Ecuador: Political and Economic Situation and U.S. Relations [Updated May 21, 2008] [open pdf - 71KB]
From the Summary: "Ecuador, a small, oil-producing country in the Andean region of South America, has experienced ten years of political and economic instability. On January 15, 2007, Rafael Correa, a left-leaning, U.S.-trained economist, was inaugurated to a four-year presidential term, becoming the country's eighth president in ten years. President Correa has fulfilled his campaign pledge to call a constituent assembly to reform the country's constitution. The assembly, which is controlled by representatives from Correa's party, has until the end of July 2008 to draft a new constitution. Many Ecuadorians approved of Correa's condemnation of Colombia's unauthorized March 2008 raid of a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) camp in Ecuador. They also support his decision not to renew the current U.S. lease on the air force base at Manta when it expires in 2009, a decision which has strained U.S.-Ecuadorian relations. U.S. officials have expressed concerns about President Correa's ties with Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and his stated polices on trade and energy matters. Despite those concerns, Congress enacted legislation in February 2008 to extend U.S. trade preferences for Ecuador through December 2008. For more information, see CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report RS22548, 'ATPA [Andean Trade Preference Act] Renewal: Background and Issues'. This report will be updated."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21687