Ecuador is defiantly resisting U.S. calls to reject the asylum bid of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. On Thursday, the Ecuadorean government said it would waive preferential trade rights after U.S. officials suggested they could be revoked. In Washington, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the Obama administration will evaluate Ecuador’s eligibility for trade benefits and review a petition calling for their revocation. Forman’s comments came one day after Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez said that welcoming Snowden “would severely jeopardize” U.S. relations with Ecuador. In Quito, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said his country’s “dignity has no price.”
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa: “All of a sudden, trade tariffs became an instrument of blackmail: behave or leave the free trade movement. In the face of threats, insolence and arrogance of certain U.S. sectors, which have pressured to remove the preferential tariffs because of the Snowden case, Ecuador tells the world: We unilaterally and irrevocably denounce the preferential tariffs. Our dignity has no price.”
Correa’s government followed up with a dig at the Obama administration by offering to donate millions of dollars for human rights training in the United States on matters of “privacy, torture and other actions that are denigrating to humanity.” Later in the day, Correa said Ecuador cannot evaluate Snowden’s asylum bid until he is within Ecuadorean territory. Snowden is believed to remain in a transit area of a Moscow airport.