Ecuador Highlights Cooperation with Colombia and Insists on Greater Military Presence
By Dialogo July 06, 2012
On July 3, Ecuadorean Defense Minister Miguel Carvajal highlighted his country’s good level of cooperation with Colombia in the fight against crime along their shared border, where he nevertheless hopes that the neighboring country will increase its military presence.
Carvajal said that this collaboration has even intensified since the two nations reestablished diplomatic ties, broken off by Ecuador as a consequence of a Colombian military attack on a clandestine base of the FARC guerrilla group on its territory, on March 1, 2008.
“With Colombia, we’ve not only been capable of restoring the levels prior to 2008 in terms of cooperation and coordination. I would even say that we’ve been capable of intensifying them much more, of making a qualitative leap in our political relationship and in security actions, with very significant levels of trust,” the minister told foreign correspondents.
He added that there is an “ongoing exchange of information” about illegal drug flights and activities by irregular groups in the border region, something that has enabled the Ecuadorean authorities to arrest and turn over to their Colombian counterparts individuals sought by that country’s law-enforcement authorities.
Carvajal recalled in particular the May arrest of two members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, Marxist) allegedly linked to that group’s finances along the two countries’ shared border. One of them, John Mendoza (alias ‘Fredemiro’), has already been deported.
The official stressed that this cooperation has grown while maintaining sovereignty and without reaching the point of “combined actions,” and he reiterated an old request by Quito that Colombia increase its presence on the border, approximately 700 km long.