Friday, February 13, 2009

Ecuador: Correa expels US official

As Ecuadorians prepare for their first general elections under the progressive new constitution adopted in a referendum last year, tensions with the United States continue to rise with the government expelling a key US diplomat.

In his February 7 weekly radio program, Ecuador's left-wing president Rafael Correa officially expelled the US official Armando Astorga, accusing him of bribery, suspending aid worth US$340,000 and meddling in police affairs.

"Mr Astorga, keep your dirty money, we don't need it. We have dignity in this country", Correa said. "We're not going to let anyone treat us as if we were a colony here."

Astorga, who has left the country, is accused of taking computers and sensitive anti-drug police information with him.