Comalapa, an arrow piercing at the heart of Central America

(Translation by Arístides Gonzalez)
The United States’ Comalapa base was established in year 2000, it constitutes an arrow in the heart of our Salvadorian homeland, and a serious threat to peace and security of the mesoamerican regions, and as such should be dismantled.The 10 years agreement that licences this military base started on 23 August 2000 and can be extended by any of the parties. This is the result of a simple majority decision at the National Legislative Assembly on 6 July 2000 in which ARENA, PCN, PDC and PAN parties betrayed the Salvadorian people. Six years have passed and this military base has new instruments such as the Police International School (ILEA) which was also approved by the right wing parties that control the Salvadorian Congress.
The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) was the only party that oppossed the establishment of the Military Base of Comalapa as well as the ILEA. The FMLN also presented an appeal before the Supreme Court which argued that the agreement violated articles 146, 147 and 159 of the Republic’s Constitution: . The political and military purpose of this Comalapa Military Base is disguised under the fight against drugs. It is certainly the configuration of a military triangle, a strategic deployment against the FARC guerrillas of Colombia and against the democratic governments of Venezuela and Bolivia. It is no coincidence that the other deployment places are in Curacao and Aruba in the Caribbean and Manta in Ecuador. The Comalapa Military Base, has its location at El Salvador’s International Airport and was strongly criticised by the historic leader of the left, Shafik Handal, who passed away on 20 January 2006. Shafik remarked that “[T]he United States has a long history of military interventions and that is the reason of our fight against this agreement which violates our sovereignty”.This military base was the origin of new threats such as the approval of the 2004 Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the establishment of an FBI’s office in January 2005. There is a major presence than previously in 1960 during the Jose Maria Lemus’ regime, it was called USA Military Mission. The agreement of the military base is shameful for our homeland and a symbol of servilism that characterised the government of Francisco Flores, which permitts the conversion of El Salvador into a colonial regime.[The agreement] Permits the detachment of 60 military officers with their families in our country. [The agreement] Permits civilian and military personnel to access any facilities of the Salvadorian Government as well as the airport and at the same time access to exclusive areas as they do not trust ‘local labor’.These military can circulate freely in their uniforms and arms throughout the Salvadorian territory. They are currently doing this in Cuscatlan, Chalatenango and Morazan. They are performing joint military exercises and civic tasks precisely on those places were the armed conflict took place during the eighties of the last century.In addition, this nefarious agreement allows for the introduction to the country any quantity or type of armament, as well as materiel and military hardware including planes, helicopters. This is an institutionalised military intervention facilitated by congress and disguised as a fight against drugs.
Finally, this agreement allows for aerial, land and maritime operations. Any type of operations. It would not surprise that this silent invasion would at a certain stage take deployment at the President’s Home alleging that democracy or US nationals would be under danger. They have done this during 200 years in many countries. As Salvadorian Movement for Peace and as a member of the World Peace Council we reject this Military Base at Comalapa. In the spirit of Shafik Handal and Ana Rosa Ochoa whom possessed the spirit of dignity and independence, we call for the struggle for the dismantling [of the military base]. This is a commitment with our people and world peace. It is a commitment we’ll comply with.

Reverend Roberto Pineda, Lutheran pastor, president of Salvadorian Movement for Peace.
San Salvador, 29 October 2006.

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