Ecuador Breaks Trade Agreement with US – Refuses to be “blackmailed”
By Natalie Simon | SA Breaking News – 5 hours ago
Quito – US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden’s search for asylum is escalating tension between Ecuador and the United States, as Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa makes his disdain for US authority clear. At a press conference held by the Ecuadorian government on Thursday officials renounced the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) following threats from the US administration.“Ecuador does not accept pressure or threats from anyone, nor does it trade with principles or submit them to mercantile interests, however important those may be,” said Ecuadorian communications secretary, Fernando Alvarado.
According to the officials the ATPA is due for renewal in July, and US officials had threatened to cancel the trade agreement if Ecuador did go ahead and offer Snowden asylum.
Speaking at the press conference Ecuadorian officials also offered a donation of $23 million for human rights training in the United States.
Founder of the anti-censorship group, Wiki-leaks is presently living in the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom to avoid capture and extradition. Wiki-leaks has stepped into the international fray created by Snowden’s revelations of the US intelligence surveillance programmes. Wiki-leaks is supporting Snowden financially and acting as a go-between in his negotiation for asylum from the US government.
Snowden is currently believed to be camping out in the transit lounge in a Moscow airport after the US invalidated his passport.
Minister of Political Co-ordination in Ecuador said no asylum request for Snowden had been processed as Snowden was not at an Ecuadorean embassy or consulate. The law requires an asylum seeker to be on Ecuadorean territory when making the request.
There is said to be some conflict within the Ecuadorean government over whether to grant asylum to Snowden. According to The Guardian while leftists have embraced Snowden as a symbol of anti-imperialism there are a number of centrists in the government who fear the diplomatic and economic consequences of defying the US on this matter.