Peru and Colombia to host U.S. Military Operations

Washington has gained access to two new airbases in Peru and Colombia in the face of losing its Manta airbase in Ecuador.

Although U.S. officials have stated they haven’t ruled out the possibility of gaining an extension of its lease, it seems unlikely. Correa has said that he believes the base is a threat to Ecuador’s sovereignty and would only consider allowing the U.S. to continue to use the base if Ecuador was allowed to have a base in Miami. The lease expires in 2009.

Manta, which according to Washington and unquestioning media outlets is used for the "War on Drugs", came under investigation last year as it was used illegally by private contractors to recruit mercenaries sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to The Miami Herald State Department officials worry that the loss of Manta would allow drug trafficking to flourish, while suggesting that President Hugo Chavez’s decision to scrap joint drug control agreements with the U.S. has led to rising production and traffickers shifting operations to Venezuela.

Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, whose tenure as Ambassador of Honduras in the 1980’s included arming the Contras, supporting and collaborating with the Honduran death-squad Battalion 316, and undermining regional peace efforts, said in May he believes that it is in Ecuador’s best interests to keep a U.S. presence at the Manta base.