Ecuador plans to allow the US to open up a so-called “Security Cooperation Office” in the South American state.
RT reported that the Ecuadorian Defense Minister confirmed this development late last week and wrote that it represents a policy reversal from previous President Rafael Correa’s administration, which refused to renew the US’ lease on the Manta Air Base and later amended the constitution to prohibit the hosting of foreign military bases in general. The country’s new defense authorities denied that this new initiative was unconstitutional by pointing to the proposed non-permanent-presence of US forces and the fact that the Ecuadorean Air Force would be managing this intelligence-sharing program, but critics are correct in claiming that this is yet another American power play in the continent.
The US’ successful hemisphere-wide pushback against the so-called “Pink Tide” of the mid-2000s can be described in Old Cold War terms as an “Operation Condor 2.0” that relies on shadowy means such as “constitutional coups” and Hybrid Wars to reverse the regional progress that was made in restoring Latin America’s sovereignty, including in Ecuador. In that tiny coastal country, the US somehow or another co-opted President Lenin Moreno despite the original expectations of him being the torchbearer of Correa’s multipolar legacy. This has since seen Quito supposedly enter into secret talks with Washington over the fate of whistleblower Julian Assange and now the proposed establishment of the “Security Cooperation Office”.
Ecuador in and of itself isn’t all that important of a country despite its moderate oil reserves and recent history of being a gateway for Chinese influence into the region, but symbolically represents the first victory that the US has achieved in taking over one of the members of the multipolar Venezuelan-led ALBA bloc. The Bolivarian Republic and its close Nicaraguan partner are both struggling against ever-intensifying Hybrid Wars, while Cuba has had to deal with incessant pressure against its economy. Landlocked Bolivia appears to be the next target in the run-up to President Morales’ re-election campaign next year, but in the meantime, it’s fair to say that Ecuador has for all intents and purposes become an American vassal state.
This endangers ALBA’s unity and overall cohesiveness as a stabilizing force of multipolar change in the continent, and it also represents an unexpected historical quirk because of how counterintuitive it is that a man named after Lenin would so closely collaborate with America on this neo-imperial scheme.