Ecuador's president orders US diplomat expelled

February 7, 2009 12:38:06 PM PST
President Rafael Correa has ordered the expulsion of a U.S. diplomat who he says suspended $340,000 in annual aid to Ecuador's anti-contraband police. Ecuador's leftist president says the United States tried to insist on veto power over the unit's commander and other personnel.

Correa says the U.S. official, Armando Astorga Jr. also demanded in a Jan. 8 letter that the anti-contraband police return all vehicles, furniture, cameras and phones donated by Washington.

An embassy spokeswoman reached by The Associated Press by telephone had no immediate comment Saturday.

Astorga is listed as the embassy's attache for homeland security and customs and immigration in an August 2008 State Department phone book found online.