QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador’s government has told the U.S. Agency for International Development that it will not renew its agreements with the South American country, according a letter obtained by The Associated Press.
The Nov. 26 letter sent to the U.S. Embassy in the Ecuadorean capital of Quito says, the “USAID must not execute any new activity,” nor widen any existing projects in Ecuador.
Gabriela Rosero of Ecuador’s international cooperation agency, who signed the letter addressed to USAID program officer Christopher M. Cushing, said in a subsequent interview with the AP that the U.S. government aid organization must leave by Sept. 30. “The decision has been made,” she said.
President Rafael Correa suggested in December that the USAID’s programs were no longer welcome in Ecuador, saying on one of his regular Saturday programs on television and radio that “we don’t need charity.”
A U.S. Embassy official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and requested anonymity, said that it was the United States that decided to close the USAID office in Ecuador.
Relations between the two countries have been tense since Correa assumed power in 2007.
Ecuador expelled two U.S. Embassy officials in 2009, accusing them of interfering in the country’s internal affairs.
Correa’s government ordered the U.S. Embassy’s military group, about 20 Defense Department employees, to leave Ecuador by the end of April. The anti-drug unit at the mission, which is not connected to the DEA, has been notified that it has to leave Ecuador by September.
Embassy spokesman Jeffrey Weinshenker said that the US government had worked with Ecuador for more 60 years to deliver “more than $800 million in development aid that had enriched the lives of hundreds of thousands of Ecuadoreans.”
According to U.S. Embassy reports, USAID in Ecuador had a $15 million budget for fiscal year 2013.
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