Saturday, April 26, 2008

U.S. policy toward Ecuador

The L.A. Times offers up a solid editorial on U.S. policy toward Ecuador, counseling “respectful engagement, not Cold War bluster.” It also brings up an issue I had just discussed in my U.S.-Latin American Relations class on Wed., namely the importance of distinguishing between nationalism and hostility toward the U.S. government. For example, the Manta base in Ecuador is unpopular, and other presidential candidates similarly called for its closure. Yet when Correa moves ahead with it, the U.S. frames the decision as an ideological move that puts Correa in league with Chávez.

This is an age-old problem. During the Cold War, the U.S. was all too often blind to domestic realities, so nationalists were most often labeled either communists or dupes of communists. The unfortunate result is that we made (and continue to make) enemies of people who need not be so.


Tambopaxi 7:59 AM  

Greg, I must have missed the news somewhere. The U.S. government has come out against Correa and accused him of being anti-American? When/where did that happen?

Greg Weeks 8:33 AM  

That’s not a very good way of looking at it. There’s nothing so dramatic as an “accusation” of being “anti-American.” Rather, it is framing the issue in terms of Venezuela.

is the opening statement (by Dan Burton) of the congressional hearing held a few weeks ago with Insulza. For example, “Ecuador’s plan to not renew the contract for the Manta Airbase and Bolivian President Evo Morales’ rhetoric against the U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia has been troubling, as have many actions and rhetoric coming from Venezuela. Unfortunately, Ecuador’s President has recently followed suit by stepping up accusations against the US as well.” As 2009 nears, I am certain these sorts of statements will increase.

Tambopaxi 5:35 PM  

I may be alone on this, but I take the phrase, "the U.S." to mean the USG. Burton's well known for his right wing statements and he's not alone in the Congress in these sentiments, but he is just one U.S. Rep. after all and certainly not the U.S.

I will say that Rice, Clinton and Obamam have all made derogatory remarks about Chavez, but official statements about Correa have been muted, if anything. Re: Manta, the official stance of the Ambassador here (as in published remarks) and those in Washington, has been, "We respect (note the word) the decision of the Government of Ecuador."

Regarding Ecuador, the restraint of the USG in face of the repeated and intemperate anti-U.S. remarks of Correa has been admirable if nothing else. Correa misses no chance to bash the U.S. and express his friendship and solidarity with Chavez (NB: Correa's actions regarding Chavez are quite something different, but that's a whole 'nother subject).

The LAT seems to view Correa's words as those of some teenage kid who merely needs to be better understood and tolerated. The Times seems to have forgotten that this guy is the elected, 40-something President of a country who speaks for 13 million people who most definitely are not anti-American. Correa needs to remember that and rein himself in, and so should the Times. (NB again: I limit my comments to Ecuador only, not Venezuela nor Bolivia; that's someone else's beat.)

Justin Delacour 5:56 PM  


Why, exactly, should Correa give a shit if the U.S. government doesn't like it that he doesn't want a U.S. military base in his country?

If you can't see that the United States' knee-jerk support of Colombia in the Ecuador-Colombia dispute was provocative, you're not looking very hard.

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