Two unrelated stories, happening in Ecuador:
The first one, via Kate,
Ecuador expulsa a un agregado de la Embajada de EE.UU. por ‘colonialista’
El presidente de Ecuador, Rafael Correa, ordenó el sábado la expulsión de un agregado de la embajada estadounidense acusándolo de tratar a su país como colonia, al condicionar una ayuda económica a la Policía.
Ecuador expels a US embassy employee, accusing him of “colonialism”.
Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa ordered on Saturday the expulsion of a US Embassy employee, accusing him of treating his [Coreea’s] country as a colony, by setting conditions on economic aid to the police.
Yes, that doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense (other that Correa came up with some lame excuse), but that’s exactly the news item for you.
UPDATE, Monday 9 February Here’s the AP version.
The second item, Ecuador: Port Deal Falls Through
Hutchison Whampoa, a conglomerate based in Hong Kong, pulled out of a deal to operate a cargo port in the city of Manta, dealing a blow to President Rafael Correa’s plan to develop the area after an American lease on an air base there expires. The lease has permitted the United States to use the base for antidrug surveillance flights in the region. Mr. Correa had recently threatened to expel Hutchison for not meeting an investment timetable, the latest of several clashes he has had with foreign investors. American military personnel and contractors are still expected to leave the Manta base in November, when the 10-year lease expires.
Both items are not related to each other but they bring across the point that Ecuador (which last December decided to default on its debt, just because they felt like it) is increasingly hostile not only to Americans, but to foreign investment.
Economically, Ecuador’s feeling the pinch from the drop in oil prices.
Hardly surprising, then, to find the BBC headline, Latin America poverty ‘may soar’
The dramatic drop in the price of oil has also raised concerns about the future of social programmes in major oil exporting countries in the region like Ecuador and Venezuela.
About the only country in the region that is prepared to do significant counter-cyclical measures is Chile. Chile established a fund with proceeds from the commodities boom.