Ecuador: Political and Economic Situation and U.S. Relations [Updated February 8, 2008] [open pdf - 100KB]
From the Summary: "Ecuador, a small, oil-producing country in the conflicted Andean region of South America, has recently experienced severe political and economic instability. On January 15, 2007, Rafael Correa, a left-leaning, U.S.-trained economist, was inaugurated to a four-year term as President of Ecuador, becoming the country's eighth president in ten years. President Correa is fulfilling his campaign pledge to call a constituent assembly to reform the country's constitution. However, he has yet to enact his other campaign promises, which included renegotiating Ecuador's foreign debt and increasing state control over foreign oil companies. On April 15, 2007, 82% of Ecuadorians voted in favor of convoking a constituent assembly with the power to dismiss currently elected officials, despite vehement protests from the opposition-led congress. Elections for constituent assembly delegates are scheduled for September 30, 2007. Ecuador has traditionally had close relations with the United States, although recent trade disputes have strained bilateral relations. U.S. officials have expressed concerns about Correa's ties with Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and his stated policies regarding trade, energy, and counternarcotics matters. Despite those concerns, Congress enacted legislation in June 2007 to extend U.S. trade preferences for Ecuador through February 30, 2008. This report will be updated periodically."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21687