Don’t have much time for politics on this trip. Especially the internal affairs of the nations I’m in. I’m just another traveler passing through, looking to learn about the people, their history and culture. I want to see how they live and how they learn and how they treat each other as well as their attitude towards outsiders.
But sometimes politics is the wrapping paper that holds all things. You can’t ignore it, or escape it. Ecuador is just one of those countries where politics plays out daily, but especially in the streets. There’s no escaping the fresh political graffiti that cover whole sides of buildings and monuments or once-blank walls. The messages condemn government corruption and trampling on freedom and democracy. The political writings on walls lay blame squarely at the foot of President Rafael Correa, who – according to Ecuadorians I’ve talked to – has turned the country upside down and ruined years of progress. Foreign investors have left, fearing government policies that they see as anti business. Correa has painted foreign investors as evil, taking more than they give to the country, and he has found support among the largely poor, indigenous population.
First elected in 2006, he has pushed through changes to the constitution that has granted him more power and attacked press freedoms and freedom of speech. He has closely aligned himself with Venezuela President Hugo Chavez and Bolivia President Evo Morales, in an anti-U.S. tirades. His more recent action was to follow in the footsteps of Chavez and Morales by expelling the U.S. ambassador. The three countries now have no U.S. ambassadors. In turn, there are no ambassadors from Bolivia, Venezuela and now Ecuador in the United States.
Correa expelled the U.S. ambassador because of a leaked memo in which she suggested Correa may have known that the head of the police department was corrupt and yet still appointed him.
So relations between Ecuador and the United States are now strain, with the U.S. threatening more sanctions.
You can find more about Ecuador politics and current rift between the two countries by a simple Google search. The question is, should the United States take further action against an Ecuadorian government that it sees as further aligning itself with governments that have declared themselves enemies of the United States, such as Iran, while still accepting U.S. aid and preferential trade agreements? Vote below.