The president of the Galápagos government council is denying social media reports that Ecuador has agreed to allow the United States to establish a military base at the San Cristóbal airport in the Galapagos Islands.
“This is fake news being purveyed for political reasons,” says council president Norman Wray. “There is not now, or will there ever be a foreign military base on the islands. The agreement our government has with the U.S. is to simply to allow two drug reconnaissance aircraft to refuel at the airport.”
He added: “Foreign military bases are prohibited on Ecuadorian soil by the constitution.”
According to Wray, the agreement with the U.S. involves Peru and Colombia as well as Ecuador, and is intended to combat the growing transport of drugs in the Pacific Ocean. “The Government is committed to the protection of the national territory and waters in the face of a growing threat from drug traffickers and other types of illegal activity,” he said. He added that the flights, conducted by the four countries, are also patrolling the Pacific Ocean for illegal fishing activities.
Comments on several social media platforms claimed that President Lenin Moreno had “sold out” to the U.S. military and has agreed to allow the establishment an air force base staffed by U.S. personnel in the Galapagos. “He [Moreno] is not only violating the constitution but is allowing the Galapagos Islands to be environmentally damaged by a foreign power,” one post said.
Juan Cabrera, a spokesman for the Galapagos government said such charges are baseless. “This is orchestrated garbage posted by the enemies of the Galapagos and President Moreno. There are no secret deals and no agreement to allow foreign military troops and the islands will be protected as before. These posts are desperate measures by desperate people.”