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. Storm routs Cleveland

    Storm

    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  2. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  3. Rowdies shut out Charleston

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  4. 13-year-old Janessa's father holds memorial service at Rogers Middle School

    Crime

    RIVERVIEW — About 100 people sat in the tile-floored multipurpose room Saturday at Rodgers Middle School where Janessa Shannon once sat as a student.

    A mourner embraces Nahshon Shannon after the memorial service for Nahshon’s daughter, Janessa, Saturday at Rodgers Middle School in Riverview.
  5. Trump: Aircraft carrier a symbol of America's might (w/video)

    Politics

    NORFOLK, Va. — With praise and a blessing for the military, President Donald Trump helped hand over the USS Gerald R. Ford to the Navy on Saturday and said the state-of-the-art aircraft carrier will send a "100,000-ton message to the world" about America's military might when it is ultimately deployed.

    President Donald Trump commissions the USS Gerald R. Ford on Saturday in Norfolk, Va.