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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Correa hopes Obama will end Plan Colombia

Colombia Reports, December 19, 2008

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa hopes U.S. President-elect Barack Obama will end Plan Colombia, the multi-billion U.S. funding of Colombia's fight against leftist rebels and the production of coca.

"I sincerely am a bit skeptical regarding big changes [of the United States] in its relations with Latin America. The region lost importance over the recent years and I do not think this situation will change with Obama. I hope that I am wrong," the Ecuadorean leader said Friday.

"In any case we need concrete actions. One would be to lift the absurd embargo on Cuba that has already lasted nearly fifty years. Another would beto put an end to that Plan Colombia, which only has turned Colombia into a hotbed of instability in the region,"Correa added.

Ecuador has objected the fumigation of coca fields near its border for years, saying it is harming the environment and the health of the Ecuadorean people living close to the Colombian border.

The leftist Ecuadorean President added that Colombia, led by the right wing government of Álvaro Uribe, is intentionally trying to involve his country in its 44-year old conflict. "Colombia has a systematic policy of not securing the southern border in order to involve Ecuador in the conflict," he said.

Ecuador and Colombia have strain relations since the Colombian army attacked a FARC camp on Ecuadorean territory on March 1, killing FARC commander Raúl Reyes and 24 others.

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