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USAID expelled by Ecuador: Gabriela Rosero orders US agency to leave the country

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) greets President Barack Obama before the president's speech the third day of the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library April 10, 2014 in Austin, Texas. The summit marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of the C
U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) greets President Barack Obama before the president's speech the third day of the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library April 10, 2014 in Austin, Texas. The summit marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of the C
Photo by Kevin Winter

USAID has been expelled by Ecuador's Gabriela Rosero and the decision follows a controversial statement made by President Rafael Correa (Ecuador) in December in which he said that the USAID's (United States Agency for International Development) programs were no longer welcome in the country. According to a report released by The Associated Press Friday, Rosero, of Ecuador's international cooperation agency, sent a letter to the U.S. Embassy in the Ecuadorean capital of Quito saying that "USAID must not execute any new activity," nor widen any existing projects in Ecuador.

The letter was signed by Rosero and was sent on Nov. 26, 2013. USAID must leave Ecuador in late September after the government of President Rafael Correa refused to renew the agreements for operation.

""The decision has been made," Rosero said in an interview with the AP. However, an official at the U.S. Embassy, who is not authorized to speak openly on the subject and specifically asked not to be identified, said it was the US who decided to close the USAID office in Ecuador.

Last Dec., in one of his speeches televised on public television and broadcast on the radio, President Correa said that "we do not need charity." He also said that USAID, (who says on their website that their mission is to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential), is no longer welcome in Ecuador.

In the speech, the president said that this decision will not affect bilateral relations between the two countries. But as noted in The AP's report, relations between the two countries have been tense since Correa assumed power in 2007.

Since the arrival of Correa to power in 2007, relations with the U.S. have been marked by debates and tensions. In 2009, the conflict led to the expulsion of two US diplomats, Mark Sullivan and Armando Astorga, who were accused of meddling in the government's internal police policies.