Skip to comments.U.S.: Ecuador Has Terror Problem
Posted on 04/19/2002 6:44:16 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
WASHINGTON - (AP) -- Al Qaeda and Middle East terrorists are operating near Ecuador's borders with Peru and Colombia, and Ecuador needs U.S. help to combat them, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said Thursday.
''We have got in the triborder area a bit of a problem with al Qaeda itself and some Hezbollah elements,'' he told the House Appropriations' foreign operations subcommittee. ``We do need cooperation.''
In addition, U.S. efforts to help Colombia combat drug traffickers -- and perhaps insurgents -- might hurt Ecuador if the traffickers and rebels seek to escape there, he said.
President Bush's request for $27 billion in emergency spending this year names Ecuador as one of 19 countries in urgent need of foreign military financing for the war on terrorism. The countries would share $372.5 million, which would be used ''immediately to strengthen the forces of our friends and allies in the fight against terrorism, by providing vitally needed equipment and training,'' the request says.
Rep. Sonny Callahan, R-Ala., was concerned about Ecuador's decision to prohibit the United States from using the Manta air base to carry out the war on terrorism. The United States has used the base for two years to fight drug trafficking.
Ecuador's foreign relations minister, Heinz Moeller, said in February that the government would not let the United States use the base for anti-terror activities.
Callahan, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, suggested Ecuador should be required to reverse that position before it gets any aid.
Armitage said he was not aware of the air base problem.
In October 1999, Ecuador signed an agreement letting the U.S. military use the Manta airfield to make surveillance flights over drug-producing regions in Central and South America.
That agreement and the $7.5 billion, six-year Plan Colombia anti-drug effort have raised fear among Ecuadoreans that their country will become a staging ground for U.S. military intervention in Colombia. That, they worry, could spark retaliation by guerrilla and paramilitary groups who take payments to protect the drug trade.
They might just be using the war on terrorism as an excuse to get their hands on American cash.
I think that we should distinguish between Islamic anti-American suicide terrorists and rebels or drug trafficers in South America. Big difference there.
A more accurate adjective.
Those guys in the jungles of south America are mostly just growing drugs to feed American demand.
Big difference between that and an Islamic movement hell bend on killing as many Americans as possible.
We shouldn't use the war on terror as an excuse to increase prosecution of the drug war. That may be desirable too. I would disagree with that but that isn't the issue.
They aren't related. I doubt very much that AlQuada has any influence over the rebels and drug growers in South America. They aren't going to give them a safe haven to attack America from. Some AlQuaida members might hid there but those drug traffickers are more likely to turn them in for a reward. I hope that Alquaida members are hiding there. it would be easy to bride the war lords to give them up.
Giving the Equadorian gov aid isn't likely to acomplish anything.