Ecuador Ousts U.S. Diplomat

The Associated Press reports that an U.S. Ambassador will be expelled from Ecuador over a 2009 diplomatic cable revealed by WikiLeaks that accuses a retired police chief of dishonesty and speculates that Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa knew about his questionable activity. In the cable, Ambassador Heather Hodges stated that Correa knew of “supposed acts of corruption by members of the police leadership and more specifically the former commander of the institution, Jaime Hurtado Vaca.”  According to Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, who announced Hodges’ expulsion at a news conference, the ambassador did not explain what led her to say those things when called into his office. 

In the WikiLeaks cable, dated July 10, 2009 and published by Madrid-based newspaper El Pais, Hodges recommends that Hurtado (police commander from 2008 to 2009) be stripped of his U.S. visa amid allegations that he used his position to facilitate human trafficking and obstruct investigations, among other acts.

"We have asked that she leaves the country as soon as possible," Patino said.  The foreign minister has stressed that the expulsion is not directed against U.S. President Obama’s administration."

The State Department has called the decision to expel Hodges "unjustified" but a spokesperson from the department said it would be too soon to say how it would respond.

Hodges isn’t the first diplomat to be expelled from the South American country. Correa has expelled two others (who were accused of meddling in police-related matters) since he took office in 2007.