5, 1941 and ended in January 1942 with the Rio de Janeiro Protocol, through which Ecuador would lose 200.000 kilometers of its territory. In the context of WWII Ecuador was forced to accept this agreement. One of the guarantors of the agreement was the USA. The pro-US and repressive administration of Arroyo del Rio that signed the agreement would be ousted by an uprising on May 28, 1944.


18 (High level analysis team, investigation and publication, Foreign relations and human mobility ministry of Ecuador, US military bases around the world, special Chapter Ecuador.)

Equipo de Alto Nivel de Análisis, Investigación y Publicaciones, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana, Bases Militares Norteamericanas en el Mundo, Capítulo Especial Ecuador, Quito, 2016, pp. 82-83


19 Op. Cit., Alfredo Luna Tobar, pp.274-275


20 Op. Cit. Hugo Idrovo, p. 128


21 Ibid.  p102


22 Ibid. p. 102


23 Op. Cit., Equipo de Alto Nivel. (High level analysis team), p. 115


24 The agreement that would lead to the establishment of the base on the coastal city of Manta, published on November 25, 1999 granted Diplomatic immunity to “US personnel and their relatives in the country” and determined that “in case Ecuadorian authorities would eventually arrest US personnel or their relatives” they would have to notify US authorities so as to coordinate their prompt release. Based on these terms, investigations on the murder of Pablo Vicente Jaramillo in Quito, presumably by Peter Kamilowicz, member of the security forces of the US Embassy and that of Victor Manuel Mieles, a vendor in the city of Portoviejo, presumably by Damon Plyer, who worked at the base in Manta; remain unsolved to this day. Could something like this happen in the Galapagos? See: (Coalition “No Base in Manta”, eyes and ears of Plan Colombia), Coalición No Bases Ecuador, Base de Manta, ojos y oídos del Plan Colombia, Quito, 2007, pp. 19-44-45.
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