The Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) Arturo Valenzuela had reportedly informed the Ecuadorian Ambassador to the United States, Luis Gallegos on April 7 that he had been declared persona non grata and must leave the United States as soon as possible.
Earlier this week, Ecuador had declared US Ambassador Heather Hodges personal non grata and was asked to leave the country as soon as possible (see Ecuador Declares US Ambassador “Persona Non Grata” Over Dirty Laundry). So now, compliments returned, what’s next?
In a diplomatic tit for tat, the U.S. State Department said Thursday it has ordered the Ecuadorian ambassador expelled from the United States.
The move follows the expulsion of Heather Hodges, the U.S. ambassador to Ecuador, earlier this week over the contents of a leaked State Department cable made public by WikiLeaks.
The Ecuadorian government declared Hodges persona non grata and asked her to leave as soon as possible, the state-run Andes news agency reported.
Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino declined to call it an expulsion, though Hodges was effectively being kicked out of the country.
“Obviously, we believe that she was unjustifiably declared persona non grata,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Wednesday before the decision on the expulsion.
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