The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Ecuador's Armed Forces and its Army commander resigned Wednesday over disagreements with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who alleged that the CIA has infiltrated the country's intelligence services. ( dpa )
Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Hector Camacho and Army Commander Guillermo Vasconez resigned on the day that Javier Ponce was sworn in as Ecuador's new defence minister to replace Wellington Sandoval.
Police Commander Bolivar Cisneros also resigned at the request of Correa, over alleged failures in communication over the death of an Ecuadorian citizen, Franklin Guillermo Aizalia, in a Colombian airstrike.
Aizalia was killed in a March 1 cross-border raid by Colombian forces on a camp of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on Ecuadorian territory. The raid - in which FARC number two Raul Reyes and some 20 other rebels were killed - sparked a serious diplomatic crisis between Ecuador and Colombia.
New Defence Minister Ponce, linked to leftist indigenous social movements and a journalist critical of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces, joined the left-wing populist Correa in alleging infiltration by the CIA of Ecuador's military and political intelligence agencies.
In a clear reference to activity by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) within the Ecuadorian intelligence services, Ponce said: "There is an external cooperation that we do not reject, that we do not demonize, but there cannot be intelligence networks acting against our sovereignty."
Correa was further upset that Ecuadorian intelligence services had known that Aizalia, a 38-year-old Ecuadorian locksmith, was alleged to have links with FARC but failed to inform the president.
Last week, Correa charged that some Ecuadorian military and police officers are on the CIA payroll, passing information to the US and US-ally Colombia before reporting to Ecuadorian authorities.