Skip to main content

Ecuador Threatens More Diplomatic Problems with Colombia

(Mar. 24, 2008) The Colombian government announced Monday that the second man killed and removed during its attack on a FARC base camp in Ecuador territory was in fact Ecuadorian. The announcement seemed likely to trigger further diplomatic protests by Ecuador's government after President Rafael Correa threatened to reopen the case last Saturday if he found out that the attack had claimed the lives of any Ecuadorians.

The new turn of events comes after nearly a month of emergency meetings and special investigations by the Organization of American States that resulted in a joint resolution, signed by both Ecuador and Colombia that both rejected the Colombian incursion and outlined the process for the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the two. Even though both sides agreed to the resolution, Ecuador has since been unwilling to let the issue drop. Why not?

Last Friday, before news of the killed Ecuadorian made headlines President Correa said, "While the Colombian government's misinformation campaign continues we will not renew diplomatic relations, let the OAS come, let anyone who wants come, we will not renew relations with Colombia."*

This is a surprising attitude from a president who four days earlier signed an internationally brokered "peace deal" with one of his country's closest economic allies. Why is Correa so belligerent towards Colombia?

One reason is that while diplomatic relations with Colombia have been severed, commercial relations are still open. This means that Correa can continue to play the aggrieved victim without hurting his nation's economy and most importantly, continue to import Colombian fuel, without which Ecuador would face widespread energy shortages.

Given that conflict is a useful political tool, a shrewd politician can increase his popularity by calling on his citizens to unite in the face of a common "enemy." This strategy has been used successfully in the past by Venezuelan President Chavez and was an effective tool in the 2004 U.S. presidential elections. Because the constitutional reform process in Ecuador is not going according to plan and the national economy is showing signs of overheating due to the rapid increase in government spending in the last year, now is as good a time as any to distract Ecuadorians from their problems at home.

Accordingly, expect Correa to continue to escalate the "crisis" over the next two months as the Constitutional Assembly finishes the final text of the new national constitution. Also, given the significant financial difficulties facing Ecuador, we could also see a proposal to raise taxes against Colombian interests inside Ecuador, but this isn’t likely to go very far given the strong commercial lobbies on both sides of the border. Whatever the specific actions taken by Correa, he will certainly use this opportunity to raise Ecuador's (and his own) international profile.

By Nathan Gill - Southern Affairs

*“Mientras siga esa campaña de desinformación del Gobierno colombiano nosotros no reanudaremos relaciones diplomáticas, venga la OEA, venga quien le dé la gana, no reanudaremos relaciones con Colombia.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Moving to the Suburbs: Reducciones in Recent Latin American Historiography

In 1503, the Spanish monarchy issued its first decree for the resettlement of indigenous groups in the Caribbean so that they would “live together” and “not remain or wander separated from each other in the backcountry.”[1]

As the European conquest spread to North, Central, and South America, these new settlements – known as reducciones and congregaciones in Spanish and descimentos in Portuguese – became sites of forced labor, evangelism, experimental agricultural, and refuge. Through a series of imperial policies decreed over the next decades and centuries of colonial rule, Spanish and Portuguese officials attempted to reshape the New World, including its human and natural landscapes. How colonial historians explain this process and indigenous peoples’ reactions to it is the focus of this essay.

In a review of the recent historiography of reducciones, several trends emerge that signal a shift in our understanding of the practice. As this paper will show, one common element is that …

77-Year-Old Wall Street Favorite to Face Fujimori in Peru Runoff

By Nathan Gill and John Quigley April 12, 2016 (Bloomberg) -- The victory by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former finance minister, for second place in Sunday’s Peruvian president elections sets up a showdown between two business-friendly candidates, part of a regional backlash against left-wing politicians.
Kuczynski, a 77-year-old Oxford-trained political economist who’s spent more than 50 years championing debt control and free trade, won 21 percent of vote with 96 percent of the ballots counted, according to the electoral office. He will face Keiko Fujimori, who won 39.8 percent, in a second-round vote on June 5.
Click here to read the full story on Bloomberg News.

Bailout Risk Grows for Ecuador After Worst Earthquake in Decades

By Nathan Gill April 19, 2016 (Bloomberg) -- Before a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador on Saturday, the South American nation’s finances were already in tatters as the government struggled to meet payments to municipal authorities, oil companies and even cancer hospitals. Cut off from global bond markets, President Rafael Correa must now find enough money to rehouse thousands.
As volunteers continue to rescue victims from the rubble of collapsed homes and buildings on Ecuador’s Pacific coast, doubts are growing about the country’s ability to pay for the reconstruction. The nation is already in its worst recession since the financial system collapsed in the late 1990s, and international reserves are at their lowest levels in almost seven years.
Click hereto read the full story on Bloomberg News.