Ecuador gives up on ATPDEA exemptions, offers U.S. a $23 million grant to get some human rights education27 de junio de 2013 07:58
In a press conference this morning, Ecuadors communication secretary Fernando Alvarado announced that Ecuador would "unilaterally" renounce preferential trade tariffs that the U.S. granted Ecuador that affected about 6000 export products.
The Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) tariffs were set to expire at the end of July, and there had been no indication that the U.S. would renew them. But Ecuador was still lobbying to preserve the millions of dollars the tariffs represented. Alvarado said today Ecuador would renounce that effort, to protect the integrity of the decision to grant asylum or not to U.S. citizen Edward Snowden.
"Ecuador does not accept pressure or threats from anyone, nor does it trade with principles or submit them to mercantile interests, however important those may be," Alvarado said, according to the Reuters translation of his speech.
He also pointed out that what was important was the contents of Snowdens asylum request, and Ecuadors right to make that decision.
"Whats more, Ecuador offers the United States economic aid of $23 million annually, similar to what we received with the trade benefits, with the intention of providing education about human rights."
Ecuadors Minister of the Interior José Serrano also spoke at the press conference, and rejected documents published by Buzzfeed and bloggers that created the impression Ecuador intercepts its citizens cell phone communications, calling it a "rough fabrication." ("burdo montaje")
"The document that is being circulated about the purchase of equipment for espionage is a rough montage without a signature of responsibility. We have already expressed our need to equip ourselves with security hardware, as covered by Art. 20 of the United Nations convention, the Ecuadorian penal code, and the human rights declaration."
He said that any analog or electronic surveillance must be requested by the district attorney, for the explicit purpose of combating crime. "In Ecuador we do not listen to phone calls for political purposes, only to fight criminals. This technology has helped solve 100 percent of kidnapping cases," he cited as an example.
"We invite the national or international press to demonstrate one single case of groundless wiretapping.You have 24 hours to do so, or you will be determined to be liars. In Ecuador, we are able to guarantee that no one has been wiretapped for political purposes."