Ecuador: US military could use Galápagos island for flights

QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador's government says it may let the U.S. military use a Galápagos island for aircraft on anti-drug trafficking flights, drawing criticism that the agreement would damage the archipelago's unique animal and plant life.

About 30 people protested outside the main government office in Quito on Monday, calling the plan a threat to the environment of the U.N. world heritage site as well as Ecuador's sovereignty.

Last week, Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrín said San Cristóbal island could be a staging point for American aircraft flying surveillance missions aimed at stopping drug traffickers who transport their illicit cargo by sea. Jarrín said flight crews would stay a week at most on the island and would be monitored by Ecuadorian authorities.

The U.S. military did not immediately comment.

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