Below is an article that appeared in the Otago Daily Times during Cora Fobros' tour of New Zealand. Further details of her visit can be seen on earlier posts.
Activist speaks against spy bases
By Sam Stevens
Created 09/07/2008 - 06:00
International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases (Asia-Pacific) co-ordinator Cora Fabros was in Dunedin yesterday to talk about the impact of foreign military bases on indigenous people. Photo by Peter McIntosh. While international espionage is often associated with hi-tech gadgets and fast cars, the reality is far less glamorous, says a Filipino activist, who began a national speaking tour in Dunedin yesterday.
At Dunedin Community House last night International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases Asia Pacific co-ordinator Cora Fabros spoke about the impact of military bases, specifically those maintained by the United States, on indigenous peoples world-wide.
Ms Fabros also discussed facilities in this country, such as the Waihopai "spy-base" in Marlborough, and those at Tangimoana, near Palmerston North, and Harewood, Christchurch.
"It's a fringe issue in New Zealand and I hope the trip will provide a global and regional context, which might motivate people to take an interest in these activities," she said.
The operation of two large US military facilities in the Philippines for almost 100 years galvanised her opposition to foreign bases.
For many, the bases, which could accommodate up to 100,000 personnel, represented a virtual "occupation" by foreign powers and were symbolic of a loss of sovereignty, she said.
However, for some Filipinos the "fall-out" from facilities is more tangible.
Near a decommissioned base in Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines, residents had been affected by pollution from asbestos and defoliant chemicals.
Apart from respiratory illness, there was a high incidence of cancer in women and miscarriage, she said.
"When the bases closed about 15 years ago, negotiations did not really look at a clean-up plan. We regret that now."
Military expansion often meant funds were being diverted from core infrastructure in developing nations, she said.
Her seminars will be held in Blenheim, Wellington, Palmerston North and Auckland this month.