Ecuador’s Correa Rashly Expels the U.S. Ambassador

Ray Walser /

Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador

On April 5, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa rashly declared the U.S. Ambassador Heather Hodges persona non grata. Hodges has been ordered to leave the country in short order. The U.S. State Department rightly called the action “unjustified.”

The reason for Correa’s pique is the unauthorized release via WikiLeaks of a July 2009 cable asking for the revocation of the U.S. travel visa of Jaime Aquilino Hurtado Vaca, then commander of Ecuador’s national police. In the cable, the State Department drafter observed that “Hurtado’s corrupt activities were so widely known within the upper ranks of the [police] that some Embassy officials believe that President Correa must have been aware of them when he made the appointment.” The U.S. State Department regularly uses visa revocations as a tool for fighting corruption in Latin America and elsewhere around the world. (more…)