Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ecuador quits U.S. trade deal to avoid 'blackmail' over Snowden

QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador announced Thursday it was withdrawing from a 2-decade-old trade pact with the United States, saying the agreement left the South American nation vulnerable to "blackmail" as U.S. officials seek the return of fugitive Edward Snowden.

The trade agreement was already at risk of nonrenewal by Congress before Ecuador began weighing whether to grant asylum to Snowden, the former contract worker for the National Security Agency who this month revealed extensive U.S. tracking of telephone communications and then fled to Hong Kong.

Snowden faces felony espionage charges at home. The United States has demanded his extradition, first from Hong Kong, where he hid for several weeks, and now from Russia, where he arrived Sunday. He is thought to be holed up in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport while seeking a route to Ecuador or somewhere else that might grant him shelter.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, sought to downplay the international chase for the man he called "a 29-year-old hacker" and lower the temperature of an issue that has raised tensions between the United States and uneasy partners Russia and China.

At an early-morning news conference, Ecuadorean Communications Secretary Fernando Alvarado said the decision to quit the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act accord was "irreversible" and was made to avoid Ecuador becoming vulnerable to pressure from the United States over Snowden.

Alvarado added that his government instead was offering the United States a subsidy of $23 million, which he said was the value of the benefits Ecuadorean traders received from the deal, to fund human rights training.

Alvarado also denied reports Wednesday that his government had already given Snowden temporary travel documents permitting him to travel to Ecuador.

Internet records were gathered: The Obama administration gathered U.S. citizens' Internet data until 2011, continuing a spying program started under President George W. Bush that revealed whom Americans exchanged emails with and the Internet Protocol address of their computer, according to documents disclosed Thursday in the Guardian of Britain and also recently in the Washington Post.

The National Security Agency ended the program that collected email logs and timing, but not content, in 2011 because it decided it didn't effectively stop terrorist plots, according to the NSA's director, Gen. Keith Alexander. He said all data was purged in 2011.

Information from Associated Press was used in this report.

pro-snowden protest: Activists of Ukraine’s Internet Party, one of them acting as a CIA agent making telephone wiretaps, stage a protest Thursday on behalf of fugitive Edward Snowden near the U.S. Embassy in Kiev.

Associated Press

pro-snowden protest: Activists of Ukraine’s Internet Party, one of them acting as a CIA agent making telephone wiretaps, stage a protest Thursday on behalf of fugitive Edward Snowden near the U.S. Embassy in Kiev.

. Fast facts

Ecuador's economy

GDP per capita: $8,800 (2012 est.)

Below poverty line: 27.3% (December 2012 est.)

Exports: $23.77 billion (2012 est.); petroleum, bananas, cut flowers, shrimp, cacao, coffee, wood, fish

Export partners: U.S. 37.8%, Panama 9.9%, Peru 6.2%, Russia 4.6% (2011)

Source: CIA World Factbook

Ecuador quits U.S. trade deal to avoid 'blackmail' over Snowden 06/27/13 [Last modified: Thursday, June 27, 2013 11:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Los Angeles Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Double your fun: Twitter's testing a 280-character limit for tweets

    News

    Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey last year made a definitive announcement about the company's famous 140-character count amid rumors that the firm would substantially relax the limit. "It's staying," Dorsey told the "Today" show's Matt Lauer. "It's a good constraint for us."

    In this 2013, file photo, the Twitter logo appears on an updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. [AP photo]
  2. Dead woman with sun tattoo found near elementary school

    News

    TAMPA --- She had a tattoo of a sun on her abdomen, with the words "The World is Mine."

  3. CentCom shares complexities of job with Tampa Rotarians

    Macdill

    TAMPA — As the commander of U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. Joseph Votel has one of the world's most challenging to-do lists.

    Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, tells Tampa Rotarians about the complexities of the region he oversees. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Times staff]
  4. Rick Baker debuts new campaign ad to woo younger voters

    Blogs

    Former mayor Rick Baker's campaign unveiled a reboot of sorts Tuesday with the debut of a new TV ad.

    In a new ad, former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker surprises a group of people in a restaurant who are talking about his accomplishments. He says, "You ain't seen nothing yet."
  5. Editorial: DOT listens, adjusts on I-275 plans in Tampa

    Editorials

    Florida continues to improve its plan for modernizing the interstate system in Tampa Bay. The Florida Department of Transportation has unveiled four new options for rebuilding I-275 near downtown Tampa, and some of them would ditch previous plans for toll lanes downtown while keeping express lanes for faster, …

    State officials are re-evaluating parts of I-4 and I-275 in Tampa as part of a supplemental environmental impact study, or SEIS.