State Department funding drag shows in Ecuador
This just in: the Obama administration’s new effort to provide military aid to Ecuador is getting less scrutiny than the Obama administration’s first attempt, which has been blasted as “one of the most embarrassing foreign affairs blunders and human rights abuses” by critics since the United States provided military aid to Ethiopia in the 1970s.
President Obama announced that the U.S. would send two C-130 cargo planes to Ecuador as part of an effort to send aid and to build relations with a government whose president is widely reviled as a corrupt dictator.
A C-130 is a civilian cargo plane, used for a variety of purposes, especially for transporting supplies and military personnel.
The Pentagon approved military aid for Ecuador last December, on the condition that the Pentagon and State Department vet the plan.
At that time, the Department of Defense and the State Department said that they would only provide $50,000 in aid. The defense bill passed by Congress in December provides $1.1 million for the program.
The Pentagon has announced that the military will receive another $2.8 million in aid, with a focus on training the Ecuadorian military and improving their ability to protect US interests in the region. These funds will go toward helping to fill the gaps in the military’s equipment and training of Ecuadorian troops.
The Defense Department also approved $500,000 to train and equip a police force in Ecuador, and $15,000 to train the security detail for the president of Ecuador.
The White House called the aid a small fraction of the cost needed to assist Ecuador with its human rights crisis.
The Ecuadorian government has accused the U.S. of a “slow roll-out” of the aid, with “no clear timelines,” according to a State Department official.
“A roll-out is when you send assistance to a government that does not exist,” said the official.
“But that is not what this is,” the official added. “This is a case of the administration doing what it promised we would do. The president is working to build the relationship of trust that is