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  • Clinton met Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa in 2010.

    Clinton met Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa in 2010. | Photo: Presidency Ecuador

Published 29 July 2016

Clinton's leaked emails show how she and her staff worked to get the Ecuadorean president to back off from expelling U.S. ambassadors.

Hillary Clinton, during her time as secretary of state, tried to get Latin American countries to stop Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa from breaking off relations with the U.S., revealed emails leaked by WikiLeaks.

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Arturo Valenzuela, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs in 2010, told Clinton, the State Department had advised the foreign ministers of Colombia and Peru to talk to Correa, after he had expelled two U.S. ambassadors from the country.

“We immediately reached out to the press to explain why we took this action,” says Valenzuela in an email. “I also spoke to FM Maria Angela Holguin (Colombia) and FM Jose Antonio Garcia (Peru) to brief them on this step and encouraged them to reach out to the Ecuadoreans to ask them to refrain from escalating matters.”

"Both will convey the message that the Ecuadoreans cannot say, as they have in some of their comments, that Ecuador has excellent relations with the United States, while taking the unwarranted step of expelling the U.S. ambassador," said Valenzuela.

Ecuador expelled U.S. Ambassador Ambassador Heather Hodges after a diplomatic cable was leaked by WikiLeaks in 2010, in which Hodges accuses a retired police officer of corruption and speculates that President Correa was aware and took advantage of this information.

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In the leaked emails, State Department spokesman Mark Toner, writes the decision to expel the ambassador jeopardizes new consulates that Ecuador announced to reopen in New Orleans and Phoenix.

An email by Cheryl Mills, Clinton's chief of staff during that time, reveals that previous U.S. diplomats expelled by Correa were accused of meddling in police matters.

In 2009, one diplomat threatened to cut off U.S. aid to police after the Ecuadorean government transferred the head of the Special Investigations Unit without U.S. consultation.

Another diplomat held US$340,000 in aid because Ecuador would not allow the U.S. to veto official appointments to anti-smuggling police, according to the emails.

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