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Ecuador Table of Contents


Military Relations with the United States

Ecuador declared war on Japan immediately after the latter's attack on United States forces at Pearl Harbor. Ecuador granted the United States base rights in the Galápagos Islands, primarily for the defense of the Panama Canal against possible Japanese attack; and United States influence on Ecuadorian military policy subsequently became significant. The United States constructed an air base on one of the Galápagos Islands, manned it until the end of World War II, and then turned it over to Ecuador. The FAE later took over the Salinas base which the United States had also manned during the war. Agreements signed in 1940 and 1944 also provided for the transfer of military equipment. In 1952 an agreement between the two governments resulted in the establishment of a United States Military Group that incorporated the already existing army, navy, and air force missions and led to the delivery of significant amounts of United States military matériel. The United States withdrew the military group in 1971 as a consequence of a dispute over fishing rights but subsequently reestablished it.

Between 1950 and 1988, almost 8,000 Ecuadorian officers and NCOs received training sponsored by the United States. Ecuadorian military personnel attended training programs in the former Panama Canal Zone and in the United States, including programs offered by the United States Naval Academy.

Deliveries of United States military assistance to Ecuador between 1950 and 1988, including credit sales, totaled almost US$123 million. United States budgetary cutbacks limited military assistance financing to only US$4 million in grant form in fiscal year (FY--see Glossary) 1989. Proposed aid in FY 1990 was limited to US$3 million in credit financing. The United States tailored much of the assistance in the late 1980s to the efforts to control the northern border and the eastern jungle areas frequently crossed by terrorist groups and narcotics traffickers. With the exception of the credit sale of At-33 trainer aircraft, assistance consisted largely of vehicles, medical equipment, communications items, small arms, and support for existing inventories.

Between May and December 1987, almost 6,000 United States National Guardsmen, reservists, and active-duty personnel rotated to Ecuador at two-week intervals to assist in earthquake reconstruction. The United States initially regarded the project as a field-training exercise in road and bridge building. Although plans originally called for restoration of roads in the Costa, the earthquake resulted in a United States-Ecuadorian decision to shift the project to the Oriente. United States forces encountered severe weather problems affecting the movement of heavy equipment over the Andes, carving a road through tropical jungle, and combating health hazards. In addition, the presence of United States troops became a source of political contention, as opposition forces in the Ecuadorian National Congress (Congreso Nacional, hereafter Congress) passed a resolution demanding the troops' immediate departure. President Febres Cordero rejected the resolution but nevertheless terminated the project earlier than planned.

Data as of 1989