Ecuador to US: We Won't Be 'Blackmailed' over Snowden
Ecuador to US: We Won't Be 'Blackmailed' over Snowden
By Jon Queally /

Vowing not to be bullied, nation cancels trade pact preemptively and offers US human rights training

The clear message from the Ecuadorean government on Thursday is that it would not be bullied or 'blackmailed' by the US government over the possible asylum of Edward Snowden.

At a government press conference held in Quito, officials said the US was employing international economic "blackmail" in its attempts to obtain NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, but that such threats would not work.

Snowden, who remains inside an airport terminal in Russia, has become a flashpoint between Ecuador and the US after confirmation that the 30 year-old intelligence contractor has sought asylum in the Latin American country.

Ecuador indicated its offer of 'human rights assistance' to the US could be used to help address its recent problems with torture, illegal executions, and the attack on the privacy of its citizens.

On Wednesday, led by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the US threatened to deny Ecuador preferential trade status if it accepted Snowden's application for political asylum after he leaked a trove of classified documents that revealed details about the NSA's vast surveillance programs in the US and abroad.

“Our government will not reward countries for bad behavior,” Menendez said in a statement from Washington. “If Snowden is granted asylum in Ecuador, I will lead the effort to prevent the renewal of Ecuador’s duty-free access under GSP and will also make sure there is no chance for renewal of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act. Trade preferences are a privilege granted to nations, not a right.”

But on Thursday, Ecuador nullified the US threats—and made it clear it would not be intimidated by the global superpower—by proactively cancelling the trade agreement.

"Ecuador unilaterally and irrevocably renounces these preferential customs tariff rights," government spokesman Fernando Alvarado said at the news conference.

"Ecuador will not accept pressures or threats from anyone, and it does not traffic in its values or allow them to be subjugated to mercantile interests," he said.

Alvarado, who called threats from the US over trade arrangements a form of "blackmail,” said Ecuador’s government would not only willingly accept the loss of approximately $23 million in trade benefits, but in addition would offer a gift, in the form of an aid package of the same amount, that would be directed to provide human rights training in the United States.

According to reports, Ecuador indicated the money could be used to help the US address its recent problem with torture, illegal executions, and the attacks on the privacy of its citizens.

As Agence France-Presse reports, the trade agreement between Ecuador goes back decades:

The United States is Ecuador's main trade partner, buying 40 percent of the Andean nation's exports, or the equivalent of $9 billion per year.

The preferential trade program was set to expire on July 31 unless the US Congress renewed it. The arrangement, which dates back to the early 1990s, originally benefited four Andean nations and Ecuador was the last country still participating in it.

And Reuters adds:

Never shy of taking on the West, the pugnacious Correa last year granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to help him avoid extradition from Great Britain to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault accusations.

The 50-year-old U.S.-trained economist won a landslide re-election in February on generous state spending to improve infrastructure and health services, and his Alianza Pais party holds a majority in the legislature.

Ecuadorean officials said Washington was unfairly using the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, which provides customs benefits in exchange for efforts to fight the drug trade, as a political weapon.

The program was set to expire at the end of this month.


3.7 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 14,740 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 9,412 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
25 Mind-Twisting Optical Illusion Paintings by Rob Gonsalves
Dovas · 8,993 views today · The beautiful and mind-bending illusions in Canadian artist Robert Gonsalves’ paintings have a fun way of twisting your perception and causing you to question what in his...
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 6,495 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
No Moral Superpower: Arundhati Roy, Edward Snowden, and the Crimes of Empire
Jake Johnson · 3,409 views today · When Arundhati Roy was preparing, in 2014, for a trip to Moscow to meet Edward Snowden, she was troubled by two things. One of them was the fact that the meeting was arranged...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 3,052 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
The Empire Vs. The People - Police Attack and Arrest Peaceful Protestors at the Dakota Access Pipeline
6 min · 2,671 views today · On October 22, just before dawn, hundreds of people, including many families, gathered and prepared to march toward the Dakota Access pipeline construction site near Standing...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 2,400 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
These Incredible Stories Remind Us of Our Better Selves
36 min · 2,277 views today · #WhoWeAre is a campaign to share the stories of people whose actions show us compassion and to send a message of empathy, hope and optimism. These videos will automatically...
The Burden of the New Story
Adebayo Akomolafe · 2,273 views today · The 'new story' - that longed for milieu when all is right with the world and things are set straight - seems to be taking its sweet time coming. Why?
Men Loving Men
Bianca Vivion · 1,989 views today · When my father was seven he and his best friend Phil cut their index fingers open and placed them together to create a “blood pact” that they would always be brothers. To this...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,702 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
And After the Election, The Reaction
Ret Marut · 864 views today · Could there be any better illustration of the shortcomings of representative democracy than this year’s Presidential campaign? For months upon tiresome months, the whole world...
Writers Tom Hayden and Naomi Klein Talk About Journalism and Activism
27 min · 824 views today · Author, Activist and Former California State Senator Tom Hayden talks in depth with the author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein, about the state of the fourth...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 681 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
#Hypernormalisation - Why Heathrow Plan Is Proof We Exist in a Catastrophic Fantasyland
Matthew Adams · 655 views today · The British government recently gave the green light for Heathrow airport’s third runway. It was heralded by its supporters as a vital boost for jobs and growth – and proof...
F*ck That: A Guided Meditation for the Realities of Today's World
2 min · 649 views today · Just acknowledge that all that sh*t is f*cking b*llshit — you're here now, in this place, with your inner stillness. Take in a deep breath ... now breathe out. Just feel the...
'The Climate of Fear Is Unacceptable' - Ken Loach on I, Daniel Blake
6 min · 638 views today · Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or-winning film I, Daniel Blake tells the story of a man who is denied disability benefit after a heart attack and who is then subsequently caught in a...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 620 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Three Massive Mergers - Millions for One Bank and a Disaster for Food, Water, and Climate
Wenonah Hauter · 548 views today · In addition to advising on all three mega-mergers, Credit Suisse is playing a big role behind the scenes of the Dakota Access pipeline.
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Ecuador to US: We Won't Be 'Blackmailed' over Snowden