President Rafael Correa said Wednesday that Washington has too many military officers assigned to its embassy in Ecuador and he plans to order some to leave.
Correa, a U.S.-educated economist who calls himself a “modern leftist,” made the remarks during a meeting with international correspondents and did not offer any more details.
“There are about fifty,” he said. “What justifies that?”
“Unfortunately, these people have been infiltrated in all sectors, which scandalously seemed normal. They flew in the helicopters of the air force, of the army. It was normal for foreign soldiers to be flying with our soldiers in frontier areas.”
The U.S. Embassy’s press officer, Jeffrey Weinshenker, told the Associated Press that it had not received any notification from Ecuador’s government about the subject.
“There are about 20 military and civilians accredited before the Ecuadorean government to participate in a range of activities,” Weinshenker said. “All our activities occur with the explicit approval of Ecuadorean authorities.”
Relations between the U.S. and Ecuador have been rocky in recent years, and Correa’s government recently announced it was asking the U.S. Agency for International Development to leave, accusing it of meddling in internal affairs.