In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Ecuador expels US embassy official

Posted by seumasach on February 8, 2009

 

“Correa also said that he would allow US coast guard airplanes to land on Ecuadorean soil, a request made earlier by Heather Hodges, the US ambassador, only “on one condition: that we be allowed to vet the pilots of those planes, so that they don’t sneak criminals into the country.”

Eldib

8th February, 2009

Correa, who enjoys a 70 per cent popularity rating, will run for a second term as president in April polls.

The president of Ecuador has ordered a US embassy official to leave after accusing him of meddling in local police projects, a move likely to fray ties with Washington.

President Rafael Correa said during his weekly media address on Saturday: “Foreign minister, give this gentleman 48 hours to pack up his suitcases and get out of the country”.

 

 

The popular leftist president has generally kept good relations with the United States since he took office in 2007, but his socialist allies in Bolivia and Venezuela have often clashed with Washington over US policies in Latin America.

Correa said Armando Astorga, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement attache, had abruptly ended a financing deal with local police after authorities refused to abide by his terms in selecting officers in charge of the aid projects.

Correa said Astorga suspended $340,000 in annual aid to Ecuador’s anti-contraband police and demanded in a January 8 letter that the police return all vehicles, furniture, cameras and phones donated by Washington.
“Mr Astorga keep your dirty money. We don’t need it. We have dignity in this country,” he said.

“Ecuador doesn’t need charity from anyone.”
Fred Lash, a US State Department spokesman, said that Washington was aware of the announcement and was checking into it.
Anti-US sentiment

Correa also said that he would allow US coast guard airplanes to land on Ecuadorean soil, a request made earlier by Heather Hodges, the US ambassador, only “on one condition: that we be allowed to vet the pilots of those planes, so that they don’t sneak criminals into the country.”
There has been tension with Washington since Correa vowed not to renew a lease ending this year on a coastal air base used by US troops for counter-narcotics missions.

Correa, who enjoys a 70 per cent popularity rating, is running for a second four-year term as president in April elections.

Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president and a standard-bearer for anti-US sentiment, last year expelled the US ambassador to Caracas and Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, kicked out the US envoy in September after accusing him of fanning civil unrest.

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