Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Ecuador expels U.S. military group

Apr. 25, 2014 - 08:26AM   |  
  • Filed Under

QUITO, ECUADOR — Ecuador has ordered all 20 Defense Department employees in the U.S. Embassy’s military group to leave the country by month’s end, The Associated Press has learned.

The group was ordered to halt operations in Ecuador in a letter dated April 7, said embassy spokesman Jeffrey Weinshenker.

The AP was first alerted to the expulsions by a senior Ecuadorean official who refused to be identified by name due to the information’s sensitive nature.

President Rafael Correa had publicly complained in January that Washington had too many military officers in Ecuador, claiming there were 50, and said they had been “infiltrated in all sectors.” At the time, he said he planned to order some to leave.

Weinshenker said the military group had 20 Department of Defense employees, not all of them uniformed, and that Washington had provided $7 million in security assistance to Ecuador last year, including technical training for maintaining aircraft and cooperation in combatting drug trafficking, human trafficking and terrorism.

Weinshenker said U.S. military cooperation in Ecuador dates back four decades and that “all the activities we have carried out have had the explicit approval of our Ecuadorean counterparts.”

U.S. relations with Ecuador have been strained in recent years, even before Correa provided asylum in 2012 to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose organization published troves of leaked U.S. military documents and diplomatic cables highly embarrassing to Washington.

Correa had previously expelled at least three U.S. diplomats including then-Ambassador Heather Hodges in 2011 in response to a cable divulged by WikiLeaks that suggested Correa was aware of high-level police corruption.

In November, Correa’s government said it was asking the U.S. Agency for International Development to end operations in the country, accusing it of backing the opposition.

USAID is to end operations in September when programs it is funding have run their course.

Shortly after first taking office in 2007, Correa purged Ecuador’s military of officers deemed to have close relations with U.S. counterparts. He also ended an agreement with Washington that allowed U.S. drug interdiction flights to be based at the Ecuadorean airfield in Manta.

Correa is popular at home for his poverty-fighting programs but widely criticized for stifling civil liberties and using criminal defamation law against journalists.

———

Associated Press writer Frank Bajak in Lima, Peru, contributed to this report.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Air Force Times

This Week's Air Force Times

Keep airmen, cut waste
How airmen say the Air Force could save money

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook