Lawmakers Concerned About Deteriorating U.S.-Ecuador Relations

Send letter to Ecuadorian president ahead of his speeches at U.S. universities

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa / AP

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is raising concerns about America’s deteriorating relations with Ecuador as President Rafael Correa prepares to deliver speeches this week at U.S. universities.

The senators who wrote a letter to Correa on Tuesday said they "remain concerned about the trajectory of bilateral relations." The letter mentioned the closure of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Ecuador, as well as convictions of opposition lawmakers and journalists, as actions that undermine freedom of expression and development assistance for Ecuadoreans.

The senators also criticized Correa for linking winning opposition candidates with fascist groups during recent municipal elections.

"We are concerned by your statement regarding the newly-elected Mayor of Quito, Mauricio Rodas, whose election you referred to as a challenge to governability in the country," the letter said. "Political pluralism and tolerance are fundamental for any democracy, and your comments risk undercutting democratic governance."

Correa, a fiery leftist leader, has been widely accused of attempting to silence his critics with one of the most repressive media regulation laws in the region. Critical journalists routinely face fines and imprisonments.

Correa will speak at Harvard and Yale Universities this week, beginning with an address Wednesday night at Harvard.