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On Tuesday, the fifth of April, the Ecuadorian Government announced the expulsion of the United States ambassador Heather Hodges. The government expressed that the ambassador was not an unwelcome person. This action was taken by consequence of a confidential diplomatic leak, from Wikileaks, and was published by the newspaper El Pais. The leak contained information about the corruption present in Ecuador, mainly in the Police ground.
In a press conference, the foreign minister Ricardo Patiño said: “ We have asked that she abandons the country as soon as she can. Regarding the relationship with United States, he also claimed: “ There is no way, that we would intend to affect the relationship with United States”. In response United States has classified the issue as “unjustified”.
Mr. Patiño called Mrs. Hodges to her office, in order to ask some explanations about the diplomatic leak that was exposed in the media. The ambassador in response, said that the documents had been stolen, and that neither her nor her Government would make any comments about it. The minister explained that once said that she was not a welcome person in the country, it is directed to a functionary who did a leak of this nature and then she resign to give any other explanation about the them”.
Mr. Patiño, also assured that Ecuador would not proceed to contact its ambassador in Washington, because its reaction has is not linked at all towards the American Government, but it’s linked against the leaks that had been signed by the ambassador.”
The leaked material had been released in 2009. Whereas the United States embassy in Quito affirmed that “ the corruption is generalized in the rows of the Ecuadorian Police”. The leaked document exposed the information about a policeman named Jaime Hurtado Vaca, whom resigned his charge on May of the same year. The document contained information about how the referred policeman had utilized his status by being the main authority in his congregation. He recurred to extortionate, accumulated money, facilitated the traffic of people and protected other corrupted agents as well.
Also, the document exposed “ that some of the functionaries of the United States embassy thought that the President Rafael Correa, was conscious about the corrupt activities. Some observers concerned about the issue, believed that Correa took advantage of this situation in order to have a Chief policeman whom could be easily manipulated”.
Mr. Patiño affirmed: “It is absolutely unacceptable, our Government cannot accept this kind of information that has been released by the ambassador of United States in our country.”
On the other hand, the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, had accused United States of spying the country’s policeman. In an interview that was retransmitted by more than ten radio stations, he affirmed that the relationship among both countries “were the best”, he remarked that it was a “pity” about how this things can be done, spying the police, and trying to involucrate the President of the Republic in corruption cases. He classified Mrs. Hodges as “ bad functionary” that he “had never liked” to his executive. And added, that “ he wished that this doesn’t damage the relationship among United States and Ecuador, because if it does, what a shame, but here we will make the sovereignty of the country be respected”.
Grasping also the other side point of view, a spokesman from the Whitehouse declared, “ The ambassador Hodges is one of our most experimented and talented diplomatic. The State department considers her expulsion as unjustified and we are deeply sorry that the Ecuadorian Government proceeded to do so ”.
The American ambassador from her side said that the decision of Correa’s executive has left her “ tremendously sad”.” I hope I can have another opportunity, maybe, to answer questions”. She added that she did not count with enough time to prepare an adequate response regarding the question about the leaking material from Wikileaks, and that before she make any declarations about the issue, she has to consult Washington.