Ecuador's New Constitution, Part 2: Sovereignty

Latin America and the Caribbean

Yesterday, we outlined the effect Ecuador's new Constitution will have on the Armed Forces and the Police. Today, we move on to the topic of sovereignty. Not only does the new Constitution prohibit the establishment of foreign military bases or installations with military goals within its territory (think the U.S. military base in Manta), it also sets the stage for Ecuador to push for further regional integration and defense cooperation. Additionally, as laid out in the new Constitution, sovereignty will no longer be viewed solely from the territorial point of view, but it also be viewed in terms of energy, nutrition and policy. According to El Comercio, these changes in the Constitution demonstrate that Ecuador seeks to distance itself from the United States' policies of the global war against terror and the militarization of the fight against narcotrafficking. Below, like yesterday, is a translation of a description of what these changes in the new Constitution imply and what they mean for Ecuador. (translated from the article in El Comercio, "Una nueva visión de soberanía") A new vision of sovereignty What does this imply? A new vision of sovereignty and territorial defense will emerge with the new Constitution. Since the Government rose to power, it said that it would not extend the agreement for the use of the base at Manta by the U.S. military. This promise was celebrated by Article 5 of the constitutional project. In addition, the country will enter into a new logic of sovereignty with a strong regional charge. The intention is to distance Ecuador from the defense doctrine of U.S. policy that consisted of a hemispheric security vision and that in the recent years has consolidated into a global practice for the fight against terrorism and the militarization of the fight against narcotrafficking. This resulted in major repercussions within the countries that make up the Andean region. Now, the security agenda will be considered along with political and economic aspects. As a result, within a new Magna Carta it will be established that the country adopts the means to push for regional or subregional integration. This is not a process that has been created in Ecuador, but is also being carried out in European and Asian countries that transformed their nationalist vision and unified into a block in order to negotiate in accordance with their weaknesses and strengths. As a result the new vision of sovereignty will be multidimensional. It no longer will have only one concept, the territory, and it will instead span themes such as policy and economy. What does this mean? The project of the new Constitution presents a transversal model of sovereignty, since it is no longer analyzed only from the territorial point of view, but includes the political, energetic, and even, nutritional point of view. From the territorial point of view the Montecristi proposal establishes the expressive prohibition of the establishment of foreign military bases or installations with military goals within the country. Also, it signals a more extensive concept of Ecuadorian territory than the Magna Carta of 1998. In article 4 it is expressed that territory is a geographic and historical unit of natural, social and cultural dimensions. This territory makes up the continental and maritime space, the adjacent islands, the territorial sea, the Galapagos Archipelago, the soil, the submarine platform, and the overlying continental, insular and maritime space. Its limits are determined by current treaties. In addition, Ecuador's territory is inalienable, irreducible, and inviolable. No one may make an attempt against the national unity and encourage succession. Also, the concept that the Armed Forces are charged with protecting the sovereignty and territorial defense of the nation. But, within the project of the new Magna Carta, a policy of defense and territorial sovereignty will have a new base that pushes for the union of the countries in the region, which will signify a distancing from the defense doctrine of the United States. Sovereignty in the Project Art. 4. The territory is a geographic and historical unit of natural, social and cultural dimensions. It makes up the continental and maritime space, the adjacent islands, the territorial sea, the Galapagos Archipelago, the soil, the submarine platform, the overlying continental, insular and maritime space. Its limits are determined by current treaties. Art. 5. Ecuador is a territory of peace. The establishment of foreign military bases and installations with military goals are not permitted. National military bases may not be handed over to foreign militaries or security forces. Art. 57. Various rights for indigenous communities and nationalities are recognized. Among them, the limitation of military activities in their territories, according to the Law. Art. 158. The Armed Forces and the Police are institutions for the protection of rights, liberties and guarantees for the citizens. The Armed Forces has as its fundamental mission the defense of sovereignty and territorial integrity. Art. 416. In number 5 it is established that Ecuador recognizes the rights of distinct pueblos that coexist within the States, especially in promoting mechanisms that express, preserve and protect the diverse character of their societies and rejects racism, xenophobia, and all other forms of discrimination. Art. 423. The integration, especially with Latin American and Caribbean countries, will be a strategic objective of the State. Number 6 of this article establishes that there will be a common defense policy that will consolidate a strategic alliance to strengthen the sovereignty of the countries and of the region. Sovereignty in the 1998 Constitution Art. 2. The Ecuadorian territory is inalienable and irreducible. It is made of the Real Audiencia de Quito with the modifications introduced in current treaties, the adjacent islands, the Galapagos Archipelago, the territorial sea, the subsoil and the overlying space... Art. 5. Ecuador may form associations with one or more States for the promotion and defense of its national interests. Art. 183. The Armed Forces has as its mission the conservation of the national sovereignty, the defense of the integrity and the independence of the State