MANTA, Ecuador — A decade ago, this was just another obscure, humid, Pacific coast fishing town, with a third-rate airport and a problem with narcotrafficking. Today, the city is a regular stop for cruise ships, boasts a first-rate airport and is a key outpost in the United States’ war on drugs. But the eight-year-old U.S. anti-drug presence here has both put Manta on the map and made the city a center of controversy. The local U.S. anti-narcotrafficking facility “is a pretext for expansionism,” charges attorney Miguel Moran, who believes that Washington and U.S. corporations want to control the region’s natural [...]
The U.S. military’s decision last week to release Bilal Hussein, an Associated Press photographer who has been held by U.S. military forces since April 2006 on accusations of links to terrorism, was not just a blow to the U.S. military’s case against one prisoner. The announcement by the U.S. military, which followed the rulings of an Iraqi judicial panel granting Hussein amnesty, also raised a question war proponents may not want to answer. Namely, if the sovereign institutions and political processes that the U.S. troop surge was supposed to help foster actually take hold, will the United States respect them? [...]
In a move hailed by Southeast Asian heads of state and ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, the U.S. Senate April 9 confirmed Scot Marciel as the first U.S. ambassador for ASEAN affairs. The move comes at a key time in the development of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as an institution, after the organization adopted a landmark charter in November 2007 that, among other things, obliges member countries to appoint permanent, senior representatives to the ASEAN secretariat in Jakarta. The appointment of Marciel is a significant gesture, making the United States the first ASEAN partner country to create such [...]
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