The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ecuador reinforces border with Colombia

August 13, 2009

Ecuador says it has reinforced its northern border with Colombia amid a tense dispute over Bogota's plans to open seven military bases to US troops.

Ecuadoran officials say the 1,200 soldiers were dispatched to Esmeraldas province to support the 10,000 security forces already patrolling the border area due to increased drug, weapons and fuel trafficking in recent months.

"The mission is to restore public safety," said Lieutenant Sergio Torres, an "Operation North" commander on Wednesday. Captain Jose Mino, another commander, said illegal activity in the border area had increased by 20 to 30 per cent.

The troops will be in the area for at least a month, according to Ecuavisa television.

The announcement came as top Colombian military commander Freddy Padilla said talks between Bogota and Washington over US access to Colombian bases for counter-drug operations could be finalised as early as this weekend.

Ecuador and Venezuela have led opposition to the plan, with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warning on Monday that the "winds of war" were beginning to blow in the region because of the accord.

About 7,000 Ecuadoran soldiers and 3,541 policemen are deployed along the 720-kilometre border with Colombia, where insurgent groups, paramilitaries and drug traffickers are known to operate.

Quito has undertaken an ambitious plan to modernise its armed forces, after Colombia staged a cross-border raid into Ecuadoran territory in March last year to destroy a rebel camp, after which Ecuador cut ties with Bogota.

The modernisation has included the purchase of speedboats, helicopters, six unmanned aerial vehicles, 24 Brazilian Super Tucano combat aircraft, two frigates and Chinese radars.

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