Ecuador expels 'insolent' U.S. diplomat

Feb. 7, 2009 at 8:21 PM
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QUITO, Ecuador, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Ecuador's president has ordered the expulsion of an "insolent" U.S. diplomat for a letter suspending U.S. aid to a national police unit, a report reveals.

U.S. attache Armando Astorga was given 48 hours to "grab his suitcases and get out of the country," the Latin American Herald Tribune quoted Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa as telling his foreign minister.

Astorga was in charge of working with Ecuador's national police force, the Herald Tribune said.

"We don't accept anyone here who treats us like a colony," Correa said in his weekly activities report made public Saturday.

Astorga said in a Jan. 8 letter that $340,000 in U.S. funding for anti-contraband operations was being suspended after Correa had ended U.S. evaluation of the Ecuadorian personnel and commander of the unit.

"Mr. Astorga, keep your dirty money, we don't need it. We have sovereignty and dignity here. Keep the $340,000, you stupid, insolent one," Correa said.

He said Ecuador would return to the United States all resources given to the police unit.

"Ecuador doesn't need charity from anybody," he said.

Correa said Ecuador will propose donating $160,000 annually for a project to eliminate torture in the United States.

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