Archive for April 12, 2011
US ambassador to Ecuador, Heather Hodges, left the country Tuesday a week after being declared “persona non grata” over a leaked diplomatic cable critical of President Rafael Correa. The US State Department has responded to the Ecuadoran action by ordering a tit-for-tat expulsion of Quito’s envoy to Washington, Luis Gallegos. The flap erupted a week ago after whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released a 2009 cable in which Hodges says Correa appointed a general, Jaime Hurtado, chief of police knowing he was corrupt. Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said the embassies will be headed by their respective charge d’affairs until new ambassadors are appointed. In February 2009, Correa expelled two other US diplomats, Mark Sullivan and Armando Astorga, accusing them of meddling in the country’s internal affairs. He said Sullivan was the CIA chief in Ecuador.
Scores of Iranian students have attacked the Saudi Arabian embassy with firebombs to protest the Gulf country’s role in cracking down on anti-government protesters in Bahrain. The official IRNA news agency says protesters tried to attach a flag of the Lebanese group Hezbollah to the embassy’s gate, but were prevented by police. Protesters chanted slogans against Saudi and Bahraini leaders, both followers of Sunni Islam. Iran, predominantly Shiite Muslim, has denounced the deployment of a Saudi-led force to help prop up Bahrain’s monarchy. A government crackdown against Bahrain’s Shiite-led protests has killed at least 27 people. Authorities say they see Iran’s influence among the opposition.