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Expelled US envoy leaves Ecuador

13 April 2011 3:08

The US ambassador to Ecuador has left the country a week after being declared “persona non grata” over a diplomatic cable posted on WikiLeaks in which she criticized the Ecuadorian president.

A US Embassy source said US Ambassador Heather Hodges “left Ecuador this [Tuesday] morning,” AFP reported.

The US State Department responded to Ecuador’s action by ordering the expulsion of Quito’s envoy to Washington, Luis Gallegos.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa gave the order for the expulsion of Hodges after WikiLeaks published a diplomatic cable on its website in which the US ambassador said Correa was aware of police corruption in the country.

In the cable, dated July 10, 2009, Hodges accused Jaime Hurtado, “a corrupted police commander,” of using his position “to extort cash and property, misappropriate public funds, facilitate human trafficking, and obstruct the investigation and prosecution of corrupt colleagues.”

In February 2009, Ecuador expelled two other US diplomats, Mark Sullivan and Armando Astorga, accusing them of meddling in the country’s internal affairs.

Correa said Sullivan was the CIA chief in Ecuador.

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