Venezuela says US must abandon LA military bases

Venezuelan foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez called on the United States to pull out of its military bases across Latin America on October 6.

In a fierce speech, Rodriguez labelled the US military presence across the region as a threat to peace and stability.

“We denounce the presence of 70 US bases in our region, we have to unite and demand the closing of these bases,” said Rodriguez.

The comments were made while Rodriguez addressed the Latin American Summit of Progressive Movements in Quito, Ecuador.

Her comments were welcomed by her Ecuadorian counterpart, Ricardo Patino. He argued the US has a history of seeking to undermine progressive movements across the hemisphere, and called for Latin American countries to unify against “imperialism”.

“We need to be better organised to be able to defend ourselves,” he said.

Venezuela currently hosts no US military bases. Most US foreign bases in the Western Hemisphere are concentrated in Central America and the Caribbean.

Ecuador, however, sparked controversy in 2007, when the government of President Rafael Correa ordered the US withdraw from its military base at Manta by 2009. Correa suggested that Washington could maintain the base if Ecuador was granted a reciprocal military outpost in US territory.

“We'll renew the base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami — an Ecuadorian base,” Correa said at the time.

He continued, “If there's no problem having foreign soldiers on a country's soil, surely they'll let us have an Ecuadorian base in the United States.”

The US rejected the offer.

Worldwide, the US has about 800 military bases in 160 countries. Maintaining these bases costs the US an estimated US$150 billion each year.

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