Ecuador gives up her trade preference status with the US, condemning it as blackmail

27.06.2013 - Quito, Ecuador - Redacción Ecuador

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Ecuador has irrevocably and unilaterally renounced its trade preference relationship with the USA, Fernando Alvarado, the Communication Minister reported in a press conference.

“In the face of threats, insolence and heavy-handedness of certain political sectors, media groups and US powers who have brought pressured to bear to have our country’s trade preferences (ATPDA) revoked (…) Ecuador does not accept pressure or threats from anyone and does not trade on that basis nor do we allow our commercial criteria to be subject to pressure and threats no matter how important they may be.  Trade preferences were given to Andean countries for their fight against drugs but they soon became a new instrument of blackmail.  As a consequence, Ecuador unilaterally and irrevocably renounces said trade preferences,” Alvarado said.

The Ecuadorian Communication Minister offered, moreover, economic assistance of 23 million dollars annually – an amount equivalent to that received in trade preferences – with the aim of offering training in matters of human rights that contribute to the avoidance of attacks on individuals, torture, extrajudicial killings and other acts that denigrate humanity.

These declarations were made on Thursday morning in Quito in a press conference given by the Communication Secretary, the Interior Minister, José Serrano and the Policy Coordination Minister, Betty Tola.

In his intervention, Serrano made clear that the document that allegedly certifies espionage by Ecuador is “a crude set-up”.

“The document that has been circulating about the purchase of spying equipment is a crude set-up without signature.  We have expressed the need to equip ourselves with elements for security as covered by article 20 of the United Nations Convention, Ecuadorian Law and the Charter of Human Rights,” Serrano said.

The minister said that any kind of technical or electronic surveillance must be requested by the Public Prosecutor with the single aim of preventing criminality.  “In Ecuador there is no phone tapping for political purposes, the phones of criminals are the only ones tapped.  This kind of technology has allowed us to solve 100% of kidnapping cases,” he pointed out.

“We invite the national and international press to demonstrate a single case of phone tapping.  We give them 24 hours or to be held up as liars.  In Ecuador, we can guarantee that no one is being tapped for political purposes,” Serrano added.

Finally, the Policy Coordination Minister clarified that information circulating regarding the alleged handing over of a document to the former US Agent, Edward Snowden, by the Ecuadorean Government is false.  “Ecuador has given nothing, the Government of Ecuador has no responsibility for any document of this kind,” she said.

According to Fernando Alvarado, the information that has been published in the commercial media has the sole objective of damaging the image of Ecuador.  “The commercial press repeats the information in the Washington Post and other media channels, and they echo the lies of the politicians responsible,” he said.

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For the original article in Spanish click here.

Categories: International, International issues, Politics, Region, South America
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