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Ecuador embraces neoliberal reform and US interests

Part 4 - Security Cooperation and Free Trade: Re-establishing U.S. Hegemony

Diplomatic relations between Ecuador and the U.S. had deteriorated severely under Correa’s government. But that wasn’t the result of Correa’s whim, but of over two decades of social mobilization in rejection of U.S. foreign policy in Ecuador and the region, especially its military expansion and promotion of Free Trade Agreements (FTA).

It has been over 10 years since social movements, organized civil society and progressive governments in Latin America effectively defeated the U.S.-sponsored Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

However, today “there is more pressure from Ecuador’s government to the U.S. government to sign a trade agreement… and it is not necessary to bolster exports because many Ecuadorean products are already entering the U.S. with no tariffs,” David Suarez explains.

Pence didn’t visit Moreno to sign an FTA, but because he has been tasked with gaining hemispheric support for the U.S. campaign against Venezuela and with paving the way for greater military control over the region. “Ecuador gains regional relevance in that sense,” Suarez affirms.

The U.S. might be swayed into accepting an FTA with Ecuador, but it will come at a cost for the country and the region; a cost the Ecuadorean government has already started to pay.

Ecuador played a leading role in the efforts to rid the region of U.S. military presence through the promotion of regional military cooperation within Unasur.

This year, the U.S. managed to get its Office for Security Cooperation re-invited after offering Moreno help in dealing with a series of attacks and kidnappings in Ecuador’s northern border with Colombia. Correa had expelled the Office in 2014 arguing it had gained undue influence over Ecuador’s national security institutions, including the military and the police.

Pence thanked Moreno for this gesture during his visit.

One of the U.S. most significant diplomatic victories thus far has been to plunge Unasur, the only regional integration body with no U.S. presence, into a crisis, when six U.S. allies and members of the Lima Group announced their “temporary” withdrawal.

Ecuador was one of the other six members that remained, which is also Unasur’s host country, but that has since changed. On July 5 President Moreno announced he was asking “Unasur to return that building so it can be better used.” Later that day he announced the building would be given to the National Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities to house the intercultural university Amawtay Wasi, which was shut down in 2013 for not meeting standards of quality.

According to former Unasur chief Ernesto Samper, Unasur’s South American Defense Council played a crucial role in the region’s push back against foreign military bases in South America and U.S. military hegemony.

Moreno’s latest decisions consolidate the U.S. victory over the project of sovereign South American integration.

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WikiLeaks paper reveals Ecuadorian private business elites declared war on Rafael Correa right after his election and asked for US support


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