Emails released during the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server while she was U.S. Secretary of State, reveal that the U.S. tried to convince Ecuador President Rafael Correa to change his mind about expelling U.S. Ambassador Heather Hodges in 2010. When Correa stood firm, the U.S. retaliated.
In a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks in 2010, Hodges accused a retired police officer of corruption and speculated that President Correa was aware of the situation. An angry Correa, claimed he didn’t know anything about the alleged corruption and called for the immediate expulsion of Hodges. Following Hodges’ dismissal, relations between the U.S. and Ecuador remained rocky until a new ambassador was named more than a year later.
Clinton’s emails show that Arturo Valenzuela, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs in 2010, contacted the foreign ministers of Colombia and Peru, asking them to try to persuade Correa to retract Hodges’ expulsion. In a message to Clinton, Valenzuela wrote, “We immediately reached out to the press to explain why we took this action. I also spoke to FM Maria Angela Holguin (Colombia) and FM Jose Antonio Garcia (Peru) to brief them on this step and encouraged them to reach out to the Ecuadorians to ask them to refrain from escalating matters.”
Clinton’s emails also show that the U.S. later retaliated to the ambassador’s dismissal by denying Ecuador’s plan to open consulates in New Orleans and Phoenix.