The Philippines: "we did not know the impacts of the bases, until we began to see them"

2007-03-05 00:00:00

"The concession or leasing or another form of giving a part of national territory for the installation of aggressive foreign military bases, constitutes a giving away, disguised or not, of the own national sovereignty that threatens the peace and security of the country and also that of other States". Miguel D'Estefano, Treaty Right, in Military bases in Latin America, of Jose Steinsleger.

"When they ask me about the impacts of the Base of Manta, I answer that I do not know them", comments Corazon Fabros-Valdez (Philippines), of the International Organizing Committee of the Conference no Bases. But she adds: "when the U.S.A. left the bases in the Philippines we did not know the impacts either, until we began to see them".

Installed in 1999, the Base of Manta facilitates the intervention and the war in the neighboring country of Colombia, as a few months ago the own Commander of the FOL, Andrés Thomas Conteris (the U.S.A.), of the International Non Violence expressed.

Frigates of the U.S.A. also caused the sinking of boats. After visits to areas of firing test the contamination of the field could be stated, with the rests of shots. This causes pollution in the water, which effects the human life and the vegetation.

The American military bases in the Philippines - naval of Subic and the aerial one of Clark - were closed because of the popular pressure in 1992, leaving behind the toxic contamination and numerous cases of cancer. According to
Fabros-Valdez, after 15 years of their exit, the U.S.A. continues eluding its responsibilities to clean the generated contamination and to compensate the affected population.

The public manifestations and expressions of opposition to the foreign military bases are one of the many strategies possible to eradicate them: the participation of people of the civil society (young, old, women), even of people within the government; and the support of the press, are others. Fabros says there is no prescription, "but an elementary factor in a campaign against the bases must include a systematic campaign in terms of education and information to the population. We are organizing ourselves in solidarity ".

The base of Vieques (Puerto Rico) is another historical case of civil resistance to the foreign military bases. Thomas Conteris tells that the process of six decades in Vieques reached a climax when a local settler died because of an explosion. "people occupied for thirteen months the test area. We were human shields. There were watches, protests, marches, arrests ". In May 2003 the bombings stopped, but the fight in Vieques at the moment is concentrated in the decontamination of the atmosphere, the recovery of the earth and a compensation of the affected ones.

Thomas Conteris emphasizes the strong movement for the peace in the U.S.A.: "we are against the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq. We are worried about what is said on Iran. We are very happy with the recent mobilization that took place in Italy. We celebrated that Uruguay this year has decided not to participate in the maneuvers of Unitas ". It is possible to remember, nevertheless, that Russia, China, England and France also have military bases.

Communication Team
Coalition No Bases Ecuador
the International Conference for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases