Ecuador expels US embassy official

Correa says the US official has abruptly ended a financing deal with local police.

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

    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.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    A relatively new independence and fresh waves of conflict inspire a South Sudanese refugee to build antiwar video games.