Under Siege In Ecuador



Pretty interesting article I was reading this morning.....

Ecuador is a country in crisis. "So what?" you may well ask, "it's only a small South American nation."
Well here's the problem for the U.S.: At the center of the current crisis is a new leftist president who has already formed an alliance with the American-hating Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, and is now threatening to kick all American military personnel out of Ecuador. And all this, just as Ecuador becomes increasingly critical in the U.S. war on drugs.
More and more Colombian cocaine is now being smuggled out of Colombia to the south, into Northern Ecuador, largely because of the aggressive and successful campaign waged by the U.S. and Colombian authorities against Colombia's cartels. But the drug lords won't give up easily, and they are now taking their illicit cargo across the porous Colombia/Ecuador border.
From there it is moved to the Ecuadorian coast and onto all manner of boats. Those boats then take the cocaine out into the Pacific in the region of the Galapagos Islands where it is transferred to so-called fast boats that speed up the coastline before dropping their cargo in northern Guatemala or Mexico, from where it is smuggled into the U.S. and on to the estimated six million cocaine users in the United States.
It's not easy stopping those shipments, but the anti-drug operations are helped immeasurably by a small contingent of U.S. personnel at Manta airbase on Ecuador's coast. From that base, U.S. pilots fly drug spotting and interdiction missions. Those missions played a role in more than 60 percent of drug seizures in the Eastern Pacific last year; that's 262 tons of illegal drugs, with a street value of more than five billion dollars.
And now, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa wants the Americans out, and says he will not allow them to stay after the U.S. lease at Manta runs out.
This is from a man who does not back down when he makes a threat. Right now he is facing off against members of his own Congress, as he tries to rewrite Ecuador's constitution and consolidate more and more power in his own hands, just as Chavez has done in Venezuela.
Correa is backing mass protests by his supporters who have tried, with the apparent help of riot police, to intimidate members of Congress and to prevent them entering their place of work. Many of those members of Congress have retreated to the hotel where I am writing, and we are now under a kind of siege —- protestors who support President Correa are lined up outside the hotel, threatening to beat the members of Congress when they emerge.
this country is a tinderbox that seems to the point of exploding into flames. If it does, the fire will undoubtedly destroy Ecuador's democracy, but it may also severely damage America's war on drugs.
... And that's why we all need to pay attention to tiny Ecuador.

Everyone forgets about central and south America. Our next terrorist attack will have connections to the south.
Wanted to add I know someone on this board has been down there if I remember correctly (tour)....Would you please chime in if you can