Ecuador expels US diplomats

Ecuador expelled US diplomat Mark Sullivan Feb. 19, accusing him of trying to handpick officials of the National Police. On Feb. 7 President Rafael Correa told another US diplomat, Armando Astorga, to leave on similar charges that he sought to manipulate appointments in police programs receiving United States aid. Correa, is in a re-election campaign and has stressed his credentials as a leader determined to stand up to foreign influence. Correa charges Astorga with conditioning $360 million in US aid on his ability to intervene in appointment of police commanders. “We regret this decision by the government of Ecuador,” said a State Department spokesman, Gordon Duguid. “We also reject any suggestion of wrongdoing by embassy staff.” Ecuador’s media cited anonymous diplomatic sources saying Sullivan is an agent of the CIA. (NYT, El Comericio, Feb. 20; InfoBae, Argentina, Feb. 18)

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